Carlo Cracca. Antonio Carluccio. Gennaro Contaldo. Katy Ashworth. Emma Dean. Vichit Mukura. These are the ‘top international chefs’ Cape Town food lovers are being exposed to at the Good Food & Wine Show at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, augmented with a handful of light-weight (with the exception of Chef David Higgs) mainly TV cooking program local cooks! As Cape Town is the centre of gourmet gastronomy, surely exhibition organisers Fiera Milano could have done better?
Christine Cashmore has organised the Good Food & Wine Show for years, and sold her company to Fiera Milano last year. She is certainly still involved, as I saw her at the show yesterday. She is tough to deal with, changing PR companies every year! Every year the criticism about the Show has grown, the big food producers no longer bothering to participate, and sample their products. The emphasis this year was clearly TV cooking shows, and the invited chefs (mainly) had a link to a TV program, in cooking at the Celebrity Chefs Theatre (how did Kamini Pather slip in here, as controversial winner of MasterChef Season 2?), the kykNET Kook Teater, the Spar Food Theatre, and the Selati Sweet Treats Theatre. Continue reading →
On Thursday evening my friend Bettie Coetzee-Lambrecht and I attended Fine Brandy Fusion at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, having been invited by Manley Communications. Fine Brandy Fusion is a fine showcase for the local brandy industry, the Bisquit cognac with South African links being our highlight.
At the registration desk we received a goody bag, and a booklet of coupons, to allow us to taste brandy cocktails and taste some of the 50 fine brandies neat. Immediately on entering we passed a smallish restaurant, catered by the Convention Centre kitchen. The food quality of the Convention Centre has been poor at every exhibition attended in the past, but picked up when its new Chef Warwick Thomas arrived a year ago, reaching a new low at World Travel Market Africa last month. I was immediately sceptical, but the food options which were displayed in a refrigerated unit looked better (just from the plating) than I have ever seen there before. We received two food coupons each, which Bettie used for linefish and I ordered tasty calamari rings, Bettie saying that it would be important to line our tummies for the brandy tasting to come. We both ordered a cheese platter as well. The service was excellent and professional, and the prices very reasonable at about R50 each. We felt severely under-dressed when a fashionista wearing fur and her partner shared our table! Continue reading →
* After having focused on Cape Town earlier this week, Huffington Post has included Hermanus in an article entitled ‘5 Lesser-known African wonders you have to see’. Whale-watching is recommended, from July – November, with twenty to thirty whales being seen in Hermanus on average per day in that period, announced by the whale crier on his kelp horn. The other wonders are the lunar rainbow in Zambia, the South Carmine Bee-eater migration in Zambia, wildebeest calving in Tanzania, and the Fruit-bat migration in Zambia.
* South Africa’s premium wines over £10 a bottle were praised at a blind tasting held in London on Tuesday, offering quality and value for money. The tasting was organised by the drinks business and the Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa, a collective of 15 local wine producers, promoting premium wines costing £10 or more. Only 4% of wines are bought at that price-point, warned Tesco’s South African wine buyer, but he praised the quality of our wines, saying that they are ‘fantastic‘. He said that our country’s premium wines need to promote their credentials. Local wines tasted were Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2000, Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2009, Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay 2012, Mulderbosch Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2010, Radford Dale ‘Nudity’ Syrah 2013, Mullineux Syrah 2012, Mvemve Raats de Compostella 2012, Jordan Cobblers Hill, South Africa 2011, Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012, The Drift ‘There are still mysteries’ Pinot Noir 2012, and Paul Cluver Pinot Noir 2012.
Last night I attended an interesting talk on ‘The Great White Shark: a Global Perspective’, given by shark expert and Apex eco-tour operator Chris Fallows at the One&Only Cape Town. Chris’ talk covered the three key seal areas attracting Great White Sharks in South Africa, as well as other well-known shark areas in the world.
I was invited by Ian Manley, the hotel’s PR consultant, to Chris’ talk, one of two (the second will focus on the relationship between Orca killer whales and Great White Sharks tonight), in a series of Guest Speaker Talks, which include Joanne Lifson on 18 June on ‘Lights Canine Action’, Colin Bell speaking on rhino extinction on 3 July, ‘Africa’s Three Big Cats‘ by Lorne Sulcas on 15 July, and more. One&Only Cape Town ambassador Aubrey Ngcungama introduced Chris, who has documented his shark adventures in his book ‘Great White: The Majesty of Sharks‘, and who has filmed documentaries about the Great White Shark with Discovery Channel, the BBC’s Planet Earth, and National Geographic. In the hotel reception area, a shark cage with diver, as well as a model of a small shark, were set up to attract attention to the talks programme.
Prior to the start of the talk Chris and I chatted, and he explained that Orcas, known as ‘killer whales‘, are not whales at all, but are members of the dolphin family. Orcas are known to kill whales, by pushing them under water and making them drown. In South Africa Great White Sharks can be found where there are concentrations of seals, in three regions: Continue reading →