The Sweet Service Award goes to River Café in Franschhoek and its delightful assistant who served me when I went to buy ice cream there on a very hot day. Standing in a queue with other customers, the young lady was called out of the kitchen to assist me, and allowed me to photograph their ice creams from the other side of the counter. I was intrigued by their black Charcoal ice cream, so she proudly came to my table to explain how it is made, she having made the ice cream, as her manager who normally makes it had the day off on that day. She told me the recipe of how it is made, and brought me the bottle of Activated Charcoal she added to give it the black color. She was so proud of her job, a rarity to see in Franschhoek! It was clear that this was a popular stop, with a number of other customers sitting outside and enjoying the ice creams too, very reasonably charged at R25 for two scoops. Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to RyanAir, for its exceptional service (unexpected after a previous flight with this airline years ago), for the flight from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid, from the check-in, where the staff member spoke to me in German, allowed me to have my walking sticks in the hold without extra charge, turned a blind eye to my overweight suitcase, and the same staff member spoke to me in German again when she checked my boarding pass. The seating in the plane had ample leg room, and the service was impeccable.
The Sour Service Award goes to Iberia, for cancelling the flight from Madrid to Nice, while we were sitting in the plane already, after we were told that the flight would be delayed for 90 minutes, and then that we would depart in 15 minutes. Only two Iberia staff handled the plane-load of passengers, and their reissuing of new tickets to new destinations, Iberia refusing to book any destinations in France. We were given a hotel voucher for NH Hotels too, with a dinner and a breakfast buffet and two beverages too. I had to be routed to Turin the following day, with a 90 minute departure delay due to striking air traffic controllers in Marseilles, and take a four and a half hour train ride to Ventimiglia, to get to my end destination of Apricale, a full day journey. I was not compensated for the train trip cost!
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at chrisvonulmenstein [at] gmail.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein
Thank you to all concerned friends and Blog readers who have contacted me about the defamatory posts on Monday and Tuesday by 2OceansVibe. 2OceansVibe has looked for any opportunity to slate us since I asked the question four years ago as to why its owner Will Mellor should hide his true name, using the alias ‘Seth Rotherham’. Continue reading →
*. South African exports into Africa are growing, says Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Africa head Matome Mbatha. Angola is taking 6 million liters of wine, of which more than 80% is sparkling wines, and predominantly JC le Roux, a brand they are ‘crazy about‘, Mbatha says. The 4,5 million liters of Nigeria’s imports from our country are mainly Pinotage and Merlot.
* Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is to open a pop-up The Test Kitchen restaurant at Continue reading →
*. Cape Town has been named as one of 35 most beautiful cities in the world for 2015 by the UK Telegraph, in the company of Istanbul, Florence, Paris, Siena, Jerusalem, Oxford, Cambridge, New York, Rome, Sydney, Bruges, Seville, San Francisco, Bath, Lausanne, Venice, Edinburgh, London, Havana, Prague, Kyoto, Moscow, St Petersburg, Dubrovnik, Rio de Janeiro, and more.
Cape Town was praised for its ‘in-your-face beauty of a craggy mountain range that drops precipitously into a glittering sea, its flanks carpeted in greens and delicate florals – the Cape Floral Kingdom, smallest yet richest in the world’. The pristine white beaches with their granite boulders are also Continue reading →
*. Noma owner Chef René Redzepi has announced that he is closing down the tasting menu Noma on 31 December 2016, moving to the Christiania suburb in Copenhagen, where he will build a glass house over a derelict skating park for a new restaurant, and create an urban farm. The produce served as well as the place settings will change as the seasons change. In January next year Noma sets up a pop-up restaurant in Sydney for 10 weeks.
* The Western Cape Government’s Tourism department has made a detailed analysis of the new visa regulations, and their Continue reading →
* The number of Gold medals awarded to South African wines in the 2015 International Wine & Spirit Competition has doubled relative to last year. Thirteen wines won Gold Outstanding, three wineries winning more than one such medal: Kanonkop (Black Label Pinotage 2010 and 2012), Glen Carlou (Gravel Quarry 2010 and The Welder 2013), and Stellenrust (50 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2014 and Old Bush Continue reading →
* The United Nations World Tourism Association (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer reflects that international tourism grew by 4 % in the period January – June 2015. However, tourism in Africa declined by 6% (sub-Saharan Africa declined by 4%). The growth rate of tourism in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Middle East was highest at 5% in the same period.
*. The National Finalists for the SA Wine Tasting Championships have Continue reading →
* The announcement last week of the discovery of a new hominid species Homo Naledi at The Cradle of Humankind at Maropeng, and its international media coverage by National Geographic in particular, could give Tourism to our country a much-needed boost.
*. The 31st Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild will be held at Spier on Continue reading →
*. Despite the Rand exchange rate being at its best ever for international visitors, no surge in tourism bookings is being seen. The after-effect of last year’s Ebola crisis, and the new visa regulations, have affected tourism numbers from China, India, and Brazil in particular. Hotelier Arthur Gillis said that the golden opportunity of the exchange rate was negated by the visa regulations, and said that we ‘shoot ourselves in the foot’.