Entries tagged with “Willow Creek”.


On Thursday, the hottest day of the year to date, a number of writers was invited to attend the launch of the new Willow Creek Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil Blend, held at the Sky Bar at the Grand Daddy Hotel in Cape Town.  (more…)

Olive Oil awards 2016

At the SA Olive Oil Awards held outside Paarl earlier this week, 36 extra virgin olive oils received Gold Awards, while 53 Silver and 11 Bronze medals were awarded.

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imageIt is not often that one receives an invitation for an evening media event, and that in Worcester, with the offer of accommodation taken care of, and a shuttle bus transporting one to the function venue. When the invitation arrived from Waterford Communications to attend the Overhex Wines International launch of its intriguingly branded Survivor range outside Worcester, it was accepted immediately. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   South African Rowan Gormley created online retailer Naked Wines in the UK six years ago, and has funded the expansion of his Naked Wines company into the USA and Australia too, via ‘crowdfunding‘.  Called ‘angels‘, investors pay £20 a month, and receive wines at discounted prices.   This year the company plans to invest £70 million in 145 vineyards in 13 countries.  The system is so popular that investors are ‘queuing’ to join.

*   Former suspended SAA CEO Monwabisi Kalawe, once Chairman of Cape Town Tourism, has tendered his resignation and has withdrawn his attempts to be reinstated by the airline.  He will receive a three-month salary (more…)

spasie branding Whale CottageSecret restaurants have been operating in Cape Town for a year or so, SecretEats having attracted attention to underground restaurants, which pop up in interesting venues such as art galleries, furniture design exhibitions, warehouses in Observatory, and in private homes in Llandudno and Tamboerskloof.  Now [spasie] has opened in Cape Town, using the same formula of different chefs preparing the dinners, and guests sitting at one long table, with one difference – the restaurant space of [spasie] is fixed.

It is not clear why Greg Zeleny, the creator of SecretEats, has created a different brand, as he was not present at the [spasie] dinner to which I was invited.  JP du Toit was ourSpasie JP du Toit  Whale Cottage host, and told us that he looks after the dinners every Thursday and Friday, and that his colleague Zak Averre handles weekday daytime food from the same space.  It was like a homecoming, the venue being across the road from the former Haas, in the building where the Haas ad agency had its offices, and where the Haas kitchen prepared the food for the Haas coffee shop.  We had hosted a Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club function in the same venue, when it still was an art gallery for Haas.  JP studied Biochemistry, and lived in Japan for two years.

The chef of the week was Chef Nick Charalambous, a Silwood Cookery School student (Cordon Bleu Grande Diploma), and former colleague (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*    Cape Town harbour does not appear to be able to cope with the influx of tourists coming off cruise ships.  Earlier this week about 2000 passengers on the MSC Opera were stuck on board as there were only four customs officials to deal with the passengers who wanted to go on land to explore Cape Town, and those that wanted to board for the next leg of the cruise.  Provincial Minister of Tourism Alan Winde described the incident as a ‘major setback for cruise ship tourism in the city‘.  The departure time of the ship was delayed by two hours.

*   The price of petrol is expected to drop by at least 40 cents per liter and the price of diesel by about 56 cents per liter next Wednesday, predicts the Automobile Association.  Another petrol price decrease can be expected in December.

*   The Department of Transport is attempting to prevent Emirates from adding a fourth daily flight between (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Mosaic Team South Africa participating in the World Blind Challenge on 18 October in Champagne against 22 other teams will consist of the winners of the South African Wine Tasting Championship 2014: wine writer Samarie Smith, Chris Groenewald, Lizé Oosthuizen, Ralph Reynolds, and Gavin Whittaker. (received via e-mail from Jean Vincent Ridon)

*   Nominations for the 34th Diners Club Winemaker of the Year (dry white blends) and 14th Young Winemaker of the Year (30 years or younger, producers of red blend) are now open, the winners receiving a flight to the USA for two as well as prize monies of R50000 and R25000, respectively. The winners will be announced in November. (received via media release from African Sky Media)

*   Guinness is targeting its (black) beer at Africa, via a multimedia campaign using artists and performers from Africa, which positions the brand as #madeofblack.

*   The 17 gold medal winners of the SA Olive Awards have been announced in three categories:  in the Delicate (more…)

Holden Manz Chef Julia Hattingh Whale Cotatge PortfolioJulia Hattingh is the fourth chef at Franschhoek Kitchen since Holden Manz bought the previously named Klein Genot wine estate, and it was renamed after the owners’ surnames.  She is a breath of fresh air, and the restaurant will attract back customers, as Chef Julia settles in and takes the restaurant to a new level.

Security is stricter now, one having to fill in a sheet at the boom, but friendly.   One walks through the downstairs tasting room to get to the upstairs restaurant, and I chose the smaller room with the fireplace. Front of House Manager Cobi Bosch is new, and he and I did not gel at all.  He previously worked at Rhapsody’s at Cape Town International and in Bloemfontein.  I knew that Manager Wayne Buckley would pop in, and I did want to meet Chef Julia, which made me stay.  Cobi also served as the waiter on Monday.   He recommended to a neighbouring table what his favourite dishes are, in guiding them what to order (they ordered a cheese platter to share in the end), but did not offer me this service.   He brought two wine lists, one with Holden Manz wines, and the other with wines from their ‘friends’, being other wine estates in Franschhoek and one in Stellenbosch, telling me that the Chardonnay on the list was sold out already.  He seemed most put out when I requested butter instead of the bottles of Willow Creek extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for the slices of olive oil bread which he had brought to the table. (more…)

Tasha's Fruit and lights Whale Cottage PortfolioMy friend Whitney and I decided to give the new Tashas in the V&A Waterfront a try, after we had both heard good things about the restaurant, which opened in the previous Mugg & Bean space a month ago. It was a poor experience, leaving a bad taste in our mouths, both Whitney and I getting ill from the food.

The owner and chef Raynne Roll told us that each of the eleven Tashas created around the country over the past eight years is themed decor wise, and has signature dishes and specialist wines to tie in with the theme. The theme of the WaterfrontTasha's Rayne Roll Whale Cottage Portfolio branch is Spanish, and hence the additional Tapas menu and Spanish style cakes, which are unique to the branch. Bowls and paella pans have been bought in from Spain for the new restaurant.  Tashas Constantia is French Country inspired, Pretoria is South African, Melrose Arch is ‘Sushi, Oysters and Champagne’, Rosebank in Johannesburg is New York, and the Nicolway branch is Portuguese.

I arrived before Whitney did, and walked in from the mall entrance, where the branding is so small that it is easy to miss.  The iron gates do not look relevant to a

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Olive Oil Guide Whale Cottage PortfolioAn unique ‘The Guide to Extra Virgin Olive Oil in South Africa‘ has been published, the first of its kind, providing an overview of olive oil production in our country, and providing details of the top quality olive oil producers.

Olives were first brought to South Africa from California by Piet Cillie in 1893.    A mere 14 years later Jan Minnaar from De Hoop farm in Paarl won  the prize for the best olive oil produced in the British Empire at the 1907 London Show!   Reni Hildenbrand now owns the farm in Wellington on which Piet Cillie farmed, and she has written a book ‘Olives and Olive Oils in South Africa‘.  Ferdinando Costa arrived from Genoa in Italy a few years later, and brought in Italian plants, grafting them on the local Olienhout rootstock.  He planted large numbers of olive trees in Paarl in 1925, and pressed his first olive oil in 1935.   The Costa name is synonymous with olives and olive oil, and his relative Linda runs SA Olive, a quality standards body for the industry.   Italian Baron Andreis began planting olive trees in the ‘Fifties, using Carlo Castiglione to make olive oil from 1972, under the Vesuvio brand.  Its Extra Virgin Olive Oil won four awards in Italy for the first time, and regularly wins international awards.  Italian Guilio Bertrand bought Morgenster next door to Vergelegen just over twenty years ago, and saw the potential to produce quality wines and olive oils.  He now runs an olive oil nursery, and won the SA Olive Lifetime Achievement Award last year.

The quality of olive oil quality is influenced by the terroir, cultivar, climate, and the oil maker, similar to wines.  The biggest threat to good quality local Extra Virgin Olive Oils is inferior olive oils which are  imported, and bought by consumers in the belief that the imported products should be of a better quality. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is extracted from the olives at a temperature below 30° C, (more…)