* Mango is tightening up its credit card procedures, to prevent fraud, by demanding that tickets bought by credit card are verified with the actual card. If the card is not with the passenger, he/she may not board.
* ESKOM started load-shedding around the country today, without prior warning, the rain in Johannesburg allegedly wetting the coal and therefore affecting its supply! The Cape has not been spared, with electricity cuts in Somerset West, Claremont, Durbanville, Tokai, Kenilworth, Parow, Elsies River, Wellington, and Hout Bay this morning, followed by Sea Point, Camps Bay, and many other Cape Town suburbs later in the day. Our international visitors (other than those from other African countries) are shocked! (via Twitter)
* Chef Chris Erasmus will leave Pierneef à La Motte in June, to open his own restaurant with his wife in Franschhoek in September.
* The Bols Bartending World Champion Rusty Cerven chose Cape Town as one of his four world cities to visit, with Sydney, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro, as part of his prize when he beat 3000 bartenders from 66 countries. In Cape Town he demonstrated his winning creation he calls ‘William’s Punch’, a mix of lemon sherbet, rhubarb juice, Bols Parfait Amour, Bols Genever, and champagne, with nutmeg and lemon peel. At the V&A Hotel he assisted in developing tea-based cocktails, using Dilmah teas. Two such cocktails will be offered per month, reports Hotel and Restaurant.
* The National Agricultural Marketing Council has found that an average food basket increased in price by 3,3% from January 2013 to the same month a year later, The New Age reported, doubling from the increase measured in the twelve month period before. Within the food basket, some items had price increases closer to 6 %, including rice, white bread, tea, maize meal, and milk.
* Kleine Zalze has launched its maiden MCC Vintage Brut 2010, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It retails for about R140. (received via media release from Manley Communications)
* Pongrácz is participating in a pairing with fine handmade chocolates at the Val de Vie market on Sunday 16 March. Three chocolates will be paired with Pongrácz Brut, Pongrácz Rosé, and Desiderius 2008. The pairings cost R50. (received via media release from GC Communications)
* Three Du Toitskloof wines won five stars in the What Food, What Wine South Africa food and wine pairing competition, in the R100 and under wine category. The inaugural local competition is hosted by the International Wine & Spirits Competition and TWS Media. A range of foods was cooked by celebrity Chef Jenny Morris, and local judges judged the pairability of the wines. Five stars went to Du Toitskloof Beaukett 2013 paired with pumpkin fritters; the Du Toitskloof Dimension 2010, which was paired with oxtail stew; and the Du Toitskloof Chardonnay Viognier 2013 paired with bobotie. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage