Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines
* Locals as well as tourists may find it interesting to explore Cape Town underground as opposed to looking at its beautiful oceans and mountains! Tours of Cape Town’s underground water canals are offered for small groups of up to fifteen persons, commencing at the Castle of Good Hope, with a one hour tour of the Castle, and another one hour section of the tour showing one the fresh running water coming from Table Mountain and running into the sea. The canals were built by the Dutch in the 17th century, and were called ‘Little Amsterdam‘ at one stage.
* After ten years of participating in his Kitchen Nightmare TV series, Chef Gordon Ramsay has closed the door to this popular program which advised struggling restaurant owners in the UK and USA in how to save their businesses. More than 120 episodes were filmed over 12 seasons, and were sold to 150 countries, to have been seen by tens of millions of viewers.
* Actor Sean Penn was seen having lunch at Truth on Buitenkant Street yesterday, being in pre-production for his new movie ‘The Last Face’, which will star Charlize Theron.
* 2011 MasterChef Australia contestant Hayden Quinn, and cook, writer, and presenter, is coming to South Africa to film ‘Hayden Quinn South Africa‘, a 13-episode series which will be broadcast on Continue reading →
On Wednesday evening I attended a special tasting of the wines of Bouchard Finlayson, a Boutique Vineyard according to its marketing material, at the invitation of Janie van der Spuy of FIVE STAR PR. It was held in the special function room upstairs at Mondiall, with Chef Oliver Cattermole and his team preparing excellent tapas dishes which were paired with the four flights of wines we tasted.
I have to admit that I have not previously stopped at Bouchard Finlayson on the R320 Wine Route in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in Hermanus, it being the longest standing wine farm in the area. I was fortunate to sit next to Peter Finlayson, who has been at the farm for 25 years. He studied Oenology (Chemistry was a tough subject, but he is grateful for the grounding it gave him for winemaking) at Stellenbosch University, which he followed up with a year at Geisenheim in Germany. Of his class of nine graduating in 1974, only two have become winemakers. Peter previously worked at Boschendal. Only 22 ha of the 125 ha farm is planted to vine, Peter having bought it in 1989 from a farmer who farmed with ‘mielies, sheep, and baboons‘, Peter said, at a time when the locals said that the valley was only suitable ‘for farming by poor Whites’! The baboons are still there, he told me with a laugh! The remainder of the land is covered with fynbos, and Bouchard Finlayson is committed to conserving and adding fynbos, and they joined the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative. Peter was the first winemaker to import Nebbiolo and Sangiovese vines, planting them in 1994. His real achievement has been with Pinot Noir, known as the ‘Pioneer of Pinot Noir’, and now the whole valley is synonymous with the varietal. Galpin Peak Pinot Noir is the flagship Bouchard Finlayson wine. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc also do exceptionally well in the valley. Continue reading →
We were invited to try Shimmy Beach Club recently, not having had a chance to have a meal there since it opened six months ago, the restaurant, bar, and beach not being visible to visitors to the V&A Waterfront as it is hidden away in the port. Given the client profile, and the R40 million expenditure invested in the new building, we were surprised about the good value and friendly dining we experienced.
One drives to the harbour entrance near the Caltex garage, and initially signage leads the way. However, almost as one reaches a dead end, there is no further signage, until one sees a faded sign on top of a building with a guarded gate. We were told that there had been an issue with the Transnet National Port Authority about the signage, and it had to be removed. The building is adjacent to the Cape Town port authority, which regulates the shipping traffic entrance to and exit out of the port. There was enough parking, but it could be limited Continue reading →
Tourism, Food, and Wine headlines
* Bouchard Finlayson is hosting Pinot Noir tastings, introducing its Galpin Peak personally by winemaker Peter Finlayson. In Hermanus on 10 August (R100), Johannesburg on 28 August (R150), and in Cape Town on 18 September (R150) (via Fivestar PR)
* French hotel groups are challenging Bookings.com and similar sites for unfair competition, in not allowing them to offer similar low rates on their own hotel websites, reports The Telegraph.
* Clos Malverne on the Stellenbosch Wine Route is offering a 20km off-road cycling experience in the Devon Valley in conjunction with Bike & Saddle. Cost is R495 for the bike rental, coffee at the Devon Valley Hotel, and a 3-course lunch at Clos Malverne, on Tuesdays – Saturdays (via Random Hat media release)
* Restaurant winter specials, the misleading writing by Michael Olivier on his blog, and MasterChef SA’s new Season 2 dominated our Top 10 list of best read blogposts in June. Continue reading →