Cape Town Wine Tour by City Sightseeing Bus | Beaumont House

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 30th, 2011

Here is a Video clip of a City Sightseeing bus visiting Groot Constantia and Eagles Nest. This wine tour is free with the City Sightseeing Cape Town Blue Route tour.

Alternatively, stay at Beaumont House and you are less than 15 minutes away from these wine farms!

Does South African Wine need to get its Mobile act together?

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 29th, 2011

Neil Pendock questions whether South Africa needs to get its Mobile act together.

Somewhere between Stellenbosch and the supermarket checkout in Staines, SA wine misplaced its Mojo. If anyone finds it, please return to sender. SA wine is suddenly deeply unfashionable all over the place but as Canadian media guru Marshall McLuhan told us all in the sixties, the medium is the message and that medium is increasingly a smartphone.

The Hello Vino free wine app lists SA last among major wine producing regions in a recent poll of 120 000 users of this US-based mobile phone application. But does it even matter that iPhonists in Indianapolis don’t search for a Pinotage to go with their pepperoni pizza or that Android anoraques in Albuquerque are confused by Chenin?

You betcha, as the US is the largest retail wine market in the world with a $30 billion-a-year spend, having recently overtaken France as Bachhus’ largest customer. It is also one of the fastest growing in terms of both consumption and production as the average consumer age falls – unlike the increasingly sclerotic drinking populations of Europe, traditional consumers of SA wine exports.

SA producers accepting that the USA is the promised land for exports until Eastern Dragons embrace Elgin, should pay attention to what wine app users want, as according to Google chairman Eric Schmidt “78% of smartphone owners use their phones while they shop. This is the future and everyone will adapt. People are fundamentally better off with a better and smarter and more empowered, if you will, customer.”

In the case of wine, it’s probably closer to 100% if the US has the same level of product support for the wine category as is found in SA, where asking for in-store advice is like searching for rocking horse droppings. After all, which self-respecting anorak would admit to a shop assistant he was confused between the merits of Claret and a Bordeaux blend? Far less embarrassing to surreptitiously Google the Apple in your manbag.

Hello Vino serves up one million wine recommendations a month and of the 120 000 respondents in their recent poll, 70% called themselves either beginners or novices. Over half drank wine at least once a week with 80% spending less than $20 on a bottle.

That SA does not feature in the Hello Vino stats comes as no surprise when you look at what consumers want to know. The most popular varietal searched for is Moscato and we’re not talking Judah Moscato here, the 16th century Italian rabbi, poet and philosopher. SA certainly does make wine from Muscat grapes – in fact the first grapes brought to SA three and a half centuries ago were Muscat de Frontignan yet the most famous SA wine, Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia, does not disclose this on the label.

Then there is Muscat de Alexandrie that we call Hanepoot, Muscat Ottonel that a proud Romanian like Razvan Macici must have on the Nederburg drawing board and Black Muscat, or Muscat de Hambourg, that PG Slabbert makes at Stellenbosch Hills. Then there’s always Barefoot Moscato imported by Namaqua Wines from California. So clearly a translation of Muscat to Moscato would help mobile US consumers.

Top three Hello Vino reds are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel with Zin a rarity in SA and Pinot by far the most expensive single cultivar wine in the SA cellar. For whites, its Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, with once again Pinot Grigio very much a rarity and De Grendel even calling the stuff Pinot Gris. But perhaps the most confusing thing for a smartphone shopper would be the bewildering style of wines with the same name. That largest volume SA white, Chenin Blanc, can be wooded and unwooded and range from bone dry to super-sweet botrytis infected stickies.

Pinotage is in even worse shape, as styles range from banana surprise to Starbucks coffee mocha to Estée Lauder toenail varnish. But it’s all there in the SA cellar – the challenge is to translate into mobile. Not beyond the abilities of SA wine if Château Lafite can incorporate a lucky 8 and a Chinese symbol into their labels to promote sales in that market.

It’s certainly worth doing, as global market intelligence firm IDC predicts mobile app downloads to reach 77 billion within three years, providing the kind of market penetration WOSA might call a wet dream.

29 March 2011 by Neil Pendock

South Africa’s most expensive Red Wine released by Bilton

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 28th, 2011

A new South African wine from premier Stellenbosch estate Bilton is set to re-define perceptions of quality and has already garnered international attention for its outstanding balance and style.

The Bilton, a Cabernet Sauvignon, was unveiled at the estate last week, along with the equally show-stopping Viognier 2008.

Only 500 bottles of The Bilton are available for purchase and only from the estate.

Situated at the foot of the Helderberg Mountain, Bilton’s vineyards are nourished by abundant sunlight, rich soils and cool sea breezes that ensure ideal conditions for grapes to ripen slowly and develop in flavour. The new wines are excellent examples of this remarkable terroir.

The launch of The Bilton was a moment of immense satisfaction for winemaker Rudi de Wet and legendary consultant winemaker Giorgio Dalla Cia, who have worked together since 2000.

“The Bilton is a unique wine and one we believe sets a benchmark available only among Europe’s finest,” says Bilton general manager Johann Diedericks. “It is testament of our philosophy as a premier wine estate to set the bar on quality at its highest.”

Rudi – who worked in wine regions across the world before stints at leading estates in France and Italy, and South African estates Meerlust and Webersburg – says he never quite believed the desired style was achievable until a visit to France showed him otherwise. “I realised after actually seeing and tasting those wines that at Bilton we share the same philosophy and, while they may have different terroir and sunlight, we’re not that far off at all in terms of style.”

The Bilton comprises of cabernet sauvignon grapes handpicked from some of the oldest vines on the property that enjoy plenty of the Cape’s nurturing sunlight. It spent 34 months ageing in 500% new oak, which is also unheard of for South African wines. The result is a monumental dark and aromatic wine that will continue to mature to well over 80 years under ideal cellar conditions.

Like The Bilton, the newly released Viognier 2008 stands proudly as a flag bearer for quality and the estate’s reputation as producer of distinctive wines. Grapes for the Viognier were sourced from an individual block. Berries were hand chosen before undergoing fermentation on the skins – a rarely used technique for white wine in South Africa and one that Rudi says took him almost a decade of trial and error before producing the result he sought. The wine spent 12 months ageing in barrels, 75% in oak and 25% in Acacia.

“Its an affirmation of what we are trying to achieve – to produce the best quality wines comparable to the best in the world,” said Johann.

Ensuring this quality for Bilton’s wine customers around the world a unique and tamper-proof security tag called the “bubble tag” is attached to the neck of each bottle of wine produce in the estate’s cellar and private collection. This digital fingerprint prevents counterfeiting and allows the owner of the bottle to check its authenticity online. Each tag carries a code that, when scanned with a smart phone provides access to Bilton’s website and specific information, including tasting notes, on that wine. The technology was developed by a French company called Prooftag and recently taken up by leading French wine estates including Chateau Margaux and Chateau Latour as a way of protecting their iconic brands.

The Viognier 2008 sells for R350 a bottle and The Bilton, R3 000 a bottle.

The most scenic hike in the world – Cape Town to Cape Point?

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 27th, 2011

On the face of it, it did seem like a poor proposition: walk up some steep mountains, look at a bunch of plants, and then…er, walk down again. For 5 days.

The mountains in question however were the towering range of twisted sandstones and crunchy granites that run all the way down the Cape Peninsula, starting with Cape Town’s familiar flat-topped Table Mountain and ending 5 days later at Cape Point, where the red, wave-battered cliffs plunge precipitously into a frigid, peacock-blue ocean.

And the plants were part of the extraordinary Cape Floral Kingdom, a Portugal-sized sliver of utterly unique vegetation that stands cheekily alongside such floral heavyweights as the Holarctic and Paleotropical Kingdoms (together comprising 77 percent of the world’s land vegetation) and noted not only for its astonishing diversity (9 000 species) but also its endemism (I’ve seen plants whose range is restricted to a couple of boggy mountaintops).

Put it all together, throw in the mild, sunny days of the Cape’s late winter, add an encyclopedia of animals from antelope to zebra and snakes to sugarbirds, and you have the makings of the most incredible coastal hike – and I haven’t even got to the views yet.

Oh, I know it’s all subjective: the best this and the most that. The chef-turned-celebrity Anthony Bourdain summed it up nicely when searching for the ‘perfect meal’, admitting that a half-burnt cheeseburger on a Caribbean beach tastes pretty good when you’re in the mood for it – it’s all about personal experience.

But, standing on a cliff edge surrounded by flowers and jewel-like sunbirds, tracing the line of purple mountains enfolding a bay so blue it seemed painted, it seemed difficult to find a rival walk that is so accessible, with such consistently jaw-dropping scenery and is just so…doable.

The hike falls under the splendidly-pleasing ambit of ‘slack-packing’ – namely, you do the walking, other people do all the work. You only need a day bag and water as your luggage is chauffeured from one overnight stop to the next, and you stay in comfortable lodges and hotels.

I had joined the 5-day hike for the last 2 days. Monday to Wednesday take you from Cape Town to Simons Town via mountains, forests and beaches. Thursday saw me puffing my way up a winding path that suddenly whisks you from the bungalows of sleepy Simons Town into a primitive lost world of mountain peaks, knife-edged ridges and sudden twists and turns that hurl view after view at you.

Luckily, I was being led by Steve Bolnick, a legendary southern African safari guide with 30 years experience under his belt, and the creator of this walk. His enthusiasm is obvious and contagious, and I was soon familiar with the geology, history, fauna and flora of the area.

“It’s my favourite day of the walk,” grinned Steve as he shovelled food towards my gaping maw on one of our breaks, “it’s about as wild as you can get up here.”

Indeed, I had to constantly remind myself that we were only half an hour from South Africa’s second largest city. We were surrounded by nothing – well, nothing man-made at any rate. No roads, no pylons, no people – just multi-coloured mountains.

But it was the flora that really got me. Abandoning attempts to remember the barrage of botanical names (oh look, it’s another thingy whatsit) I was constantly flabbergasted by the sheer numbers involved. There are more species of plant in the modest, wind-swept Cape Point Nature Reserve than there are in the British Isles, and the vegetation completely changes with every curl of the path.

“It’s all about micro-climates, different soil types, and exposure to sunlight and moisture,” explained Steve. “A north-facing slope will have a completely different flora to a south-facing one.” Altitude plays a part too I noticed, as we climbed the imposing moorland-like Swartkop Mountain, and later again as we descended into a wooded ravine.

After 7 hours we emerged at the once endearingly named Patience Bay (it apparently took a long time to fill a water bottle from the sluggish spring there) and contemplated the final day – a walk down the entire eastern coastline of Cape Point Nature Reserve looking out over False Bay and the Hottentot-Holland Mountains.. “Must be pretty scenic,” I commented with my customary intuition. Steve just smiled.

‘Scenic’ doesn’t actually come close. Friday was a day of such eye-popping majesty that you begin to groan in resignation at yet another gasping view. A pair of southern Right Whales cruising in the sparkling bay to our left seemed to accompany us as we wound our way towards the very tip of Africa as the path lurched from mountain top to beach and forest to cliff edge – it was relentless, incredible chocolate box scenery and as powerful as anything else I’ve seen anywhere else in the world.

We had lunch next to a white sand beach so dazzlingly bright it made me giddy, and the adventurous can fling themselves into water so clear that you can see the ripples in the sand from a cliff 200 metres above it. Baboons barked, snakes slithered, antelope did whatever it is they do – and after another 7 hours without seeing another soul save a handful of people at the beach, we found ourselves looking slightly out of place amidst the well-coiffured tourists milling around Cape Point next to their coaches.

We earned bemused looks from the cosmopolitan crowds – and in fairness our slightly dishevelled appearance did make us stand out a bit – but we wore big fat smiles on our faces and sat down with cold beers to reflect on the day.

The sentiment expressed by Bourdain ran through my head again: the world’s best? Yes it’s subjective and it’s all about personal experience but in this case the experience is other-worldly and the emotions intensely personal – it’s the most beautiful hike I’ve ever done, and that, for me, is official.

by Dominic Chadbon, 9 September 2008

Boston Breweries in Cape Town makes really good beer!

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 26th, 2011

Chief Brewer, Chris Barnard…

“The best part of my job is that I get to taste test each batch myself”

As a young man, Chris Barnard, founder of Boston Breweries was curious to discover more of the world and see what lay beyond his African home. Having completed his training in computer studies, at age 21, he explored Europe where he tasted and enjoyed many different styles of beer – from a German Dark Weizen to Greek lagers.

When he eventually returned home to Cape Town, he was disappointed to find that his local beer drinking options did not live up to the flavoursome tastes he was accustomed to. Not one to accept things as they are, Chris gradually began experimenting with the brewing process and a few years later, after a fact-finding tour to Southern Germany, Chris purchased a 100 litre system and Brewing began to take place. It did not take long before demand exceeded his 100 litre capacity. It was at this stage that his dream of building a viable brewery became a reality.

In September 2000, Boston Breweries was registered officially. It had a brewing capacity of 8000 litres a month. The lager was so popular that by the end of the first year, the production capacity was doubled. At present, having followed a policy of controlled, gradual expansion, Boston Breweries can produce 32000 litres per month.

“The key to our continued growth and success lies in a superbly enjoyable, hand-made product, loyal customers and our highly service orientated approach”, says Chris. Still today, each batch is personally checked and tasted by its founder and equipment maintenance at restaurants and pubs is carried out rigorously to schedule.

All Boston Breweries products are naturally brewed using malted barley, water, yeast and hops.

For me the best beer they make is called Hazard Ten – on account of it being 10% abv. It’s the closest I’ve found in Cape Town to a strong British Ale!  
Hazzard Ten Ale – If you’re a fizzy yellow beer drinker this is definitely not for you. With an alcohol content of 10% it is the strongest beer brewed in South Africa, the most defining character however is it’s flavour. It is dark red in colour, has a thick creamy head, and a strong malty character. The sweetness has been balanced by adding large amounts of hops to the beer after fermentation, a process called dry hopping. It’s definitely the beer that is the most fun to make.

Il Leone serves tasty Italian Food with friendly & efficient Service

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 24th, 2011

It has been a soupy week on the home front. First up was, ‘The London Particular’, which is actually a smog, which is actually a ‘pea souper’. The London Particular was the name first used to describe the particular fog experienced when accompanied by heavy pollution. Following this the description was also used for traditional pea soup. By the same reverse logic Londoners called the smog a pea souper.

On bad days in the first half of the 20th century the smog ground London traffic to a halt and caused pigeons to crash. Nowadays chief executives just say “we’ve got poor visibility going forward,” which actually means “for the first time in my life I can’t predict the future”.
The London Particular should not be confused with the Old Peculiar, which is a real ale, though they may combine well in winter. It is a Peculier because it is made in a Yorkshire parish outside the jurisdiction of a diocese. I think this is like saying Constantia isn’t really part of South Africa.

Il Leone Mastrantonio
(corner of Prestwich St)
Green Point
Cape Town

Anyway, my zuppe tasted more of polluted gruel than soup. Silly me – I probably didn’t leave enough of the smoky-salty meat on my eisbein before I boiled it with the split peas.

A childhood favourite, Jerusalem artichoke soup, was far more successful even though I was making it for the first time. This root, which is not an artichoke but a species of the sunflower plant, gives off a grand peppery watercress aftertaste, though unlike pepper has no real bite. Uncomplicated too. Just the tubers, potatoes, butter and milk. Like Vichyssoise sans leaks. While this American ‘artichoke’ has for centuries been used by the French as a soup ingredient, it may have been utilised primarily as pig fodder.

Is the sudden reappearance of the root at markets another sign that what was once a rich man’s waste is now his luxury? Offal and turnips are the new caviar and truffles. I’m all for head to arse dining but one day the new luxury will again be the old luxury.

Peasant soups that I have never enjoyed – in or out – are the traditional Italian soups. Neither minestrone nor pasta fagioli (pasta and beans). I am not sure there is that much difference between these two tomato-based soups though minestrone probably has more of a mixed vegetable emphasis while pasta fagioli as its name implies is likely denser with pasta and beans. Nonetheless it is time to make a more valiant effort to find good versions of these hearty soups. After all over many centuries Italian cuisine is unlikely to have retained its poorest offerings.

It is a short walk from the city centre to Il Leone Mastrantonio, presumably the ‘Lion’ of the mostly Gauteng-based group of Mastrantonio restaurants (currently changing name to Mastro Restaurants).
They don’t have minestrone today but there is pasta fagioli (R60), also known as pasta fazool in New York. Bean varieties such as butter, cannelloni, and borlotti, together with penne pasta float in a light tomatoey sauce that has boiled for hours to kill the tart. There is also a rich smokiness that suggests paprika. The sharpness of green pepper is kept in check by limiting the quantity and chopping it fine. A deeply rewarding comfort food.

The sun pops out, briefly illuminating a space that is already bright from generous sash windows stretching up to high ceilings. The wood is mostly old, sanded down to a light brown without going so far as Swedish Blonde. Mostly old because the bar is a horrible exception. Composed of wood that tries its hardest to be fake, with heavy waves of faux beams that can only be someone’s 70’s design fantasy.

It doesn’t bother the customers in the least. All around large tables are filling up with businessmen and women. That the two bottle lunch is not dead here is a tribute to the management.

Next up are tortellini parcels filled with chicken and in a tomato sauce (R70). The mini donut-shaped pasta parcels are attractive without being over designed. After all this is a traditional Italian restaurant and is thankfully not targeted at food stylists. The tomato-based sauce is creamier than that used in the soup though at this point I don’t believe I have ordered well. Two pasta dishes in a row is too much starch. Indeed that must be the reason why it is a violation of Italian lunch etiquette to do so, almost as severe a sin as drinking cappuccino (a breakfast drink) in the afternoon.

Secondly, at the risk of offending all of Spain and Basque separatists in particular, I am not convinced the chicken combines well with the still strong tomato flavours in the sauce (despite the cream that reduces the tang). Others believe this is one of the best dishes on the menu. This is also not to say that the delicate flavours of chicken and measured use of tomato can never work together.

What is beyond doubt is that the chicken filling inside the tortellini is bone dry. By way of comparison at the branch of House of Pasta on the nearby fan mile, a cheap and cheerful office lunch joint, achieves a moist beef filling inside its ravioli. As one might expect the pasta here falls far short of that at Il Leone Mastrantonio and the tomato sauce is not slow cooked but at R28 for a small portion it is good value.

While Il Leone is an Italian restaurant it is positioned well above a pizza joint. Indeed it does not sell pizzas. Makes two types of seafood risotto and a porcini mushroom one in season. Because risotto is difficult to churn out in a restaurant they inform you straight up that it takes time to prepare. Other items are what you would expect in terms of antipasto, pasta (including vegetarian), meats and desserts.

Wines from about R100 a bottle upwards. Broad cross-section mostly from well known estates. Vintages provided. Includes several Italian wines. I drank a glass of Porcupine Ridge Shiraz (R44). Don’t recall the year. Service that rare combination of friendly and efficient.

Article by Tom Robbins

International wine master becomes honorary member of Cape Winemakers Guild

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 23rd, 2011

Formidable wine master and the first South African-born chairman of the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine, Lynne Sheriff, has been awarded honorary membership of the Cape Winemakers Guild at a ceremony in London.

The ceremony was held in recognition of her recent appointment to the Institute of Masters of Wine, recognised as the world’s leading wine education and professional body, and her achievements in promoting the South African wine industry abroad.

Cape Winemakers Guild member Adi Badenhorst presented Sheriff with a crystal wine decanter emblazoned with the CWG emblem at the formal ceremony to acknowledge her exemplary contribution and support of the South African Wine industry throughout her career culminating with her distinguished election as chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine.

“Since the inception of the Cape Winemakers Guild in 1982, one of our main aims has been to promote quality South African wines locally and internationally. It is therefore a great honour to make Lynne Sheriff an Honorary Member of the CWG,” says CWG chairman Johan Malan. “As the first South African to be elected chairman of the renowned Institute of Masters of Wine she is an admirable ambassador for the country and specifically for our wine industry and we wish her a very successful term,” he added.

Originally from Cape Town, this former winemaker and hotel school graduate who trained in Stellenbosch, Germany and France, has considerable international experience to bring to her two-year term as chairman of the London-based wine institute. Sheriff holds a South African Cape Wine Masters (CWM) qualification as well as the international Master of Wine (MW) qualification and is a former director of the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Academy. She was also one of the first two South Africans to earn her international MW in 1993.

Since the institute initiated inaugural exams in 1953 only 280 Masters of Wine qualifications have been granted, which is an average of less than 5 graduates a year with these credentials.

The title is the highest professional endorsement in the wine industry and involves two years of theoretical and practical exams designed to test the knowledge and ability of candidates in the art, science and business of wine. To enrol students must first have an internationally recognised qualification, before submitting extensive proof of their eligibility for the programme.

The Cape Winemakers Guild comprises some of South Africa’s most respected winemakers whose tireless pursuit of continuous improvement, innovation and the development of young winemakers through its Protégé Programme, has set new standards in winemaking in South Africa.

Established 28 years ago by eight independent winemakers with the vision to elevate South African winemakers amongst the world’s best in the eyes of international opinion leaders, the CWG represents the pinnacle of South African winemaking today. The CWG is about ability, philosophy, achievement and an ongoing dedication to the production of world-class, quality wines from South Africa.

Luke’s Test Kitchen is a must try Restaurant when in Cape Town

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 22nd, 2011

The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts

Much lauded chef, Luke-Dale Roberts, is no stranger to directing a brigade of chefs, sharpening knives and of course, dreaming up relentlessly creative menus. His new role, as not only the head chef of The Test Kitchen, but also as the owner, has given him a whole new set of skills.

‘I never used to have to worry about leaks, nails, doors…’ he says trailing off. ‘All of it [running a business] takes so much time.’ His phone beeps and he’s off again leaving us to have lunch.

The Biscuit Mill complex is buzzing—newly opened Saucisse Deli is doing a roaring lunchtime trade, the Espresso Lab is churning out litres of black gold and The Test Kitchen is positively humming. The team in the open plan kitchen move fast in their chefs’ whites. All prep and cooking is open for everyone to see, dining alone here wouldn’t be hard at all—there’s plenty of entertainment.

‘I want the flavours to jump out of the plate,’ says Luke

Today though, I’m lunching with ‘s German editor, Antonia Heil. First thing’s first, the wine list. Printed on a sheet of recycled brown paper, the selection is clearly carefully chosen—bold whites and reds of pedigree. The pinot noir section itself is impressive, Adam Mason, Paul Cluver and Vriesenhof all make an appearance. The options by-the-glass are top-drawer too, a treat when, if you’re like me, you like to drink different wines throughout a meal.

Soon a glass of Newton Johnson Chardonnay and Adam Mason Pinot Noir have made their way to our table. A bit of confusion seems to take place. Antonia’s drinking from my glass, I’m drinking from hers, a whole lot of swapping and giggling is going down. We decide to take the same approach with the food. For starters we tuck into Asian-style beef tataki, with zinging citrus, and a vegetarian (we must have misread the menu…) tempura roll. Veggie or not, it’s still delicious, light, with defined flavours.

The space itself is industrial with urban/Asian-inspired décor—textured paper globes hang from the ceiling, piles of bespoke crockery are neatly packed onto crimson shelves and beaten metal tables make up the intimate restaurant. At its heart is the open kitchen; wrapped around the perimeter is the ‘kitchen bar’, here guests can dine off the â la carte menu while watching the carousel of chefs create culinary magic.

Our main courses are a wood-fired pork belly served with a black bean dressing and a hake fillet dressed with an olive and raisin salsa. The pork is prepared in the ‘pizza oven’ in the courtyard, and is served with Asian greens—a lighter, more delicate take on this traditionally rich dish. The fish is banging fresh, a thick cut fillet with beautifully-white flakes. As if to emphasise this freshness, in walks a fish monger, white gumboots and all. Luke goes over to meet him and they haggle over cuts of silver fish. There’s no backdoor policy here, all the comings and goings of this restaurant happen in the public eye.

Fine dining for the younger generation

‘I just wanted to put the kitchen into the dining room,’ explains Luke pulling up a chair. ‘This is approachable, accessible fine dining.’

When asked if clientele from the La Colombe days come to eat, Luke laughs, ‘absolutely, it’s quite amusing to see a Maserati pull into the Biscuit Mill, followed by a guy on a skateboard. ‘So, yes, we’re still getting a lot of the same guests, but also a whole new set of people are coming through the doors. There’s a much more happy-go-lucky attitude.’

The approach to service has also been pared down. ‘I want my servers to be able to read what a guest wants. Some people want the whole menu explained; others prefer to be left alone. On our next batch of menus there’ll be a glossary, where certain techniques and ingredients will be explained.’

While we’re chatting a ceramic egg is placed on the table. Inside are pastel balls of sorbet, a fitting end to a light summer’s lunch.

‘I see this restaurant as a humanitarian food project,’ quips Luke as we’re leaving. ‘Fine dining for the people, by the people.’

By Malu Lambert

Emirates launches second daily flight to Cape Town

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 21st, 2011

Emirates is to strengthen its commitment to South Africa with the launch of a second daily flight to Cape Town. The new service will offer passengers more choice and flexibility, as well as connect seamlessly to a wide range of onward destinations.

“South Africa and the United Arab Emirates enjoy a thriving trade and investment relationship and the launch of our second daily service to Cape Town will help boost this further by supporting new business and tourism opportunities,” said Richard Vaughan, Divisional Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations Worldwide.

“We have seen very strong inbound and outbound demand for our South African services over the last year. This new frequency will bring one of South Africa’s leading tourist destinations within easier reach for visitors, as well as meet the needs of our South African customers for enhanced connections from Cape Town to Europe, the Far East and a host of other points across Emirates’ extensive global network,” added Vaughan.

Starting on the 27th March, Emirates will fly non-stop twice a day to Cape Town. The new service will be operated by an Airbus 340-500 aircraft in a three-class configuration, providing 12 luxurious First Class private suites, 42 angled lie-flat beds in Business and 204 generously-sized Economy Class seats.

Known for its dramatic natural skylines, amazing wildlife and for being a melting pot of cultural influences, Cape Town is a hub of creativity and a magnet for artists and performers. It is estimated that the ‘Mother City’ attracted three million visitors in 2010, with almost 63 per cent coming from Europe.

Air France considers recommencing flights to Cape Town

Air France may be considering recommencing flights to Cape Town for the first time in ten years after last year’s boom in tourism, a South African news site has claimed.

The Independent Online says that the move is being considered by Air France commercial director in southern Africa, Ralf Karsenbarg.

Last year’s Football World Cup proved to be a major boon to South African tourist numbers, with minister of tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk announcing earlier this month that visitor numbers were up 15.1 per cent in 2010.

“We are delighted with these strong growth figures, particularly as it comes so soon after a global economic recession,” he said

The Philosophy of Wine by Cain Todd | Beaumont House

Posted by peter | Articles | Posted on March 19th, 2011


Tackling the issue of subjectivity in wine tasting and why some tasters will like a wine and others dislike it, Cain Todd, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom, asks whether there can be such a thing as the taste of a wine. Can wines really be feminine, profound, pretentious, or cheeky? And how is it that wines have become personifi ed, lacking or possessing virtues and vices? Focusing on issues in metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind and aesthetics, the book provides a discussion of the philosophical signifi cance of wine, questioning whether wine is indeed a work of art. While many wine critics may not agree with many of Todd’s arguments, it is a fascinating read that provides food for thought. Despite being based on Todd’s own academic research, The Philosophy of Wine is accessible to anyone with an interest in wine.


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