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Food Routes cooks up a storm with Culinary Holidays
26 May 2014
 
     

If the sound of a cooking course combined with a relaxing breakaway stirs your senses to sizzle, then Food Routes - an online expressway to an array of ‘wine, dine and recline’ adventures across South Africa – is your ticket to unleash your inner master chef with a cavalcade of Culinary Holidays to indulge in this winter.

On a Food Routes Culinary Holiday, food lovers can zero in on such edible experiences as a hands-on cooking lesson based in a glorious setting somewhere in Mzansi and relish learning how to make regional specialties from the traditional staples unique to the area. The luscious lineup of novel nomadic cooking classes – on offer  until the end of August – vary from gastronomic encounters in the Karoo and a Winelands whip up, to a culinary safari at one of the most renowned gourmet destinations in KwaZulu-Natal as well as a salivating stay at working sheep farm in the Cape.

“Our cooking holidays are ideal taste adventures to beef up a bachelorette party; give a fresh new twist to corporate breakaways, or to add some spice to your holiday with a loved one. Its home-grown stay-and-play adventures with gourmet flair and your ‘teacher’ might be a professional chef or a local who passes along generations of family recipes and a passionate dedication for African cuisine,” explains Stefane Kruger, co-founder of Food Routes.

The charming De Kaap Farm Kitchen in McGregor sets the culinary stage in the picturesque Breede River Valley with numerous casual, farm style cooking courses on offer during weekends. These include demos by guest lecturers over a glass of wine, followed by a languid lunch under the vine covered patio, framed by awe-inspiring mountain and vineyard views. Their monthly themes for June until August lift the lid on Fusion Cooking, Artisan Bread Making, Middle Eastern/Lebanese Feasts and Artisan Cheese making and the cost ranges from R580 to R1200 per head. Exclusive Food Routes accommodation packages are available at Mo & Rose at Soekershof, nestled at the foot of the Langeberg just outside Robertson; the 5-star Robertson Small Hotel, as well as the newly launched Penhill Manor at Toontjiesrivier, an original Cape Dutch farm which dates back to the 1840’s.

Or get your gourmet groove on in KZN at Thula Thula Elephant Safari Lodge, famed for its food and the peace and tranquillity that surround it. There the charismatic owner and French trained chef Francoise Malby-Anthony will teach course participants some of the latest techniques and tips learned from her annual visits to the LeNôtre Culinary Institute in Paris, whilst immersed in the pristine African bushveld.

Her course menu includes creative interpretations and traditional dishes such as Seafood Bouillabaisse Creole and Oxtail Bourguignon as well as sublime desserts, including the lodge’s legendary handmade Nougat Glacé. The course costs R250 per person and special accommodation ranges from R2100 per person per night.

Avid foodie travellers can sign up for a mid-week private cooking class with Chef Louise Gillett in the farm kitchen at Bartholomeus Klip – a gracious Victorian homestead nestled on one of the biggest wheat and sheep farms in the Western Cape that includes a 10,000 hectare private nature reserve in the Riebeek Valley. The thrill of an evening game drive and the excitement of the daily operations of a working farm add to this bah-bah-licious breakaway. This epicurean encounter is on offer Mondays to Fridays until the end of August and costs R1200 per couple, which includes a free copy of Louise’s award-winning cookbook, Life on a Cape Farm.

The untainted Karoo serves up a tasty trio of cooking options this season. Why not hit the road less travelled for a fat feast at the Vetmuis Farm Kitchen in Richmond in the Northern Cape, where one-day cooking demos on the versatility of game meat, Karoo game dishes and how to make the best preserves will hone your culinary skills with genuine country hospitality. The demos cost R430 per person, including lunch. After a fun day in the farm kitchen one can recline at the Vetmuis Karoohuis at R320 per head. Or book the entire house for R1700 per night.

African Relish is a Recreational Cooking School in the beautiful town of Prince Albert and its culinary hall is the only purpose built facility of its kind – a fitting retreat to awaken your inner Kokkedoor. Whilst soaking up indefinable qualities of hospitality, guests can get up close and personal with the culinary pulse of the Karoo with unique themed courses on offer for the passing traveller. These range from Karoo Classics, the Art of Charcuterie and Decadent Desserts, to a master class in Bread Making and Karoo Style Tapas. Accommodation is provided in African Relish’s own renovated cottages fringing the tranquil, traditional irrigation canals that run through the town at R1000 for two people sharing. The costs of the various cooking course are available on request.

Or if you are a foodie who is serious about what you eat and where it comes from, love the great outdoors and are keen on an African adventure second to none, then Andries Stockenström Guesthouse in the historic town of Graaff-Reinet and owner Gordon’s bespoke Veld to Fork cooking school will whet the senses.

Booking requests for the Food Routes Culinary Holidays can also be emailed to [email protected] or contact Tel: 082 5427566 or 023 626 3498. Follow Food Routes on Twitter @foodroutescoza and Facebook.

Food Routes’ establishments are all cocooned in comfort and luxury, but are as diverse as their menus. Listings are by invitation only and each of the chosen accommodation partners has been carefully vetted and has an excellent reputation when it comes to culinary prowess.

Wilderness Safaris Shines A Light On Sustainable Energy.
26 May 2014
 
     

WILDERNESS SAFARIS SHINES A LIGHT ON SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

As Africa’s leading ecotourism and conservation company, Wilderness Safaris has pioneered the way yet again by demonstrating its commitment to combatting climate change and implementing various sustainable energy solutions in almost all of its wilderness camps across Africa.  

Fiercely committed to protecting our planet’s precious natural and cultural resources, Wilderness Safaris places a premium on ensuring that its operations are sustainable and supported by its 4Cs ethic (Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce). It is the Conservation C that inspires Wilderness Safaris to make investments in maximising the positive impacts arising from its activities, while at the same time implementing measures to reduce the negative impacts. 

Sustainable energy usage is therefore a natural priority for the business and great strides have been made in this arena, with seven of Wilderness Safaris’ camps currently operating on 100% solar power, totalling 1 860 kW/h per day of power production. Further to this, there are five camps with solar-generator hybrid systems, reducing generator usage by about 50% and totalling a further 762 kW/h per day of power production, with another 12 camps that use smaller individual solar arrays for each guest unit or one single larger array to run the front of house only. The company also has 597 solar geysers or solar thermodynamic geysers in place throughout its operations, further reducing the need for reliance on generators or electricity.

“Regular geysers may typically operate for two hours a day in our wilderness camps, and would usually contain a 2 kW electrical element. This means that the introduction of solar geysers results in a 4 kW/h saving per day which has translated into a substantial saving across the Group of 71 640 kW/h. We are extremely proud of our dedication to sustainable energy and doing what we can to combat the effects of climate change”, says Brett Wallington, Wilderness Safaris Sustainability Manager.

When considering the energy savings generated by the use of 100% solar plants and hybrid plants, and working on six hours of energy production per day (the standard for the southern hemisphere), this works out to 55 800 kW/h for 100% solar operated camps and 22 860 kW/h for those operating on hybrid plants each month. Once again, this is substantial in terms of energy saving.

Tallying these savings up results in a combined saving of 1 803 600 kW/h each year, which translates into an estimated 658 348 litres of diesel fuel saved on an annual basis. This is certainly a significant move away from reliance on fossil fuels, which is a key priority for Wilderness Safaris. Finally, as a result of the energy efficiencies Wilderness Safaris has put in place, the business is saving 1 731 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. 

“Our quest to embrace sustainable energy will not stop here and plans are on track to retrofit additional camps with solar power. Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, opening in August 2014, has been built to be 100% solar powered. This will be a 50 kW system, which equates to 300 kW/h per day of power production”, Brett added. “Vumbura Plains Camp is also due to go solar this year, once all measures are complete and costs have been finalised.”

Photo: Olwen Evans

Unique Cuban-Themed Comedy Festival To Hit Cape Town
26 May 2014
 
     

The Cuban-themed lifestyle and comedy festival, Comedians for Smiles: Havana Night, will run for one day only at Villiera Wine Farm near Stellenbosch, Cape Town, on Saturday 31 May in an effort to raise funds for the Cipla Miles for Smiles initiative, which raises funds to perform corrective surgery on children born with cleft lips and palates.

The festival will feature well-known comedians ‘KG’ (headline act), Mum-Z, Brent Palmer, Dalin Oliver, and Carl Weber (MC) among others, who will perform alongside other artists to support this worthy cause.  

The Cuban theme is inspired by Cipla Foundation managing trustee, David Grier, and his running partner Andrew Stuart’s gruelling 1500km run across the Caribbean country, completed in January this year, also in an effort to raise funds for the Cipla Miles for Smiles initiative. To capture the spirit of this unique event, the public are encouraged to dress according to the Cuban theme when attending the festival.

“We are excited to host this one-of-a-kind lifestyle comedy event inspired by David Grier’s adventure; not only because of the brilliant comic line-up, but also because visitors will be in for a treat with wine, food, music, art, dancers and real Cuban cigars. The Cipla Foundation, through its Miles for Smiles initiative, aims to improve the lives of those born with cleft lips and palates, and in so doing, hopes to inspire all South Africans to get involved with this worthy cause,” explains Rynard van der Westhuizen, Cipla marketing director. 

David Grier says that an event showstopper will be the silent auction, which will involve bids being placed on key Cuban-inspired art pieces from artist Louis Storm’s collection, and will offer the public another opportunity to raise funds towards those born with cleft palates by purchasing one of these internationally sought-after pieces.

“We are thankful to the comedians and artist Louis Storm for seeing the true worth of this cause and donating their time and art to this initiative. This event, with five comedians, Cuban food, wine, dancers and a silent auction, will be a memorable day for the public who will enjoy an authentic Cuban experience. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Cipla Miles for Smiles, which helps to put the smiles back on children’s faces,” says David Grier. 

The headline comic act will be Kagiso “KG” Mokgadi, and audience members can expect a barrel of laughs from the line-up which includes Mum-Z, Dalin Oliver, Brent Palmer and MC Carl Weber. Food stalls will also be to theme by offering Cuban and Latin American foods. Guests will be taken on a tour inside the Villiera farm building, experiencing a different Cuban experience in each room, with the final room leading to the main comedian show.

Tickets, sold at R550.00 will include access to the comedy show featuring five comedians, and the opportunity to bid on the silent auction. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.quicket.co.za or following the direct link here https://www.quicket.co.za/events/5147-comedians-for-smiles-havana-night/ before 30 May 2014. 

For more information please visit http://milesforsmiles.co.za/comedians-for-smiles-havana-night.

Wintering with the Whales
26 May 2014
 
     

Wintering with the Whales

It’s started:  the first of this year's Southern Right whales have arrived at the De Hoop marine reserve!

Every year from around June the Southern Right whales leave their icy feeding grounds in Antartica and head for African shores, particularly favouring the de Hoop marine reserve in the Western Cape.

According to whale biologist Katja Vinding, the 71 km stretch of coastline ranks as the most important nursery area for right whales worldwide, where they give birth, nurture their calves and engage in mating and social behavior. Sightings of calves increase in August, peaking in September and October.

There are now about 10 000 Southern Right whales in the world’s  oceans, still a long way off the estimated 80 000 which once existed, according to Meredith Thornton of the Mammal Research Institute at University of Pretoria. South Africa’s waters are home to approximately 4 000 of today’s global population.

This pristine conservation area does not permit any fishing, boating or exploitation of any kind, which makes it an attractive place for whales to breed. Females and their calves swim in the clear waters, while males put on spectacular displays. From helicopter surveys conducted at De Hoop it has been found that the animal densities are highest at Koppie Allen and Klipkoppie, making them the best whale spotting sites at De Hoop. The whales come so close to the shore that you can spend hours on the unspoilt sand dunes, watching these beautiful creatures calve, blow, breach and belly-flop.

Although the De Hoop Bay has approximately 600 whales in peak season, generally over 50 Southern Rights can be spotted in the bay in a single sighting, the less common Bryde's whale and the rare humpback also make appearances. Save a date between June and December this year to come to the De Hoop coastline to see a truly magnificent wildlife display.

Visit the De Hoop Collection's website www.dehoop.co.za  for accommodation deals and special events over this period. 

About the De Hoop Collection

The De Hoop Collection opened in the De Hoop Nature Reserve in 2008 under the creative and entrepreneurial hands of Carl Trieloff and William Stephens, who worked closely with Cape Nature to offer guests a unique experience of unparalleled peace and tranquillity in a spectacular and unspoiled setting, which is scrupulously conserved by Cape Nature.

Bookings: Reservations can be made at 021-422 4522 or [email protected]
Website: www.dehoopcollection.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dehoopcollection

500 kilometre non-stop race on KZN's South Coast
22 May 2014
 
     

Adventure racing is a bit Survivor does Amazing Race; but no-one gets voted off the island, competitors participate in teams of four and they don't get to travel on planes or in cars. Feet, mountain bikes and kayaks will transport these rugged competitors over 500 kilometres of South Africa's South Coast terrain during the 2014 edition of Expedition Africa.

Next week, 40 teams of four from 17 countries arrive in South Africa and begin making their way to the Port Edward Holiday Resort on the South Coast. They're here for the 500-kilometre Expedition Africa multi-day adventure race, which starts on Sunday, 25 May 2014.

In the build-up to this gruelling endurance event, adventure racing journalist Lisa de Speville delights in telling people about the event. Her conversations with people go something like this:

"There's this really incredible adventure race happening on the South Coast soon," she begins. "There are 40 teams and participants from 17 countries. They'll have to hike, bike and paddle around 500 kilometres from start to finish."

"500 kilometres? For real?" the person asks. 

It's the distance that always catches attention. People gasp at the kilometres rather than the fact that there are people from 17 countries coming to South Africa to play on Kwa-Zulu Natal's magnificent South Coast. Lisa answers the question anyway.

"500 kilometres isn't really as bad as it sounds. The total distance is split into legs and between the different sporting disciplines so there could be say 40 kilometres of hiking and then 80 kilometres of mountain biking and then 30 kilometres of paddling... that's already 150 kilometres. The crunch is that the legs follow one after the next... And it's a race. So the teams just keep going from one leg to the next and the next and the next and the next. OK, so 500 kilometres is sort of as bad as it sounds."

"How long is that going to take? A month?"

"No," she says laughing. "The front teams will be done within four days and the slower teams have like eight days to get to the finish."

"Four days? You've got to be kidding me!  I take it that they stop at night to sleep?" the person responds.

"Nah, they don't. Well, not really," she replies. "When the race starts on the Sunday morning, the teams shoot off. They've got to find checkpoints and pass through transition stations and when they get to the finish they can stop. It may be four, five, six or eight days after the start... They do sleep but not very much. Two hours here, four hours there. It's really quite incredible what one can do on very little sleep." 

"If they're not sleeping much or stopping much, when do they eat?"

"They pass through settlements and can buy odds and ends from spaza shops but for the rest they arrive at the race with non-perishable foods in their race crates. Things like nuts, freeze-dried meals, cans of goods, add-water shakes and biltong. They pack food into their backpacks and replenish from their race crates when they reach the transition zones. The challenge is that they could be out on a leg - say a 60-kilometre hiking stage - for more than 24 hours or even more than 36 hours. They've got to plan how much food to pack to see them through. They mostly just eat on the go - munching constantly and then eating bigger meals in transitions."

"How do they know where to go? Are there signs that they follow or have they got GPS devices?" the person asks.

"GPS?" Lisa laughs.  "They don't use GPS units - or follow signs. Team navigators rely on map-and-compass navigation to take routes between checkpoints and transitions. Teams can go where ever they want as long as they pass through every checkpoint and transition. There's always room for error - especially at night - and it can be seriously exciting for people following the live online tracking, especially if tired, top-ranked teams are making mistakes in the later stages of the race. Supporters at home shout at their computers when they see their team taking a wrong route."

"That's incredible! What's the story with these teams? Are these people professional athletes?" 

"There may be one or two but the rest of the 200 participants are regular people with regular jobs and families and commitments. We've got 40 teams taking part in Expedition Africa this year with team members from 17 different countries."

"You mean, they're not all South African?"

"Nope," Lisa answers. "We've got racers from all over South Africa - Cape Town, Bloem, Durbs, East London, Knysna, Jo'burg, Pretoria and everywhere in between. The big excitement is just how many foreign teams have been attracted to come and race in South Africa. Coverage during last year's Expedition Africa was devoured by adventure racers worldwide and the race clearly caught their attention. Expedition Africa has built its reputation as a challenging event with excellent organisation and interesting routes in a magnificent country. The teams are going to love the Wild Coast with its dramatic coastline and rural settlements. The race is hosted by the town of Port Edward with everything based from the Port Edward Holiday Resort."

 And then the person inevitably comes out with the cracker: "So who do you think is going to win?".

"Aaaahhhh... " Lisa says, rubbing her head. 

"The New Zealand team Seagate stands out, for sure. Their captain, Nathan Fa'ave, is one of the most well-known, respected and experienced racers in the World. Their navigator, Chris Forne, is undoubtedly one of the best. The other two teammates are solid, experienced and strong. They're ranked second in the Adventure Racing World Series and they've raced here in South Africa before so betting on them is hardly a gamble. BUT..."

"What?" the person asks, eager to get the scoop.

"Well, there are the Swedes to consider. The team Haglofs Silva raced here last year. And they won! They beat our very best teams in the Drakensberg, on home ground. That's quite something. They're ranked sixth in the world and they don't just race for fun and sightseeing; they're strong and experienced and they race to win. I'd also be tempted to put some money on the American team, Tecnu. They did really well here last year and they've put in loads of racing and training over the past year."

"Any local talent?"

"PLENTY! Oh goodness! Where do I start? Merrell Adventure Addicts and Team Cyanosis are almost a given for top placements and they are both incredibly experienced teams and are able to beat the foreigners. But it's never cut-and-dry in this sport. There are so many things that can go wrong over four days - just getting an intact team of four across the finish line is an accomplishment, never mind winning. I'm also expecting solid performances from Black Diamond and Castle Lite as well as Olympus, Jabberwock, PennyPinchers and Warriors. 

But the wolf among the sheep may indeed be Team Painted Wolf. The Collins brothers, John and Mark, haven't raced for many years but they're made of the right stuff and back in the early 2000s they competed abroad... The thing is, I don't know if they realise just how far expedition adventure racing has progressed these past couple of years. Teams push harder than ever before. They're fitter, faster, stronger and SMARTER. And only yesterday Painted Wolf confirmed their fourth team member, a woman from Chile. She raced here in 2012."

"Leaving it a bit late aren't they?" the person observes.

"Better late than never! That's for sure."

And so it is that next week 40 teams from around South Africa and the World will start arriving in the South Coast town of Port Edward. The Russian team NoNameSport.ru is the first arrival; they check in this Sunday. Expedition Africa is sure to be the talk of this small coastal town. 

With sunrise just before 07h00 and sunset around 17h00 the teams are in for short days and long nights. But, on the bright side, the weather should be sunny with highs in the mid-to-low 20s and lows in the mid-teens. Light showers could be on the cards.

Expedition-style adventure racing is something else all together. The race can be following online through insightful race reporting, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts. Live satellite tracking brings the teams into your living room and the race organisers, Heidi and Stephan Muller, request that they're not held responsible for diminished productivity at work and extremely late nights during the week of the event.

Expedition Africa makes its base in the town on Port Edward with teams staying before and after the race at the Port Edward Holiday Resort. The event has been warmly welcomed by Tourism South Coast.

QUICK REFERENCE

Event: Expedition Africa

Location: Port Edward, Kwa-Zulu Natal. SOUTH AFRICA

Distance: 500 kilometres

Duration: around four days for winners; eight days for backmarkers

Dates & times: 

•Opening ceremony and official team introduction: Friday, 23 May 2014, 19h00
•Community project: Saturday, 24 May 2014, 08h00-10h00
•Start: Sunday, 25 May 2014, 07h00
•Prize giving and dinner: Saturday, 31 May 2014 at 19h00
•Final cut-off:  Saturday, 31 May 2014 at midnight (161 hours)

Teams: 40 four-person, mixed-gender teams

Countries: 17 countries represented. Participants from South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Ireland, Namibia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.

Visiting media: South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Portugal and Sweden.

Follow online:

•Live tracking, team information, feeds, leader board, photographs, daily videos: www.kineticgear.org
•Facebook: www.facebook.com/kineticgear
•Twitter: www.twitter.com/kineticgear #expafrica

Event Organisers: Stephan and Heidi Muller. Kinetic. www.kineticgear.co.za.

Adventure Racing World Series: www.arworldseries.com

Tintswalo Atlantic Launches new Winter Warmer experience
22 May 2014
 
     

As the colder months subtly creep in, we suggest booking a mini winter warmer break to heat things up. Treat your loved ones to a special visit at the spectacular Tintswalo Atlantic Hotel. Built by the Corbett family, this eco-friendly and sustainable hotel is a harmonious marriage of nature with luxury, situated in the Table Mountain National Park and Heritage site.   

Priding itself on impeccable service, sophistication and world-class style, friendly and caring staff and wonderful amenities, this luxury accommodation in Hout Bay now offers a well-deserved winter warmer retreat from March until August 31, 2014. Included in this experience is accommodation, dinner and breakfast, complimentary bubbly on arrival, all tea, coffee and juices, a 30-minute spa treatment, transfers to and from the hotel, as well as walks around the Table Mountain Reserve.

Tintswalo Atlantic sits on the shoreline of the majestic Atlantic Ocean, nestled in the heart of the wondrous Table Mountain National Park, a South African heritage site. Completely hidden from view, and draped by nature, the hotel sits low, right on the coastline, against a backdrop of rocky outcrops, rugged cliffs, shrubs, lush bush, fynbos and wild flowers. Tintswalo is Shangaan for an intangible feeling of love, peace and gratitude bestowed upon someone offering you a meaningful and worthy gift, and Tintswalo Atlantic certainly lives up to its name.

The rooms hug the coastline and the ever-changing waters of the Atlantic Ocean lap the pebbled beach just mere metres below. There are only 10 island suites and a two-bedroom presidential suite and each looks out onto water, mountain and the bay where yachts and tugboats bob side by side sharing the waters with the occasional whale. The rooms are unique and individually designed after their namesakes, famous international islands.

The main areas of the Tintswalo Atlantic comprise an open plan kitchen, dining area, large deck overlooking the rocks, a heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi and lounge and bar. Great service and fine dining is par for the course, thanks to its 5-star restaurant, chefs are on hand to cater to your every whim while the high tea is fast carving itself a foodie reputation.

From the beautifully appointed ocean-facing rooms to the spacious en-suite bathrooms and patios that offer romantic night skies and twinkling views over Hout Bay, Tintswalo Atlantic is the perfect destination for a romantic break. Book now and experience luxury and fine living with this unique seasonal special created specially for the local market.

Look out for more Tintswalo Atlantic specials coming soon, including a wonderfully romantic Winter Wedding special and a unique Dinner Club invitation.

For reservations and enquiries please contact Dumi by email on [email protected] or by telephone on 011 300 8700

Verses Spoken Word & Live Music Sessions is Back
22 May 2014
 
     

After a 2 year hiatus, Cape Town's most eclectic platform for spoken word and live music - Verses Spoken Word and Live Music Sessions - is BACK  and has found a new home in the form of Beerhouse, 223 Long Street.

Verses started off in 2004 and ran for seven years before taking a bit of a break, but now it’s back and promises to be just as entertaining and inspiring as before. Each event features a poet/spoken word artist, a live band/musician and an incredibly popular open mic session. The latter often enjoys spontaneous collaborations and it’s not unusual to see a poet jamming with a guitarist who is backed by a human beat box.

Nicole Biondi, Verses founder and Cape Town-born spoken word artist says: “People are never quite sure of what to expect when first coming to Verses and are filled with nervous thoughts of high school poetry running through their minds coupled with a slight unease at the unknown. However, within the first half an hour without failure, I’ll look around and see nothing but happily entertained faces and quite often, awe!”

Join Nicole and the Verses crew on Thursday 5th June (adding to the rest of the awesome “First Thursdays” Cape Town events) and celebrate the return of the Verses Spoken Word and Live Music Sessions.

Confirmed artists include talented comedian Goldie Shevlane; spoken word gurus NaMa Xam and Melisizwe Moni; and new-comer to the Verses stage, Inga Steyn. Songstress Bianca Smith will also be doing her ‘thang’ along with the featured musician Maya Elizabeth Spector whose honeyed tones will leave you wanting more.

There are still slots available in the open mic session and interested performers are welcome to email Nicole at [email protected]  to sign up or alternatively simply arrive early and sign up on the night.

DATE: Thursday 5 June
VENUE: Beerhouse, 223 Long Street, Cape Town
TIME: 20h00 to 23h00
No cover charge

Verses will take place on the first Thursday of every month from June onwards. Check out the Facebook page for details: www.facebook.com/pages/Verses-Spoken-Word-Live-Music-and-Soul-Hop-Sessio...

For more information, please contact Nicole Biondi on Tel: 072 2838315 or Email: [email protected] 

More Cape Town for Less
22 May 2014
 
     

Cape Town’s value-for-money offering truly peaks in winter with many hotels, restaurants, tour operators and attractions discounting their rates heavily. The low season also means fewer tourists with less traffic and queues.

Love Cape Town Winter Campaign Kicks Off

In celebration of Cape Town’s ‘cosy season’ Cape Town Tourism has launched a Love Cape Town Winter campaign, aimed at South Africans to make experiencing the magic of the Mother City accessible to more locals.

In association with Thompson’s Holidays, top value travel packages are offered from May to August 2014. The ‘Love Cape Town City Breaks’ packages start at R3 257 per person, with accommodation and self-drive packages available from R1 030 per person.

A list of special deals has also been created by Cape Town Tourism members and has been uploaded on the Cape Town Tourism website. These deals include big savings on accommodation (including the five star Twelve Apostles) and discounts from 15 – 50% on experiences such as helicopter flips, zip lining, cycle tours, West Coast tours and more. 

Cape Town Winter – So Much to Do

A foodie mecca - and a magnet for culture and design - Cape Town doesn’t lose its shine in the cooler months and many of its most alluring aspects are best suited to the period between May and September.

Winter is the ideal time for adventure enthusiasts to enjoy hikes, kloofing, surfing, kitesurfing, paragliding and more. The surf is bigger and the waters feel warmer, not to mention that whale-watching season kicks in from July to September and that the absolute best time to do shark cage diving is in winter, with a 99% success rate due to the fact that sharks are particularly active and visibility is at its best.

Those looking for less action and more relaxation are in luck too. World-renowned for its splendor and diversity, Cape Town’s nature is at its verdant best over this period with winter waterfalls running down Cape Town’s mountainsides and a magical transformation of the West Coast begins with a floral extravaganza in spring.

Also high on the list of to-do’s during the ‘cosy season’ are relaxing spa experiences (many enriched with African ingredients), and a hearty meal and glass of world-class wine at one of Cape Town’s many restaurants or wine farms offering fireplaces, atmospheric views and special winter deals.

There is a multitude of events on offer from May – September, including:
Comedy: The Cape Town Jive Funny Festival 2014 from 26 May – 22 June
Food Lovers Events: Good Food & Wine Show 2014 from 29 May – 1 June whilst “The Story of Food”, an official World Design Capital project, runs from mid-May to mid-October 2014
Wedding Planning Events: The South African Wedding Show 2014 will take place from 6 – 8 June
Literary Festivals:  South African Book Fair 2014 from 13 – 15 June
Fashion: Mercedes – Benz Cape Town Fashion Week 2014 24 – 26 July
Creative: Open Design Cape Town 2014 will run from 13 – 23 August, Creative Week Cape Town from 15 – 21 September, and the Cape Town Fringe Festival from 25 September to 5 October
World Design Capital projects, including “Beautiful Things: From Tradition to Modernity”, (a look at aesthetically pleasing products) also run throughout the winter months.

Just beyond Cape Town, in the countryside and small towns are a number of events well worth a visit:
The Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival 2014 from 4 – 13 July
The Franschhoek Bastille Festival 2014 on 12th and 13th July
Robertson Slow 2014 from 8 – 10 August
The Gravity Adventure Festival 2014 from 15 – 17 August
Franschhoek Uncorked 2014 on 27 and 28 September

Says Velma Corcoran, Marketing Executive for Cape Town Tourism; “Winter is Cape Town’s best kept secret. There is such great value at this time of year and lots to do and see. It’s a great time of year for exploring Table Mountain whether you are hiking, trail running or mountain-biking. You can also discover Cape Town’s best food and wine, explore interesting events, indulge in soul-restoring pampering or treat yourself to some retail therapy.  It’s the ultimate change of scenery and a great weekend or holiday escape for all South Africans.”

Travellers can get the low down on many special deals and offerings from restaurants, accommodation establishments and activities by visiting: www.capetown.travel/deals

For a list of top reasons to visit Cape Town in winter, visit www.capetown.travel/blog/entry/9-things-that-are-better-in-winter-spring....

For a round-up of events happening in and around Cape Town in the months to come, please visit www.capetown.travel/events.

Photo: Cape Tpwn Tourism

Nedbank Tour De Tuli Wins We Are Africa Innovation Award
22 May 2014
 
     

Wilderness Safaris and Children in the Wilderness are thrilled to announce that the mountain bike event Nedbank Tour de Tuli, has won the inaugural We Are Africa Innovation Award for Most Original Itinerary. The Nedbank Tour de Tuli is an important fundraising vehicle for non-profit Children in the Wilderness, which has been hosting unique mountain bike tours since 2005. Over the years, these events have grown in stature to become one of the finest mountain biking experiences in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

We Are Africa, the new travel trade exhibition from Beyond Luxury Media Ltd., took place 5-8 May 2014 in Cape Town, during which it launched its Innovation Awards. The six categories highlight “individuals that offer an innovative and unique take on African travel.”

The Nedbank Tour de Tuli won the Award for Most Original Itinerary, defined by We Are Africa as “Surprising, amazing itineraries that leave you speechless and challenge the traditional expectations of travel in Africa….” The aim was to find the most unusual, unexpected, thoughtful tour, whether in the wilderness or the concrete jungle.

Nedbank Tour de Tuli certainly covers these aspects. Now in its tenth year, it is a renowned, premier mountain bike tour through some of Africa’s most pristine wilderness areas in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, taking 350 cyclists through the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Park. Over the last 10 years, the tour has hosted 2 369 cyclists and raised R11.6 million for Children in the Wilderness. It is renowned for its extremely high standards of service, tented accommodation in beautiful wilderness locations and provides cyclists with the unforgettable opportunity to follow ancient elephant and other wildlife trails in remote, wilderness-protected areas. Cyclists not only have the opportunity to see wildlife, but the route also includes magnificent scenery and rare cultural interactions with the local communities living on the boundaries of these protected areas.

“We are delighted at the recognition of our Nedbank Tour de Tuli event as the unique, incredible experience that it is. The opportunity to cycle through the diverse habitats of three beautiful countries, while at the same time raising awareness of the importance of Transfrontier Conservation Areas and providing benefits to the children of communities living around conservation areas, is definitely something very special,” says Dr Sue Snyman, Regional Director of Children in the Wilderness.

Cape Town Takes Stock At Indaba: Sustaining The New Tourism
15 May 2014
 
     

Cape Town Tourism has returned from a successful Indaba 2014, which saw the Western Cape’s Gold Award-winning stand showcasing various facets from across the region, in partnership with Wesgro.

Enver Duminy, Cape Town Tourism CEO, was among the panellists at the Tourism Cities at Indaba Conference - attended by tourism businesses, authorities and academics. Consistent with South African Tourism’s theme for Indaba 2014, “Twenty Years of Freedom”, the event examined the explosive growth in tourism over the past two decades.

Says, Enver Duminy; “Demand in tourism has increased exponentially. For much of the first decade of the last twenty years we were just responding to the market but tourism has since gone from reactive to proactive. In particular, the FIFA World Cup in 2010 had shaped tourism to Cape Town and South Africa, both in terms of perception and by harnessing the potential of industry collaboration and cross sector partnerships.”

At the opening address for Indaba 2014 Minister for Tourism, Martinus van Schalkwyk said that “in 1994 international arrivals to South Africa stood at just 3.6-million.” Twenty years on, arrivals have grown by more than 300% to reach nearly 15-million last year, 9.6-million of which were tourist arrivals. Minister Van Schalkwyk added that “in 1994 South Africa's tourism budget was just R81-million, accounting for just 1.7% of GDP (R9-billion). There were just 230 000 direct jobs in the tourism sector. Today, the national government invests in excess of R1.6-billion in tourism every year and has a fully-fledged tourism ministry with the industry now accounting for R93-billion, or 3% of GDP, and 610 000 direct jobs in the sector.”

Looking at travel trends will shape the next twenty years in tourism and Duminy noted that social and mobile continue to shape tourism’s future. The popular Indaba Tech Zone showcased plenty of exciting innovation and ideas that signalled the importance of innovation.

Says Velma Corcoran, Executive for Marketing at Cape Town Tourism; “One of the biggest trends to watch in travel is mobile - and the potential for mobile in Africa is staggering as mobile has enabled Africa to leapfrog many other technologies. Harnessing mobility is a way of thinking which extends beyond a mobisite or travel app. It means placing visitors at the centre and can also be an approach to a physical space; like Cape Town Tourism’s new mobile Visitor Info Centre.”

A study by Grant Thornton and the City of Cape Town (2013) revealed that the economic value of tourism in Cape Town for 2012/13 was around R11.9 billion and that, at the time, there were around 34 600 permanent employees and 15 000 temporary employees employed in Cape Town’s tourism industry.

Cape Town is committed to ensuring that the next twenty years will also mark an even greater shift towards economic equity for tourism.

Photo: Cape Town Tourism

Zeekoegat Primary School Project
1 May 2014
 
     

Now in existence for over 76 years, Zeekoegat Primary School, situated on the private property of Seekoegat Farm, continues to strive to expand its programs and offerings to the community. 

Our small school has already helped shape and form hundreds of children into young successful adults. Currently with 71 children from grade 1 – 6 & 20 toddlers, we are just too short on finances to offer the necessary resources to accommodate all the underprivileged children. Unfortunately the department of Education provides too little for the school to continue and we lean on the help from our Project Room at Safari & de Zeekoe Guest Farm’s national and international tourists. 

We hope that you will be able to take part in any kind of donation in supporting this project. It is our mission to raise enough money to continue this charity and provide services in our community; we rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses for support. Without the assistance of community-minded individuals just like you, we wouldn't be able to serve those in our community each year. 

Zeekoegat Trust is currently busy with the following projects:
• Employment of 3 new teachers
• Supporting a Feeding Scheme that feeds 91 children, and for some children this is the only meal of the day
• Extra educational material
• School uniforms for winter and summer  

Remember that every donation makes a difference, regardless of size. Please note this is a NON PROFIT organisation (NPO 093-185).

Thank you in advance for your support! 

Warwick National Mother’s Day Campaign
30 Apr 2014
 
     

In line with a long-term focus on women in wine, Warwick Wine Estate is paying tribute to mothers in the period leading up to Mother’s Day on Sunday May 11. Women have always played a pivotal role in every-day Warwick life with Norma Ratcliffe being Warwick’s first winemaker and a role-model for lady winemakers ever since. Warwick has launched a Mother’s Day campaign to celebrate Norma, our ‘First Lady’ and the role that moms play in all of our lives. 

Warwick’s Mother’s Day campaign is spearheaded by The First Lady wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon and an Unoaked Chardonnay, launched a few years ago to honour Norma’s widely respected reputation as ‘The First Lady of South African wine’. The campaign pays homage to Norma as a mother, the architect of Warwick Estate and its award-winning flagship wines, the doyenne of South African women winemakers who carved out a niche in this previously patriarchal arena, and a passionate pioneer who trail-blazed her way to many ’firsts’ in the South African wine industry. Norma was one of the first women to make wine in South Africa and the first woman to be invited to join the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild where she was subsequently elected Chairwoman. 

We at Warwick are launching the ‘Official Wine of Mother’s Day’ campaign which incorporates a number of fun elements like VOTE FOR YOUR #FIRSTLADY - the search for ‘South Africa’s favourite mom’. The Warwick campaign is running nationally across multiple media platforms and through synergies or partnerships with all the major retailers, Tsogo Sun and a large number of restaurants across the country. Room nights at glamorous hotels, fabulous Mother’s Day meals, wine give-aways and assorted prizes will complement this intensive period of activity. Mothers have never had it so good!

Warwick’s Mother’s Day wines

In addition to The First Lady wines, Warwick has two other ‘Lady Wines’ dedicated to women, all of which will be showcased nationally as the ‘Official Wine of Mother’s Day’. These four wines will be widely available nationally at all leading retailers and at a multitude of restaurants. The ‘Mother’s Day wines’ will be easily visible in-store, proudly bearing their distinctive ‘Official Wine of Mother’s Day’ gold stickers and elegant gift tags and retailing at special Mother’s Day prices.

Warwick The First Lady Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
The wine, first released in 2008 to honour Warwick’s First Lady, Norma Ratcliffe, is a descendant of the first wine Norma released in 1984, a Cabernet Sauvignon called La Femme Bleu (The Blue Lady). This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep and intense red colour. The bouquet reveals red berries, blackcurrants and pleasant herbal characters. The smooth, ripe, round tannins make this wine easy to drink while still retaining good structure. The wine spent 18 months in 225-litre 2nd, 3rd and 4th-fill French oak barrels. 
Suggested food pairings: Fire-grilled rib eye steak, roast free-range chicken or crusty baked smoked mozzarella and caramelised onion pizza.
Special Mother’s Day price: between R60 and R65 per bottle

Warwick The First Lady Unoaked Chardonnay 2013
First launched in 2012, this wine has a pale straw colour with a hint of green in the glass and an intense nose of fresh pineapple, lemon and orange blossom notes. The mid-palate is broad and appealing supported by a lingering acidity.
Suggested food pairing: Slow roasted garlic and lemon chicken.
Special Mother’s Day price: between R60 and R65 per bottle

Warwick Three Cape Ladies 2011
First crafted by Norma in the late 1990s, the Three Cape Ladies celebrates the three grape varieties that grow so well together in Stellenbosch, as well as the three generations of Ratcliffe women at Warwick: Norma, daughter Jenny and first granddaughter Eve. A Cape Blend with Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz working well together, it displays ripe plum and bramberry aromas fused with a touch of mint chocolate to complement the smooth tannins. This ‘Cape Blend’ brings the best of Pinotage to the classic French varieties. The wine spent 18 months in 225-litre French oak barrels - 25% new. Drinking beautifully now, it will also age well over the next 8-10 years.
Suggested food pairing: Cape Malay lamb curry or a beetroot risotto with walnuts.
Retail price: R145-R150 per bottle 

Warwick White Lady Chardonnay 2011

100% Chardonnay, this wine was first produced by Norma in 1991 but has recently been given a new name and label. The wine shows hints of French oak, canned pineapple, lemon zest and hazelnut praline. The palate is full with a medley of citrus fruit, balanced acidity and well integrated oak. The wine spent 10 months in 225-litre French oak barrels, one-third new, one-thrid 2nd and one-third 3rd-fill. The wine drinks exceptionally well now and will continue to do so for another 3 -5 years.
Suggested food pairing: Roasted free range chicken or Slow-roasted pork belly with a citrus and soy glaze.
Retail price: R185 per bottle

Norma and the Ratcliffe family

Although Norma has handed over the reins at Warwick, she is still very much involved in the Estate. As Warwick’s ‘Style Director’, she remains an integral part of the wine-making team, advising on all aspects of wine-making. With Norma having down-scaled her responsibilities, it gives her great pleasure that Warwick is still very much a family affair, with her two children, Mike and Jenny, both involved in the family business. Mike, a graduate in Wine Marketing from Adelaide University, has been Managing Director of the Estate since 2000. He has played a key role in positioning Warwick as one of the most innovative wine producers and standard bearers of quality in South Africa. Jenny, a Cape Wine Master, Cordon Bleu chef, published author and editor of WineStyle magazine, South Africa’s largest circulation wine magazine, is Warwick’s ambassador in Gauteng. Norma is also the beloved grandmother of Mike’s two daughters, Eve and Rosie, who live on the farm, and Jenny’s children, Georgina and Harry. 

An accomplished cook, Norma is particularly interested in wine and food pairings, and has been at the forefront of promoting signature recipes that are complementary to her wines. Warwick is in the process of publishing a Warwick cookbook. A qualified textile designer and accomplished ceramicist, Norma has been an expert at everything she’s tackled including skiing, cycling and mountain climbing. Her achievements include 11 Argus cycle tours, summiting Mount Kilimanjaro and climbing to the base camp of Nanda Devi, the highest peak in the Indian Himalayas. 

Warwick Estate
Stellenbosch Wine Route
Open 7 days a week, 365 days a year
Tel: 021 884 4410
www.warwickwine.com

The Foundation Stone From Rickety Bridge Spreads Its Wings
27 Apr 2014
 
     

The Rickety Bridge brand has become synonymous with ever-evolving innovation and creativity, while maintaining the magic and ethos of a 200-year history. Their distinctive Rhône-style blend, the Foundation Stone, was first launched in 2008, and mirrors this trend of novelty and originality, with the 2012 vintage comprising a new blend of six Rhône-style cultivars. These are Syrah, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Tannat and Viognier. Since 2013, this popular blend has been adorned in a new, vividly imaginative label.

Named after the cornerstone of the original ‘rickety bridge’ which straddles the Franschhoek River which ushers one into the estate, the Foundation Stone boasts a highly acclaimed track record: The maiden 2008 vintage attained an admirable four-star rating in the 2010 Platter’s SA Wine Guide; the 2010 Foundation Stone was named one of the Top 100 SA Wines for 2012, scooping, in addition, a Best Value award; and the 2012 Foundation Stone was recently judged one of the Top 100 SA Wines for 2014.

Last year Rickety Bridge decided to complement this wine with the only other long standing blend in the range, the Rickety Bridge Rosé, which as from the 2013 vintage is dressed in the same striking label as the original Foundation Stone, but with subtle changes to the colour palette. 

Rickety Bridge has now just released its first white blend into the Foundation Stone range – a subtly oaked 5-cultivar Mediterranean-style wine, again sporting the Foundation Stone label with appropriate changes. Consensus in the industry is that premium white blends, whether Rhône, Chenin based or Bordeaux in style, is the most exciting category of South African wines at the moment. This and Wynand’s personal intrigue with the category motivated Rickety Bridge to seek out interesting pockets of high quality vineyards of Mediterranean varieties, such as Ugni Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc to team with the Chenin Blanc from Rickety Bridge which has become very highly regarded.

Remarks Managing Director Jan van Huyssteen, “Having proved the success of the Foundation Stone red blend over the past few years, our winemaker Wynand Grobler was inspired to create complementary blends to accompany it, and he now has a trilogy of captivating blends. The distinctive label designed for us by Fanakalo in Stellenbosch has been adapted for the two additions to the range.”

RICKETY BRIDGE FOUNDATION STONE 2012 RED

This wine is an intriguing blend of 38% Syrah, 23% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre, 9% Tannat, 8% Grenache, and 2% Viognier. All six varietals were matured separately in barrel for a total maturation time of 18 months and then blended for bottling.

Tasting Note: The wine is silky soft on the palate with succulent tannins and notes of white pepper, blackcurrant, white chocolate and cherry tobacco on the nose. Layered complexity on the nose and palate surprise with every interaction. 

Maturation Potential: Drink now or in the next 6 years. 

Awards: Judged one of the Top 100 SA Wines for 2014. 

Food pairing: Enjoy with ostrich or beef carpaccio, duck, venison and rump steak with pepper sauce.

Retail price: Approximately R85 at leading retailers and specialist wine merchants.

RICKETY BRIDGE THE FOUNDATION STONE ROSÉ 2013

This refreshing wine is a blend of 57% Shiraz, 22% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Viognier. 10% of the wine was fermented and aged in small French oak barrels. All 4 varietals were vinified separately and blended just before bottling.

Tasting Note: A dry traditional style Rosé with juicy red cherries and strawberries intermingled with Turkish Delight and a touch of spice. A lovely creamy yet fresh palate showing a perfect balance between acidity and sweetness. Ready to be enjoyed right now.

Food pairing: Picnics, salads, sushi, prawns, smoked salmon or on its own.

Retail price: Approximately R50 at leading retailers and specialist wine merchants.

RICKETY BRIDGE THE FOUNDATION STONE 2013 WHITE

The wine is an appealing blend of 49% Chenin Blanc, 15% Grenache Blanc, 15% Ugni Blanc, 15% Roussanne and 6% Viognier. All five varietals were matured separately in barrel for a total maturation time of 10 months before being blended for bottling.

Tasting Note: All 5 varietals contribute to this complete and well-balanced wine. Elegant with spring blossoms, restrained peach, mango and stone fruit on the nose, subtle hints of oak spice and a refined fruit expression. A rich and well-structured wine that finishes with elegance and freshness on the palate. Will benefit from some aging.

Maturation Potential: Drink now or in the next 6 years. 

Food pairing: Fish dishes, chicken dishes, goats cheese salad, pork, veal, Asian influenced chicken and fish dishes and roast duck.

Retail price: Approximately R85 at leading retailers and specialist wine merchants.

Rickety Bridge

When visiting Rickety Bridge today, one still crosses a bridge over the Franschhoek River to enter this picturesque sanctuary, this jewel in the vines, which offers far more than the conventional wine estate. Today this Franschhoek wine estate is home to a modern boutique-style winery, a ‘tasting room in the vines’, Paulina’s à la carte restaurant, luxurious 4-star accommodation, a romantic wedding and function venue, a conference centre, a playground for children and a boules court.

Rickety Bridge is open seven days a week
Tel:
021 876 2129
Email: [email protected]
www.ricketybridge.com

Flatdog: A Man’s Best Friend
28 Mar 2014
 
     

How many times have you gone on an outdoor excursion with great expectations only to have your dream dashed? We all have romanticized ideas about the perfect picnic or camping alongside a babbling brook, but how many times have you had ants infest your space, wine spilt on uneven ground and had to revert to eating your food out of the original plastic containers? What about making your ideal come to fruition? 

Enter Flatdog…

Here is an innovative way to create the space you have envisaged and merge imagination with reality. Be it spontaneous sundowners on the beach or planned outdoor excursions of any kind, Flatdog, your ever loyal ‘Table on a Stick’, comes to your rescue.

Flatdog is your mobile table top that can follow you anywhere. Flatdog is versatile, adjustable, needs little space and is easy for anyone to set up and dismantle.

Flatdog promises to: add pleasure to your picnic, comfort to your camping, style to your sundowners, bliss to the beach and beef up your braai.

Flatdog is a man’s best friend.

At only R299, everyone should own a Flatdog.  

Flatdog’s table top is a black ABS plastic tray 40 cm in diameter. It comes with a galvanised mild steel spike which has a sharp point, making it easy to insert in the ground or on the beach. It can be set up in three height options.

With volume purchases, Flatdog can be produced in various colours, and branded for promotional purposes.

Contact: Ant or Robin
[email protected]
Cell: 079 973 5652
https://www.facebook.com/flatdog.portable.table?fref=ts

Afrasia Bank Cape Wine Auction Results 2014
19 Mar 2014
 
     

The inaugural 2014 AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction, which took place on Saturday 15th March, witnessed the remarkable realisation of a bold dream when an astounding R7.045 million was raised for education in the Cape winelands.

In a grand marquee on the majestic Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch, 250 prominent local and international wine aficionados as well as online bidders were invited to make a serious difference when 40 once-in-a-lifetime Auction lots came under the enthusiastic hammer of auctioneers Iain Banner and Paul Myson. The astonishing line-up of lots included rare wine collections as well as exclusive hand-selected local and international wine, gourmet and travel experiences. Highlights of the day included an art cameo by talented artist John Adams whose live 8-minute surprise portrait of Nelson Mandela fetched a staggering R460 000 on the Auction. Other lots fetching phenomenally high prices were: The Mulderbosch & Fable Mountain Vineyards American Dream Lot: R700 000; The Glenelly Estate Lot: R450 000 and The DeMorgenzon & Royal Portfolio Lot: R400 000.

This global showcase of South African wines was hosted by the Auction Partners, an outstanding group of esteemed companies, and the Auction Ambassadors, a select group of high-profile wine industry personalities headed up by honorary chairwoman Madame May de Lencquesaing of Glenelly Estate, all of whom made their time and resources available to turn a dream into reality. On arrival gents in stylish summer suits and ladies in flowing summer dresses sipped on bubbly, soaking up the perfect summer’s day and the breathtaking views. On entering the splendid marquee perched on Delaire Graff’s heli-pad, guests were treated to a gourmet feast from Ouma’s Pantry, prepared by celebrity chefs Margot Janse, Christiaan Campbell and Neil Jewell, accompanied by some of the greatest hand-selected South African wines.

The Auction beneficiaries, the Pebbles Project, the MAD Charity and the Click Foundation, together with The Cape Wine Auction Trustees Michael Jordaan, Ken Kinsey-Quick, Wendy Appelbaum, Siobhan Thompson and Michael Ratcliffe, will now have the resources to take the first steps towards changing people’s lives through the powerful tool of education.

An elated Mike Ratcliffe commented on behalf of his fellow Trustees and Ambassadors: “We are overwhelmed by the immense generosity and startling success of this inaugural event. Never before has an industry been so united, and never before has the world been exposed to this philanthropic face of the South African wine industry! Today has been an extraordinary day and we look forward to returning annually to continue to realise our dream.” 

For further information, visit the Auction website www.thecapewineauction.com

Sip and savour at Taste the Helderberg 2014
19 Mar 2014
 
     

For one night only, the NH Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West will be transformed into a Helderberg treasure chest of the finest wines and food stemming from the region, when the 6th annual Taste the Helderberg pulls out all the stops on Thursday, 12 June 2014.

It is a premium blend of the latest pleasures and passions from this renowned and rapidly growing sub-route of the Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes – which stretches from Somerset West to Stellenbosch and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village – and this year’s showcase promises an even bigger and bolder array to sip and savour.

“Taste the Helderberg is exactly what the name states. It’s an exclusive tasting experience of produce unique to this premium Winelands pocket, where one’s precocious palate gets supreme satisfaction. It is a not-to-be-missed, heart-warming event on our winter calendar for likeminded food and wine lovers who all treasure the finer indulgences in life,” explains Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

Enthusiasts can mingle and be merry with a stellar mix of local winemakers, chefs and artisan producers, when more than 100 fine wines and signature dishes from eminent restaurants dotted along the Helderberg Wine Route, captive the senses under one roof.  

It is your exclusive ticket to get happy in the Helderberg and show the winter blues the door with wines from at least 25 eminent producers, ranging from time-honoured stalwarts to uber-cool boutique wineries; popular family-owned estates to eco-conscious pioneers. They include the likes of Avontuur, Hidden Valley, Ken Forrester Wines, Longridge, Lyngrove, Peter Falke, Vergenoegd and Waterkloof Estate.

Restaurants that will lend some culinary flair to the event with mouth-watering portions of their signature delights which will be on sale throughout the evening include the likes of 96 Winery Road, Avontuur, Longridge Restaurant and Overture.

Tickets for Taste the Helderberg 2014 cost R70 per person and are limited to 500 as the show is kept intimate for guests to socialise with the winemakers and chefs without feeling cramped. The ticket includes an elegantly branded wine glass and access to tasting some of the best wines in the country.

Doors will be open from 17h00 to 21h00.

During the evening, guests can relax in cosy chill areas or make use of the hotel’s restaurant for dinner. Pre-bookings for the restaurant are recommended to avoid disappointment. Call 021 855 1040 to make a reservation.

For more information on Taste the Helderberg 2014 visit www.wineroute.co.za or call 021 886 4310. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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