London’s Top Five Champagne Bars

Traveling to London this year… why not stop by and visit one of the top five Champagne Bars!

This list was created by Elly Webster of The Handbook (

1) Beaufort House

2) St Pancras Grand Champagne Bar

3) Mews Of Mayfair

4) Boundary

5) Kettners

G Spot: Graham Beck Wines, Franschhoek

Posted by Virtual Explorer on 15 may 2010.

It is not very often that one gets to drink or taste wine that is the drink of choice for Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.

Graham Beck wines first came to the attention of Jocelyn when she found out that Obama personally asked for this wine to be served at his inauguration in January 2009. So when we saw that Graham Beck Wine Estates were on our route, we didn’t hesitate to see for ourselves what makes the wine so special.

Cellar master Pieter Ferreira took us on a tour of the winery and showed us the massive silver containers weighing up to 30 000 litres in which the wine is fermented. Walking around the winery, the pungent smell of the red wine was intoxicating.

Pieter’s enthusiasm for the wine industry shines through as he explains the process of making wine. Asked how he got involved in the business, he said “you fall into a wine tangle and learn to swim”.

We asked Pieter about the Obama connection. At his inauguration dinner in May 1994, former president Nelson Mandela insisted that the wine be served, and this is how Graham Beck wines, markets their products.

So in 2008, on the eve of announcing his candidacy for the US presidential election, Barack and Michelle Obama went to the Blackbird Restaurant in Chicago and had their first encounter with this proudly South African wine. They chose it after hearing that Mandela had drunk it at his inauguration.

It is clear that first impressions last as Michelle Obama ordered the wine for election night, and it was served again at Obama’s inaugiration dinner.

At the tasting centre, Pieter pulled out all the stops, and we certainly understood why the wine is the preferred choice.

Rich and fruity, we had a taste of Brut and Bliss and it was well, uh, blissful.

And for those of you who thought Rose was merely a summer drink, Pieter says “Pink is in. Cape Town is Pink man. It’s fashion”.

– Sipho Masondo and Jocelyn Uithaler


New Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club launched

13 May 2010  by Chris von Ulmenstein, Food and Wine Bloggers’ Club
An exciting new Food & Wine Bloggers Club has been launched in Cape Town, and its first meeting will be held at the Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School on 19 May, from 18h00 – 20h00.
Based on bloggers’ needs to always learn something new about Social Media Marketing, and given that there is no Bloggers’ Manual to teach one about blogging, the Bloggers Club focuses on food and wine, and “pairs” a food blogger with a wine blogger. Every month a different food and wine blogger pair will address the Bloggers’ Club meeting.

Liam Tomlin, owner of the new Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School in the Cape Town city centre, has come on board as a partner in the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, and his Cookery School, seating 20 persons, will host the meetings. He will also make snacks to match the wine that the Wine Blogger will be presenting during his/her talk.

Each of the chosen wine and food bloggers will speak for 30 minutes about his/her blog, giving a description of the content, spelling out their goals, and providing guidelines to the other bloggers present about how to be a better blogger. Bloggers attending will then be able to ask questions, and to meet the other Bloggers present.

The first food and wine pair to speak, on 19 May, is Michael Olivier of Michael Olivier Blogand Anel Grobler of Spit or Swallow Blog.

Our programme of speakers for future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting are Pete Goffe-Wood of Kitchen Cowboys Blog, Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck and Bubbles on Wine Blog, The Foodie of The Foodie Blog, Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick Wine Estate and Vilafonte Blog, Sam Wilson of Food24 Blogs, Rob Armstrong of Haut Espoir, Dax Villanueva of Relax-with-Dax Blog, Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte and Hein Koegelenberg Blog, Clare Mack of Spill Blog, Simon Back of Backsberg Blog, and Emile Joubert of Wine Goggle Blog.

Future Club meetings will be on 1 July, 28 July, 18 August, 22 September, 20 October, and 24 November. A new speaker list for 2011 will be announced closer to the time.

The Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School opened three weeks ago, and is a stockist of the most wonderful local and imported kitchenware, glassware, crockery, utensils, pots, as well as a broad range of unusual ingredients, oils, essences, and teas. Chef Liam Tomlin was the co-owner of Banc, Sydney’s top restaurant, whilst he was there. He consults to British Airways. For more details about the Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School click here.

To attend a meeting of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, or to volunteer to be a speaker, please e-mail Chris von Ulmenstein at All aspirant bloggers, avid Blog readers wishing to meet their blogging heroes in person, and regular bloggers, are welcome to join the Club! Entrance is R150 per meeting, payable in advance by bank transfer or credit card. Attendance is limited to 20 persons per meeting, so bookings will be taken on a first come, first served basis.

The Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School is at 50 New Church Street. From Buitengracht Street turn into Buitensingel Street near the Caltex garage, below Bo-Kaap. Turn first right into New Church Street. The Cookery School is on the right, just off the corner, diagonally opposite the Protea Fire & Ice Hotel.

News on Cape Winemakers Guild

Rose 101 – Why drink Ros�

Rose 101 – Why drink Ros�.

Food and Bloggers’ Club

The new Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, which has its first meeting at the Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School in Cape Town next Wednesday 19 May from 18h00 – 20h00, will pair a Food Blogger and a Wine Blogger at each of the monthly meetings of the Club.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share one’s knowledge with others.

Michael Olivier is the first Food Blogger (although he could equally be speaking about Wine Blogging),  writing blog Michael Olivier, to speak at the Bloggers Club.  He trained at the London Cordon Bleu Cookery School, and is a well-known Cape Food and Wine guru.   Michael was a highly regarded restaurateur (Paddagang in Tulbagh, Burgundy in Hermanus, Parks in Constantia), worked at The Lanzerac Hotel, was PR Manager for Boschendal, and has written three books: “A Restaurateur Remembers”, “crush” and “The People’s Guide – navigate the winelands in a shopping trolley”.  He has been a consultant to Pick ‘n Pay on wine retailing, and presents a daily programme on Fine Music Radio (”Michael Olivier Talking Wine”) and a weekly on-air winetasting programme on ClassicFM.   Michael’s Blog focuses on People, Places, Wine and Food.

Michael will share the platform of the opening meeting of the Bloggers’ Club with Anel Grobler of SpitorSwallow, a unique “website for wine enthusiasts who visit a lot of wine farms.”   Not only is the cellar door experience rated from a winelover’s perspective, but also restaurants, weddings, accommodation and other events on wine estates are rated too.  Anel started her blog with her partner Jan Laubscher 2 years ago, and won 3rd place in the 2009 Bloggers’ Awards, in the Food & Wine Category.  The site has 650 active users, and 2000 reviews of wine estates, from which a monthly eagerly-contested Top 10 list is announced.  Anel herself has visited 260 out of the 600 wine estates in South Africa, and hopes to visit the remaining ones!   She started the website earlier this year, with local wine news.

Other writers that will be talking about their Food Blogs include Peter Goffe-Wood of Kitchen Cowboys, The Foodie, Dax of Relax-with-Dax, Sam Wilson for Food24 blogs, and Clare Mack of Spill, while the Wine Blogs of Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck, Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte, Simon Back of Backsberg, Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick and Vilafonte Wines, Rob Armstrong of Haut Espoir and Emile Joubert of Wine Goggle will also be presented at Club meetings on 1 July, 28 July, 18 August, 22 September, 20 October and 24 November.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers attending.   Only 20 bookings will be accepted for each meeting, on a first come, first served basis.

Bloggers will be able to experience a pairing of the snacks prepared by renowned international chef Liam Tomlin, owner of the new Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School, at 50 New Church Street in town, with the wines brought along by the wine blogging speaker.   The cost of attendance is R 150.  Bookings can be made by e-mailing

Unique Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School opens in Cape Town

Unique Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School opens in Cape Town.


Whale Cottage Portfolio Blog

Whale Cottage Portfolio Blog.