Your quick guide to brandy in Cape Town

The winelands beyond Cape Town are fast growing a reputation for producing world-class brandies. But to get the most out of the local brandewyn (“burnt wine”), as it is known in Afrikaans, it’s best you brush up on your brandy knowledge.

Most visitors to Cape Town arrive unfamiliar with local brandy, a spirit that is making its mark worldwide.

South African brandy, unlike its French counterpart cognac, is typically made using Colombard and Chenin Blanc grapes. The grapes are harvested and crafted into a specific base wine: a wine with low acidity, little colour and with no added sulphur.

The base wine is then is distilled twice: first to create “low wines”, and then to concentrate the liquid into the fiery spirit that will mature into brandy. After the second distillation the brandy is matured in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, but often much longer. Some of South Africa’s finest brandies have spent over 30 years in barrel, maturing quietly in winelands storehouses.

“In South African brandies we aim for complexity; a subtle integration between the wood and the fruit,” explains Brink Liebenberg, Master Distiller for wine and brandy company Distell.

But before you point at any old bottle behind the bar, make sure you know what you’re ordering.

A blended brandy comes at the bottom of the pile, with a mix of pot still and column still spirits. These are your best bet if you’re mixing it with soft drinks. Vintage brandies are a step up, but it’s the pot still brandies that are your best choice. Made in copper pot stills and matured in wood before blending, they are South Africa’s answer to cognac.

That said… don’t tell the French, but local pot still brandies regularly beat French cognac in global competitions! Cheers to that.

The Foodbarn Deli

With an holistic and vibrantly new age approach to food and all things delicious, The Foodbarn Deli is not only a restaurant, a brilliant catering option for any and all events as well as a jam packed deli containing everything your taste buds could ever yearn for, but it is also an existence of beautiful. All the food on offer in the deli is of the best produce as well as the most beautifully presented, the same can and is said for the restaurant and the manner in which all their catering is done at every event that they have catered for. The Foodbarn deli is a food emporium that welcomes every type of taste, no matter how finicky the taste is. Continue reading “The Foodbarn Deli”

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront – V&A Waterfront

Waterfront ShoppingDare to dream of a place where there is a myriad choice of everything you can think of, coupled with a large amount of awesomeness and then stop dreaming because that absolutely phenomenal place is The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Continue reading “The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront – V&A Waterfront”

Waterfront Village

The crème de la crème are found occupying the exquisite apartments of Waterfront Village, situated on the serenely wondrous vista of V&A Waterfront Marina. The group of pristine architectural buildings that form The Waterfront Village, cater for family stays, corporate stays and all the in between. They offer one, two and three bedroom apartments as well as magnanimously phenomenal penthouse suits. Continue reading “Waterfront Village”

Hermanus – The whale watching mecca…

Whale crierApproximately 115 km outside of Cape Town lies the beautiful artistic town, with over 16 Art Galleries, of Hermanus. It is said that this is the place where artists and creative alike come to retire, amongst the majestic Right Whales, which have made Hermanus famous. Whale watching and Hermanus is synonymous with one another, Hermanus even has its own Whale Crier, the only tradition of its kind in the world.

The Whale crier tradition started in 1992 with Pieter Claasen, alerting visitors and locals alike of the whales in the bay by blowing on his, now well known, kelp horn. The tradition was passed down through the years and Eric Davalah is the current whale crier. The Southern Right Whales appear in Hermanus during winter and spring, and the experience of seeing them is something divinely unforgettable.

Ivanhoe Sea Safaris is known to be the leading boat-based whale watching company in South Africa, operating from Hermanus. With small groups as well as private charters available, their prices are extremely reasonable and the service is exceptional. Bookings can be made on their website, where you can find a great gallery and all the information you could ever need on whale watching.

Humpback_stellwagen_editHermanus’s old harbor was declared a national monument in 1970 and stands today as a Provincial Heritage site. The old harbor sports the Old Harbor Museum, open 24 hours a day, it has a vintage collection of photographs depicting the historical tale of the harbor. There is a lovely Old Harbor Café situated in the old harbor, that serves mouthwatering salmon, amongst other delicious treats.

AbaloneHermanus is also home to one of the largest Abalone / Perlemoen farms in the country, Heart of Abalone. Founded per chance through a home experiment to cultivate the abalone without destroying it in its natural habitat, this eco friendly company exports more than 1000 tonnes of abalone to Asia every year. Located in the new harbor, Heart of Abalone is a must visit. The tour will educate you on the truth behind the mother of pearl-shelled creature and allow you to taste it. There is also exquisite jewellery and trinkets to be bought.

Hermanus, once known as Hermanuspietersfontein, is filled with fabulous and exciting things to do, the highlights have only been mentioned above. It is unique in its existence, with a warm welcoming allure. Hermanus will definitely leave you with precious memories and perhaps a stunning piece of art…

Heaven on Earth – Knysna Country Hollow Estate

Stylish, sophisticated charm only 2km from the beautiful town of Knysna on the Garden Route. An estate of reverie becoming reality. Where every aspect of life is intricately woven into marvelous perfection. Knysna Country Hollow is heaven on earth personified. Attention to detail is in everything, including the outstanding service and immaculate grounds on which the estate is situated.

Knysna Country Hollow Estate has an air of unique supremacy when it comes to accommodation as a whole, the facilities will leave you awe-struck as the beauty of the estate continually does.

  • With three swimming pools set in indigenous gardens, they offer a poolside drinks service.
  • Laundry and dry-cleaning service
  • For mommies and daddies there are cots for hire and only the best Babysitting services to give you a rest.
  • Free bicycle washing and storage
  • 24 hour security
  • A full-size pentanque court with a boulle set
  • Epic giant chess board set in the middle of the gorgeous rose garden
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
  • Excursion bookings and answers to all the questions you may have
  • Very well stocked curio shop, selling uniquely branded clothing, local arts and crafts

Knysna Country Hollow has two fantastic restaurants on site, as well as a bar. The Knysna Hollow Restaurant offers mouthwatering a la carte seasonal fresh meals in a warm cozy setting. The Pecan Tea Grill Room concentrates more on Malay inspired dishes, which are tantalizingly flavorful. The Rutland Arms Pub has a well stocked bar, stocking the divine local beer – Mitchells, amongst other beverages. Sport is screened on satellite televisions and the Rutland Arms pub is the perfect gathering place.

The Knysna Country Hollow Estate has a 100-delegate strong fully equipped exquisite conference venue, with standard menus, which can be adjusted on request. There are airport shuttles available and secure on site parking. The estate is very well crafted for all ranges of functions, product launches, private parties , family birthdays, reunions and weddings.

Accommodation at The Knysna Country Hollow Estate is absolutely splendid, with 79 garden chalets and rooms. There are specifically 15 garden chalets all equipped with flat screen satellite televisions, wood burning fireplaces, safes, heated towel rails, bar fridges, hairdryers and telephones. The chalets are aesthetically pleasing open plan living with 7 of the chalets sporting walk in showers. There are 64 twin bed garden rooms equipped with ceiling fans, tea and coffee facilities, satellite television, hairdryers and covered patios. There are also the 8 superior eco estate rooms, which are on a quieter side of the estate. Decorated in Scandinavian styled greys and blues with hand made timber furniture in an open plan perfection, these rooms are breathtakingly superb. Each one equipped with super king size beds, double basins, walk in showers, separate toilets, air conditioning, Charlotte Rhys amenities, Nespresso coffee stations, in room digital safes, outdoor viewing decks, and cozy gowns and slippers.

Knysna Country Hollow Estate is truly a little piece of heaven, with everything you could ask for in one place, and so much more. If there is one place to visit to experience everything in one the Knysna Country Hollow Estate is definitely that place.

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Famous Long Street

Long Street, Cape Town. By day, the myriad bookshops and little corner cafes with their individually pleasing personalities are just as enticing as the night life Long Street has to offer. When the sun is high in the sky, there is the antique arcade with its tiny shops containing its trove of treasures; from books to fill the fantasies of every mind, to pocket watches, Scottish rabbit tail charms, large Indonesian Buddhas and even Victorian style costumes. There are coffee aromas filling the air as you walk down the street, dancing from every cafe inviting you to come and sample its specific perfections. There is eye candy everywhere your eyes look. Not a corner without a paragon, not a door without a tale or two to tell…

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Sun Setter Soul Gathering

Guided movement of many feet in mindful unison. Dancing into your own divinity, under the oranges, reds and yellows of the setting sun; or the silver gleaming rays of the full moon. It is magical guided meditation and dance events like these that Shift has brought to the Cape Town community. Believing that unity, love and world peace starts with the individual, they host events that promote spiritual awareness and oneness, through yoga, dance and meditation.
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Rigged out for coffee lovers

Cape Town is in itself rigged out for coffee lovers, it’s vast understanding of the coffee culture is as unique and diverse as the people who reside in the bosom of Table Mountain. There are, however, with the technological necessities of our fast paced lifestyle, certain coffee bars; hubs and quaint little shops that simply deliver the entire package imperative for a completely comfortable delicious experience. These perfect ‘coffices’ are listed below:
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Shopping in Cape Town

The mother city is known for being the mother of everything and shopping in this case is no stranger to this. Cape Town is home to some of the most incredible shopping experiences known to man. Not only is this city, which is known as one of the most beautiful cities on earth, home to the largest population of creatives, artists, and world famous designers but it is home to the worlds finest creations. Cape Town has your quaint shopping experiences hidden in places that you wouldn’t imagine these gems would find solace to the greatest shopping malls that have want for absolutely nothing and provide mind blowing experiences. Below is a list of the quaint shopping experiences to the markets to the large and in charge malls waiting to indulge your every shopping need and so much more.

Markets Shopping Experiences

Markets in Cape Town range from your all through the week Green Market Square which is situated in the CBD and has a collection of all African Curios as well as other little stalls with second hand books, jewellery and apparel, it is also home of the mother of the famous Bamboo scarf. Then you have your weekend markets like the Tokai Forest Market which is jam packed with awesomeness and open all day on a Sunday, the Milnerton Flea Market which has a huge collection of absolutely everything under the sun and probably things from outer space too.

Quaint Shopping Experiences

Quaint Shopping calls for the exclusive labels and the unheard of one of a kind, most probably hand made perfections found nowhere else in the world. Woodstock, Cape Town has become home to smaller shopping experiences which are housed in open planned modern styled exquisite buildings and each have their own mind blowing uniqueness. The Woodstock Exchange is the most well known of them all, containing phenomenal works from young and upcoming designers, as well as having some of the best crunchies and coffee available at divine coffee shops when you need that break to rest your shopping shoes. The Old Biscuit Mill is another which has a collection of incredibly beautiful shops that will keep you mesmerised for hours and perhaps leaving only after purchasing one of everything. The shops are situated around beautiful courtyards and The Old Biscuit Mill is also home to the award winning restaurant The Test Kitchen with the famous chef Luke Dale Roberts.

Large and in charge Shopping

Cape Town is home to two of the biggest and most incredible shopping centres, The very famous Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, which is home to the incredible Two Oceans Aquarium, as well as 90% of your designer brand shops, they also boast a large indoor market like setting which has stalls for Africa, containing every type of ware that you could think of. There is a delightful scratch patch, hundreds of phenomenal restaurants and so much to do that one could spend an entire day and not have seen or browsed through even a quarter of this beautiful centre. Then there is the epically exclusive high class Century City with its Canal Walk which prides itself on being the ‘Shop the World’ experience. Canal Walk is home to fine dining and every sort of shop and brand that you could ever imagine, the design of the entire area is an architectural dream come true and finds the cream of the crop shopping in its silver platter experience. Century City is also home to the Natural Goods and Art Market which is open every spring and is truly a divine experience in itself.