|Cheers from Mossel Bay!|
|Hopped off the bus in Camps Bay |
to enjoy a glass of wine at Zenzero
Things to see and do in Cape Town: In the next few days we took the Hop-on, Hop-Off tour bus which allowed us to learn about the entire city and spend time at places we wanted to explore a bit more. We saw all the government buildings including the Houses of Parliament where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after his release from prison, the church where Desmond Tutu was archbishop, the wonderful Kirstenbosch botanical gardens and the Constantia wine producing area.
|Neil Grant of Burrata|
|Visiting with the elephants in Knysna|
|The thatched huts at the game lodge|
|La Carbonne's Winemaker Hardus Van Heerden|
Enjoying a braai with locals: Upon returning to Cape Town we had the fun experience of a braai at Denis Garret's spot in Woodstock, just outside of The Old Biscuit Mill . Denis Garret is a wine consultant and sommelier serving as an ambassador for Champagnes and Cognac in South Africa. Denis hosted us at a friend's house where we had wonderful conversation, home cooked food (the grilled pork belly was yummy), superb wine which included a 1981 magnum of Nederburg Edelrood. That wine had held up wonderfully and was quite a special wine to share that night. Denis is very optimistic about the future of South Africa's wine and culinary scene and provides educational and consulting services to promote the wines of the Western Cape. He's also an excellent host who knows A LOT about wine, a good friend to have!
University of Stellenbosch. The next day we took the Metro train to Stellenbosch where we visited with Dr. Wessel du Toit who teaches enology at the University of Stellenbosch. The university is the epicenter for enology and viticulture studies and research in all of Africa. It was quite interesting to learn about the wine industry and about enological research from a well respected professor in the winemaking field. Having lunch with Professor du Toit allowed us to find out about the students involved in the program, the connections with the wine industry and about some of the research projects the university is undertaking.
It's All About the People: As always, the people are the most important component of any trip I take, and everyone in South Africa was extremely friendly and approachable. From wine folks who took us under their wing to commuters on the train who offered up stories of day-to-day life, through to the street vendors we dealt with, all the South Africans were excellent ambassadors for their country. South Africa does have their share of challenges to deal with, just as every country does. We were pleasantly surprised by everything in South Africa, and would go back in a heartbeat--if only the getting there part wasn't so exhausting. If you are interested in visiting South Africa I give it two thumbs up--way up.