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2010 in review

WordPress sent me an interesting breakdown of my Blog stats in the last year. Considering I only started in May.
Thank WordPress-guys for giving me the tools to express my passions. Thank you fellow wine/food and music lovers for commenting.
If you keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

Cheers!

Werner

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,900 times in 2010. That’s about 14 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 59 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 275 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 25mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 9th with 503 views. The most popular post that day was Its Feedback Friday! – Spidey Edition.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were reddit.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, winetimes.co.za, and wine.co.za.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for http://www.wineontheblog, wine aroma wheel, prime circle jekyll and hyde, corked wine, and jack parow.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Its Feedback Friday! – Spidey Edition July 2010
14 comments

2

Feedback Friday – Bastille Edition July 2010
5 comments

3

Beer! Beer! Beer! June 2010
6 comments

4

Album Review: Prime Circle Jekyll & Hyde September 2010

5

My Sediments on Wine May 2010
5 comments

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I spent four days working at the Good Food and Wine Show in Durban. I am quite familiar with The Mercury Wine Week, and have visited Durban before, but have decided to see Durban as a Durbanite. Ground level, as one of the locals. Not as one of the tourists that lie on the beach day in and day out. Living in luxury and dining at gourmet foreign cuisine.
I want to see the people, the food and the culture.

The City:

Henry was effectionately known as Lambchops

Today Durban is South Africa’s busiest port, a popular tourist destination and the second largest city after Johannesburg. Founded in 1824 by merchants from the colony of Cape Town which was lead by Henry Francis Fynn. Henry who had reached an agreement with Shaka the king of the Zulus to establish a trading station, calling it Port Natal. In 1835 the town was named Durban the Cape Governor and colonial administrator, Sir Benjamin D’Urban.

The People:

Durban is a melting pot of different races and cultures. It has a large Indian community as well as Blacks Zulu’s and White European citizens.
The first Indians arrived in Durban on the Turo on the 16th of November 1860 many of which were indentured labourers to work in the sugar cane fields in Natal. Later Indian merchants followed and established themselves in the city. Making Durban the host the largest Indian population outside of India. settlers established a trading station at “Port Natal” in the early 18-hundreds and found the city of Durban.
The Zulu tribes migrated from the central Congo area from the early 16th century and established themselves in the Natal coast.

The Food: 

Miles and miles of Maas

The interesting thing is how the Indian spices got integrated into the food culture of Durban. Ordering a South African Farm breakfast? It comes served with Achar (a pickle made from different fruits and vegetables like mangos, limes and carrots and flavoured with Indian spices) Ordering from Nando’s? Even their mild spicy option is hot! Durban is the curry capital of South Africa but there are also plenty of African food to choose

Turkish delights

from, ranging from maize and meat stews.
I like to juge a city or town by what they stock in their supermarkets. For example. Port Elizabeth EVERYTHING is in bulk. If you want to buy bread the loaves are twice the size as in Cape Town. Rice comes in 10kg bags and so forth. In Durban they have an abundance of everything. Heaps of ham, aisles of Maas (fermented milk, and a traditional beverage for the black inhabitants of Natal) and mountains of vegetables.

My friend Wayne Milne from Take 2 Tours suggested that I should try a Durban Bunny Chow and I made my way over to the Golden Mile and ordered this dish at Pier 107.
A Bunny Chow called a Bunny in Durban (Bunny CHOW is a sure sign of being a tourist or a newbie) is a dish consisting of a hollowed out bread filled with curry. The client has a choice of size of his/her bunny being either a quarter, a half or a full bunny and filled with a curry of a choice, mutton, lamb, chicken or beef. So the experienced Bunny chower (pardon the pun) would order along the lines of “Quarter Mutton!” at the restaurant and the waiter will know exactly what he/she means.

Quarter Mutton

The secret to a good bunny is to make your curry with the best selected Indian spices. Hollow out the piece of bread and fill with the curry. The crust will act as a wall or bowl for your curry as well as soak up the sauce that can be eaten as you break off a piece and dip it in the curry.
Your bunny also comes with a virgin, which is the inside of the bread that was removed when hollowing the bread out. This is served as an aperitif before tuck into your main course.
Gourmet Bunnies are served with sambals or condiments, chutney, onion and tomato salsa or grated carrots.
The is a bit of a dispute as to the origin of the Bunny since there is a school of thought that believes that it was the Durban caddies on the local golf course that wanted their friends to bring them a take away curry. The only bowls that they could get was a hollowed out bread. Another theory is that a restaurant owners, the Banias, served the locals a curry and without having the necessary containers served it in the hollowed out bread. Other theories also exist but these are the two that I liked the most.
It’s a messy affair to eat a bunny but it is worth every messy second of it.

Transport:

I wanted to explore Durban from the metro point of view. I decided to rely on bus as my mode of transport in the city. Durban has a bus service called the People Mover and is a service that runs on a specific route and has numerous stops throughout the city. 200 meters from the establishment that I was staying at was a bus stop. A one way trip will cost you R4.00 or if you want a full day pass you buy a R10.00 ticket. The People Mover is safe, reliable and have friendly service. A couple of trips on the bus around Durban I started to find my way easy, as Durban is a network of one way streets. There is a selection of taxi’s at most corners that would take you to your destination.

Basically Durban is a wonderful holiday destination offering great warm weather (even when there is a thunderstorm outside)
I would love to return again as a tourist enjoying the scenery and the warm Indian Ocean.

But alas, it is back to work… I can really do with a curry on the beachfront right about now…

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I was supposed to be post a blog yesterday, but was tied down with some wine deliveries in Cape Town. So I thought that I might as well use this opportunity to do a photo blog!

So I filled my travel mug with some fresh Mojo and planted my Ipod in my ears with AC/DC, Gerald Clark, Foo Fighters and Albert Frost. (nothing like Rock and Blues for a road trip!)

Now I need a big tub of Fresh Cream

I set my course along the Annandale Road to the N2 past the Zetler Strawberry farms. Thanks to these guys they have kept us supplied with fresh strawberries and living in the winelands we also have a non-stop supply of bubbly or wine… That is why I love living in the winelands. So much diversity. All we need now is some dairy farms to give us some cream… and let the romance begin!

REALLY FRESH burgers and milk

Soon my little cows… real soon…

Hitting the N2, I was whisked back to my tour guide days, where tourists would ask me about the shanty towns known as Khayelitsha, Langa and Gugulethu. It always suprising to see how so many people can live in utter poverty while others drive luxury sedans and live the high live… I find myself in the middle.

Click on the picture to see faith

It also reminds me of that Phil Collins song, “Another Day In Paradise“. Think twice when you sleep warmly in YOUR bed.
One of my (less) favourite land marks are the two coal electricity towers close to Athlone, weren’t this in the news lately to be demolished? I can’t seem to remember.

What was that 2nd book of Lord of the Rings called again?

Going through Rondebosch, there are some great sites like the University of Cape Town, legendary institution of  higher learning, young students… and a windmill…

Ahh the Dutch

When the Dutch arrived in the Cape in 1652 there was very little infrastructure and it was the task of van Riebeeck to build a fort for the protection of his people as well as to plant gardens to supply Dutch ships calling at the Cape with fresh produce. The gardens were a mammoth task and soon van Riebeeck found that he needed labour to work in them. The VOC (Dutch East India Company) introduced slaves into the Cape to work in the gardens. Even with these additional people the refreshment station could not cope with the demand and so the VOC allowed staff members who had completed their contracts to stay on at the Cape and gave them farms so that they could produce food for the colony. These ex employees became known as free burghers.
Over the years the free burghers branched out and planted different crops amongst them wheat. As the supply of wheat grew so did the demand for wheat products necessitating the building of mills to crush the wheat for flour.

Driving through Constantia is always nice albeit a bit depressing knowing that I will never be able to live in this neck of the woods. Thus, I got great pleasure sitting in the bakkie listening to Jack Parow’sCooler as ekke?” at full volume, while I’m skeefing out the woman next to me driving her Mercedes-Benz Kompressor.

Dink JYS cooler as ekke?

Anyway, delivered wine at destination #1, so next stop Cape Town, The Mother City herself!

Welcome!

I love Cape Town and the cool thing is that I live close enough to go visit, but far enough to enjoy the quieter country life.
Wine delivery #2 was successful and by now have worked up a mighty hunger.
I asked Spit or Swallow what would be a good suggestion for lunch. They recommended me to the Shawarma Express in Long Street. Brilliant! I love Shawarmas.
“Get in MAH belly!

Nom-Nom-Nom!

I must admit, for a major city Cape Town is not quite hyped up about the World Cup as what I heard from what is happening in Johannesburg and the surrounding areas, but yet you see a lot of flags, and vuvuzelas (Yes foreigners, get used to it. It is here to stay!) and the GEES is HERE, you can feel it as you walk down the streets of Cape Town, which networks through the city like lit up neutrons.

Lekker Long Street

Right, quick stop in Table View, then back to the farm. I need some on road inspiration, via…

Foo/DC/Albert/Clark

Rock on!

Some good eating on one of those...

Driving into the farm, I am reminded that I live in a great country, with all its colours and diversity. Yes, we have our difficulties, but damn it’s a wonderful country to live in. I love it and so should you…

Go South Africa!

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Over the past couple of beers years, the Nymph and I became very well acquainted with Jack Black Beer. It was served on tap at the local watering hole,

Queue Hallelujah music...

The Elephant and Barrel Pub, in the Food and Wine Capital of South Africa, Franschhoek. After having similar micro-brewed offerings via Dieu Donne Winery/Restaurant cum Microbrewery and the late Birkenhead Beer on tap at Primi Piatti, regular beer did not quite do it for me anymore. Thus, I have decided to get some of the troops together for a Blind Microbrewery Beer Tasting!          

Quickly a taskforce was assembled which included the Nebbiolo Nymph, her parentals, Norman and Eppie, flat mate Kevin and Filip Sundström (most voted to become an Bond villain)  

The Team

Beers where bought, snacks were arranged and glasses were hired for our very, very “technical” tasting. Since all of us is very much involved in the food and wine industry, we did not quite know how to approach the method of beer tasting, so we stayed to the format that were quite familiar to us all, a wine tasting sheet.      

Beery Goodness

The aim of the evening was not to see who makes the best beer, since none of us are beer connoisseurs, but rather to taste the difference in the five beers that I have selected.      

  • Jack Black Premium Lager: Non-beer drinker Eppie’s consensus was that the beer was light and refreshing. Wonderful for hot summer days. The beer had a good head and consistent bubbles.
  • Mitchell’s Foresters Draft: The Nymph’s comment; “FAB!!” Butterscotch, caramel and vanilla. Lingering finish of yeastiness and caramel.
  • Birkenhead Premium Lager: Food and wine writer, Norman said that the beer had a pale honey-yellow colour with needle point bubbles. Crisp yeasty nose with nutty undertones and a broad palate with nutty flavours that linger. (Good to have a pro at the table)
  • Birkenhead Honey Blond Ale: Chef Kev said the beer was pale-gold with a sweet, malty, nutty nose and a slight honey-like palate. Very easy drinking. 
  • Mitchell’s Milk and Honey: Bond Villain Filip, notes said that the beer was very appeasing; with a pleasant honey nose but the long bitterness that eliminates all the other characteristics.

Local is lekker my brew!

The final conclusion was that Microbrewed beer were much better than the conventional mass-produced beer that is readily available to the consumer. The beers we tasted were fuller in flavour and had more of a pleasant lingering aftertaste. The fact that the Mitchell’s beer was bottled in 1 litre plastic bottles, straight from the keg, was my only dissapointment. This gave a significant handicap against the bottled Jack Black and Birkenhead and made it taste flat in comparison. I have drank the Mitchell’s at the V&A Waterfront on Monday and fell absolutely in love with it.

My progressively bad handwriting

 

After this, we all kicked back and had a good old fashioned South African KAKpraat. Topics like political history, wine writers, FHM models and ostrich burgers flowed like a pint of the good stuff…

Wish you were BEER!

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Over the weekend we had to entertain eight wine bloggers, who arrived for lunch and a wine tasting at the farm on which I work. I wished that I could sit in at the conversation and see what I can learn from these seasoned bloggers who have already established a good following of readers. Alas, I was busy conducting winetastings for eager clients waiting to try and buy our produce.
This is not necessarily what I want to write about.

More importantly was the rugby between the Blue Bulls and the Stormers, which was the kick-off to the big belated birthday bash for myself and fellow wine friend, The Nebbiolo Nymph, at Primi Piatti, Somerset West. The kick-off started at 17:00 and at 17:15 I sprinted like Bryan Habana out of the door and burned my Volkswagen Chico at 140km/h through the Helderberg. Arriving at Primi, I hurriedly ordered a Birkenhead Lager just to calm my nerves.  

Birkenhead beer is produced on the Birkenhead Estate, just outside Stanford near the Klein Rivier Mountains. The lager is a malty beer that is lightly hopped and is slightly sweeter and reminds of honey, dark wood, caramel with a faint herbaceous hint of buchu.

In other words: Heavenly Goodness. Benjamin Franklin was definitely on to something by quoting “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” All this is of course topped off with the Stormers beating the Bulls 38 – 10. Okay, maybe it was the Bulls B team, but as my flat mate, an avid Bulls supporter once told me “A wins a win, buddy” This I smeared in his face with a huge amount of gloating.
Soon after the rugby the whole party arrived and the Merry Making was kicked into full gear. Pizzas and burgers was the order of the day and even non-meat eaters were seen wolfing down a seared rump bruchetta. (?) It seems to be THAT good.
Somewhere a mysterious bottle of Tukulu Chenin Blanc 2009 appeared and The Nymph and myself engaged into Wine-Mode and quickly grabbed a taste. It was my comment that the wine reminds me of nails on a blackboard… on my tongue! The pallets were soon cleared with copious amount of Birkenhead. I was surprised to find, after doing some research later, that the Chenin in questions was awarded  3 1/2 stars in a certain wine guide and notes that the wine has an intense, succulent fruited character… I think not. I will have to retaste the wine in a “controlled” environment to reassess the rating of the wine.
The sad news is that I was informed that Primi, due to franchising conditions, will no longer serve the Birkenhead beer, since they are supposed to sell Peroni. Now, Peroni is a good beer but come on guys! Let’s supports our local beer producing boys like Jack Black and Mitchell’s Beer. Also it has been decided that we will conduct a blind beer tasting in the near future. Not necessarily to find out who is the best local producer but rather to explore the characteristics that make every microbrewery unique. Bring on the Beer-Belly!

All in all we had a great evening at Primi and we would like to thank Esmé and her staff to make our evening a great success and making me particularly useless the following morning.

Primi Piatti Somerset West

Tel: +27 21 850 0029

http://www.primi-piatti.com

Here is the contact details for The Birkenhead Estate. Definately a place I would like to visit on a roadtrip next time we head off towards Hermanus.

Birkenhead Estate
Tel: +27 28 341 0183
http://www.birkenhead.co.za

  

  

  

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