celebrate life!

Eikendal = Elegance

What do the late billionaire, Dr Anton Rupert, and the rugby legend, Jan Boland Coetzee, have in common?

They both played a role in the Saager family’s acquisition of the Stellenbosch wine farm Eikendal.

This interesting bit is shared, amongst other facts, by the passionate cellar master of Eikendal wine farm, Nico Grobler. His philosophy is that a wine’s profile is built in the vineyard. It is all about viticulture. And Nico has walked a journey with all the wines in Eikendal’s vineyards for the past eleven years.

Carla, Nico & Peter (NGF)

The Eikendal wines were complemented by the divine degustation menu, recently tasted at The Codfather, Sandton – in collaboration with Norman Goodfellows distinct liquor merchants.

Crusted beef fillet  IMG_1834

My personal favourite wine is the Eikendal Pinotage – which perfume, heady with red fruit, shows where it was grown: a non-irrigated vineyard. The Chardonnay is Nico’s favourite – masculine elegance from bush vines with a low yield. The Cabernet Sauvignon is also noteworthy for its Helderberg terroir – noticeable in the seaweed, long structure and fine tannins. It should last 10 – 15 years!

Seared kingklip & crayfish samoosa  Black pepper short bread and lemon posset

Freshness, elegance and finesse describe Eikendal’s wines best. These quality wines created by Nico Grobler are refreshingly affordable.

And that is a bonus for South African wine lovers.


Panda – A crafty Asian eatery indeed

The graduating class at the Swiss Hotel School, South Africa, hosts a yearly pop-up restaurant. The theme for 2017 was Panda – a craft Asian eatery.

IMG_1918 IMG_1917

With a little bit of trepidation we stepped over the threshold – where we have had tasted some mediocre dishes in the past. We were welcomed with much more warmth one would expect from the Far East, and were seated in the Asian inspired restaurant. We were impressed with the Asian influence on the menu: Peking duck; Dim Sum; Gao Bao; Udon noodles; Matcha ice cream and Asian beer and cocktails too.

Panda Etery  Panda Eatery

In short, all our mediocre expectations were exceeded.

Panda Eatery


The dishes were on par in both taste and presentation with winning dishes sampled in top restaurants. Our only regret is that we both have eaten starters and a main course, and hence could only share a dessert – which was the highlight of the evening!

Have you ever heard of ‘Edible water served with bowtie crumb and rose petals’ ? More divine than water from heaven…


Thank you for five star service; an authentic atmosphere and the professional execution of the Asian inspired menu.

Iron Maidens

A group of ‘iron’ women meets three times a week to exercise together – bootcamp style.

Tea is served at times too… But with a healthy twist.

Kamp Staalwol

Michelle Staal (her surname if translated into English, means “Steel”), is the co-founder of Kamp Staalwol, which translates in “camp steel wool” in English. And indeed one needs to be an irone maiden to keep up with Michelle. As a medical doctor and extreme sport enthusiast, she encourages women of all ages to join in and exercise in her terraced garden with ready available props: milk bottles filled with cement or water; used car tyres; boxing gloves; medicine balls; yoga mats and one’s own body weight.

Kamp Staalwol  Kamp Staalwol

And on a regular occasion, the adjoining gate to Melville Hills is opened and the iron maidens are set free to traverse the heights of Melville – running trail runs with a view over Johannesburg. Every semester, following a rigorous exercise session, life and birthdays are celebrated with tea and cake and a good chat.

But there is much more to camp steel wool, than what meets the eye.

This sisterhood forms a tight network of support amidst the fast paced city life.

They share failures and disappointments, love and celebrations. On a practical note they show their support like families used to do: If a member is ill – cooked dinners are organised to be dropped off; if cancer is diagnosed – the trees lining her street are wrapped in pink; if someone needs a lift/ entry to an event/ like on a social media page, it happens.

Michelle Staal’s sisterhood has developed into an exercise regime with a resourceful soul. These iron maidens are all women with real hearts.

Kamp Staalwol  Kamp Staalwol



Vonni Romano

My friend Vonni Romano’s passion for travelling and cooking led her to Cyprus many moons ago.

There she knocked on the Tourism office’s door to enquire about a good local cook that could teach her some authentic local recipes. This she brought back with her to South Africa to teach at her (then) newly found Mediterranean Villa in Cape Town.

And so her love affair with cooking and travelling took off. Many countries, recipes and cookery classes later, she was also involved with the development of the Greek menu at Maria’s Greek Café & Restaurant in Cape Town.

Published Foodie

Vonni has recently been invited to participate in two recipe books:

Yvonne Romano     Yvonne Romano

This latter book features approximately 115 recipes from the best chefs, cooks and food heroes in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Great Britain.The books aims to raise significant funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s food security initiative.

So now Vonni’s cooking heritage is featured alongside the likes of Jamie Oliver, Lorraine Pascale, Michel Roux and Nigel Slater!

Well done Vonni!

vonni5    Yvonne Romano




Why blend French champagne with designer interiors?

Mixing French champagne with designer interiors led to the creation of a luxury lifestyle event.

Recently French champagne house, or rather maison, G.H. Mumm, collaborated with fine wine and spirits merchants Norman Goodfellows at Block & Chisel Interiors in Illovo, Johannesburg for an evening with a good dosage of style.

Joburg’s darlings crossed the red carpet to enter a world of charm where Norman Goodfellows introduced its luxurious range of gift packs for the festive season.

#GHMumm   Nougat 1701

The Block & Chisel store’s beautiful settings were maximised to display various premium brands with matching décor:

  • The star of the show was French champagne G.H.Mumm, served alongside plush red velvet sofas to match the famous red ribbon adorned champagne bottles
  • In befitting style, regal Martell cognac was displayed in a symphony of royal blue, with scented navy candles offset by linen sofas
  • The pistachio green florals of Perrier-Jouët Champagne were repeated in a green Savoy sofa – on par with the current foliage décor trend
  • Reclaimed wood, copper and a beautiful black hand crafted desk set the scene for The Glenlivet single malt
  • The 25-year-old iconic Chivas Regal whisky was served with distinction on a distressed oak table with a double shot of heritage and artisanal craftsmanship from Block & Chisel

Perrier Jouët champagne   Absolut Elyx

Guests were further treated to hand crafted 1701 Nougat as well as a prestige Pernod Ricard cocktail menu – which included the spirits Absolute Elyx, Martell cognac and Beefeater gin. Sushi, macarons and other de luxe eats were skilfully added to the luxurious blend.

1701 Nougat   Perrier Jouët

The evening was indeed the coming together of bespoke gifting, French champagne and magnificent interiors.

Lux Gifts   Andrew McKenzie

Besides the surname Snyman, these ‘sisters’ share a passion for women with passion

Women of Passion is created by women for women and represents all women who are unapologetically bold, on fire and passionate about everything they do.

This initiative of sisters-in-law Clerissa Snyman and Stephanie Snyman, hopes to: “Inspire, empower and promote women with great minds and even greater ideas”.

At their recent launch event at Standard Bank Incubator, Rosebank, Johannesburg, like minded women were treated to knowledgeable speakers on skincare, beauty, wine and fitness. A host of stalls offered an opportunity to shop from female entrepreneurs for vitamins, crafty kaftans, biltong, bright accessories and treatments. After the practical talks, everyone networked whilst tasting healthy eats and sipping on unusual wine based drinks, including shiraz slushy and merlot ice cream!

With the water for #WomenofPassion tested, we can only watch and wait for these soul sisters’ next event!

Missy Make Up Demo on Bold Lips    Bright shopping items Sonette Donker from SkinId   Chairs awaiting Wone of Passion to be inspired...   Sharon from Odd Wine Out   Delicious Eats#SBIncubator   #SBIncubator

Come taste Spring in the new dishes & drinks at Belle’s Patisserie

Belle’s Patisserie recently launched their Spring menu.

Belle’s is synonymous with heavenly sweet temptations. However, besides gateaux and pastries, the new, fresh Spring menu is peppered with healthy and inviting dishes. Owner Linda Lipschitz and head chef Vixa, revisited Belle’s French roots and introduced a new season with fresh dishes. The menu is now more succinct with sexy and sassy plates, boards and bowls.

And for drinks one could enjoy iced tea, cordials, sodas and freshly squeezed juice. Or opt for the  Belle’s High Tea, perhaps with a Campona (espresso with whipped cream) or a pot of freshly brewed tea.

Salmon carpaccio

From the new menu…

I savoured some fresh sushi, spicy salmon and creamy risotto. The spicy sashimi salad impressed; the sushi was fresh and the smoked salmon carpaccio was dotted with bright dots of pickled beetroot and toasted pine nuts. The star of the lunch was the risotto with asparagus cuts, mushrooms, goats cheese and truffle oil. This dish displayed depth, flavour and skill and made me long for more!

The allure of a fresh, healthy dish followed by something sweet is tempting…

I would love to return to Belle’s for more …




Discovering Fresh, New & Handmade Contemporary Drinks

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The annual Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair (HMC) is all about design.

The opening night revealed artisanal food, a poetry performance, fashion with a foliage theme and plenty crafted drinks.

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Well celebrated MCC from both Graham Beck and Pierre Jourdan cellars were poured; Hope on Hopkins and Inverroche represented contemporary gin respectfully; several fine wines were available and Sxollie Cider added zest.

Noticeably the 2016 HMC event introduced some fresh, new talent:

hmc8   hmc9r

Jorgensen’s Distillery

Mr “Ginsmith” has an impressive array of crafted spirits, including a white whiskey with a hop aroma brewed from IPA; an unaged brandy; pepper gin; vodka and vermouth! Look out for the Jorgensen’s range with aptly labels e.g. Moonshine pisco and Field of Dreams absinthe.

hmc12    hmc11

Valdo Prosecco

Designer labels are released yearly for each Italian special edition at the Milan fashion week. The 2016 Rosé floral edition’s bottle is dressed in bright blooms. Rosé rules!

Time Anchor Distillery

With a choice of gin, tonic and garnish, “Build a G&T” quickly became fashionable. Pure alchemy with ginger, rosemary or rosewater added to the finest Indian tonic water and artisan gin.


Kuhestan Cordial

Organic berries, elderflower and fruit from Magoesbaskloof translate into preservative free, flavoursome drinks. Persian of origin, this family crafts their produce on traditional recipes. Ideal for a refreshing drink.


Alter Schwede Herb Liqueur

German in origin, but produced in the Cape by the Blomendahl family, this liqueur is “echt lecker”, especially when served with gin.


The HMC is the perfect platform where city dwellers can congregate and experience new tastes, sounds, aromas, textures and visuals. And this includes designer dishes and drinks.


PRADA, DOLCE & GABBANA, GUCCI, JIMMY CHOO, BURBERRY, GIORGIO ARMANI, VERSACE and other luxury brands saluted guests at Sandton City and Sunday Times #THEEDIT #COMETOTHECITY event on Thursday 29 September.

Fashionista & a falcon
Fashionista & a falcon

Fashion and a falcon took centre stage at the Diamond Walk with Sandtonistas sipping champagne and nibbling sushi whilst being welcomed by Aspasia Karras. Giorgio Armani’s sales executives were introducing Armani Black with gloved hands, where the colours grey, blue and pomegranate were complementing the black designs.

Giorgio Armani   Armani

With only one garment per size and style, one is assured of a glamourous, unique look from Gucci, with a large selection of dazzling bags and shoes to add on. Versace’s magnificent marble floor mirrors a circular design in Donatella’s home, and the organic walls houses adorable designer children’s items too.

Versace    Jimmy Choo

Impressive and known for their killer heels, Jimmy Choo introduced a new, classic line with reinforced heels. The fragrances are sassy, and on my ‘top 5’ perfume list. Prada launched their 2016 Fall Winter collection amongst trays of tasty canapés, whisky and champagne – all served in style by men in designer suits.

Prada guests  Prada

My absolute favourite store on the Diamond Walk is Dolce & Gabanna , and with host Alex, one is assured of a well tailored tour of the burgundy clad store. Turkish marble, damask and velvet emphasize the collections of designer fashion. A black first line dress with tulips embroidered by hand, spells the quality and tradition of their designs. One is surprised by touches of bright green palm leaf, deep purple and saffron yellow.

Dolce&Gabbana  Fashion on show

It was late when I untied my satin armband that gave me access to the exclusive reader event.

As promised, it was indeed the party of my fashion dreams.

It was a good night!  Designer Eats  Designer Drinks   Sushi and bites

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