Ever felt like Alice in Winederland?

Wine is surely one of the most common denominators apart from oxygen when you think about being social and spending time with friends.  Come to think of it, the whole food and beverage industry rapidly erupted in NOT JUST food and wine, but age old institutions that are bringing forward hundreds of years of tradition in their wine and for some, they are experimenting with new techniques and products.  Standing back, you do realise that this is truly something beauteous that is happening.  Even the better part, we are living in a time where we are able to enjoy the pendulum of this, where tradition and innovation meets occasionally and we are the “Alices” in  wine wonderland.

The City of Tshwane was home this weekend to the SPAR at TOPS Winederland Show in collaboration with the Pretoria News, at Menlyn Shopping Centre here in Pretoria and man, did they pull out all the stops.  This was no ‘run of the mill’ wine show, this was most probably one of the best wine shows I experienced this year.  Their processing systems for guests were smooth, the setting was aesthetically pleasing and the vibe was electric.  Arriving at the central square of the new Menlyn Mall, my senses were invaded with energy, sound and light.  Being a VIP guest, I received my wristband and proceeded to get my glass and goodie bag.  This was going to be utterly pristine!

First stop, the Lindt stall.  Yes, the chocolate stall.  They had amazing pairings on offer, all their sultry chocolate from caramel goodness to salty and citrus were paired with premium wines.  My favourite? Their smooth citrus chocolate with the Rust and Vrede Viognier, Shiraz and Grenache.  It was beautiful!  I then proceeded to what the rest of the evening and this Winederland had to offer.  Wine estates were there in full force.  Delheim, KWV, Durbanville Hills, Hermanuspietersfontein, Arniston Bay, Van Loveren, JC Le Roux, lots of other great wineries and off course some French Champagne from the Tops stall to top things off.  A lovely Champagne, Brut from Pierre Mignon was ever so appropriate. Oh and don’t forget Wilderer Gin, love them.

The VIP lounge was to my disposal and I did make use of it.  Was I impressed? It didn’t score points for me as the food was left in the open and obviously their dough offerings were hard and tough to work through, but the whole “VIP LOUNGE” in itself, is a good thing, makes one feel special.  Did I buy wine that evening? Yes.  Did I have an awesome time? Yes.  Did I do a lot of networking? Yes.  Did I learn a few new things about my favourite thing (wine for those who did not know by now)? Absolutely!  Tasting wine is one thing, but being open to learn and experience really gives shows like the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show credibility as an event that truly offer it’s patrons more than just a wine tasting.  It’s a true wine wonderland or #Winederland, that would make even Alice sorry that she missed it.  Thank you Spar and The Pretoria News for an outstanding event.  Cheers!  

PS. The name Alice don’t suit me very well….. 🙂

 

Choco-holic? Check out Chocolat et Café!

Personally I’m not one with a sweet tooth, but appreciate a good sweet or treat here and there.  Here in the capital of South Africa, you have plenty of options to satisfy the sugar craving if and when it hits, you just need to know where to look.  O yes, make sure that they have the good stuff.

The world of Chocolate in Pretoria is not a well known one in my opinion and the question lingers; “Where do Chocoholics go to get their fix?”.  The past weekend, I stumbled upon a little place hidden away like a pirate’s treasure and I was fortunate enough to find it.  Chocolat et Café is literally the sweet spot, located in the new trendy, up and coming Hazelwood Food Village in Pretoria.  Nestled between Culture Club Bar de Tapas and Alfies you go deeper where you are greeted by a refreshing space with Turqoise umbrellas, tables and chairs.  Quaint and pettite.  Obviously, the nosey person I am, a needed to take an up close look inside and was amazed by the amount of decadence this small space held.

Chunky Chocolate Brownies, Caramel Cheese Cake, Carrot Cake, Macaroons, Chocolate Toffees, Truffles that looks exquisite and of course slabs of chocolate in every variety, colour and fragrance (yes, I smelled them) you can get.  This is truly a HAVE TO, to any self proclaimed chocoholic.  Did I mention the coffee in a sugar cone?  Strange, but I have to go back to try it.  A second question popped: “Why don’t we know of all of these little treasures?”.  I arrived at a simple answer… routine dining.  Exploring a bit, hunting the treasure and when someone talks about something special they experienced, listen.  Luckily word of mouth did it’s thing and I walked away happy, over-chocced (is there such a word?) and telling my posé all about this little treasure called Chocolat et Café in Waterkloof, Pretoria. Go! Now!