On our way back to Joburg after an awesome holiday in the Cape, we chose Murraysburg as our overnight stop. For no particular reason other than wanting to try something different than the usual Beaufort West or Colesberg guesthouses.

As we drove into Murraysburg, my wife commented “maybe everyone is at a church bazaar or something” because we didn’t see a single person or car as we drove through the streets of this little town. Upon arrival at our accommodation for the night, No. 8 Church Street guesthouse, we asked our hostess, Erika, if things are always this quiet to which she responded “today is busy, 3 cars have driven by since you’ve arrived!”

When I made the booking, I arranged for us to have dinner at the guesthouse but given our experience thus far of this humble little dorpie and the fact that there were only 4 guests for the evening, we didn’t expect much more than a simple home cooked meal served in enamel plates with a cup of Recoffy after dinner.

We were seated in the bright red dining room and then Erika started to serve our 3 course meal. 
Butternut and Sage Risotto for starters. 
Stuffed chicken breasts, potato rosti and grilled zucchini for mains. 
Ice cream and homemade butterscotch sauce for dessert finished off by an espresso. 

Huh? I had to ask. 
Turns out Erika is a chef who decided to open a guesthouse (No. 8 Church Steet) & restaurant (Ate Eatery) in Murraysburg.
And all the main ingredients were local produce, either from local farms or from the dominee’s vegetable garden across the road. No really.

Erika also told me about cooking courses that they offer called Karoo Cuisine. There are different options but in short you stay on a 4 star guest farm for a couple of days spending the mornings cooking and learning and the afternoons relaxing on the farm and then being treated to a farm feast every evening. Sounds flippen amazing.


In December I was invited to attend the launch of Lay’s new range of kettle cooked chips.
I noticed the new Lay’s Deli range in the shops before and picked up a few bags full. I love kettle cooked chips so it wasn’t hard to win me over. They’re delicious.

Back to the event, we were treated to oysters & champagne, Mangwanani spa massages, live entertainment among other things. 
The launch was held at Urban Tree in Kramerville, a very cool venue in an industrial area. It has a stunning roof terrace overlooking the Sandton skyline.

Here are some pics of the evening:


I was invited by Brandhouse to join them at the Whisky Live festival to experience their Whisky Sensorium.
I am by no means a whisky expert, in fact I know/knew very little about it. I am more of a brandy drinker. 
So I decided it was about time to enter the world of whisky.

The Sensorium was divided into 4 “worlds” of flavours and the whiskies obviously categorised accordingly. 
Fresh. Rich. Vibrant. Bold.
For the amateur (me) this was very helpful to get a good overview of the different whisky styles and to figure out which whiskies fits where.
Another thing I enjoyed about how they presented their whiskies was the fact that they paired the blended whisky with the leading single malt of that blend. Let me explain, you’d taste the Johnnie Walker Black Label and then taste the Caol Ila single malt which is the lead whisky in the Black Label blend.
Similarly the Johnnie Walker Red label’s leading whisky is Talisker, the leading whisky of Bell’s Special Reserve is Singleton. 
So if you enjoy the popular whisky blends but want to move into the world of single malts then a good place to start is to find out what the lead whisky is in your favourite blend.

A few other random whisky facts:
  • Unlike wine & brandy, you are advised to add a bit of water
  • Bells Special reserve is the best value for money whisky blend (so I was told but I now agree)
  • White Horse is actually a great whisky (contrary to popular belief and what the branding suggests)
  • Whisky is the result of the distillation of base beer
  • The year on a bottle of whisky indicates the youngest barrel that went into that bottle

Hieronymus Brunschwig, 15th century doctor and distiller on making whisky from beer: It is “the separation of the gross from the subtle and the subtle from the gross…to make the spiritual lighter by its subtlety”