Eish!!: SA Blog Awards 2009 - Best Food and Wine Blog Review

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SA Blog Awards 2009 - Best Food and Wine Blog Review

This category is one I look forward to every year. Although I obviously cannot test out the legitimacy of all the recipes, browsing through the finalists I always find a few I would like to try. That combined with the natural interest in liquid beverages...

Best Food and Wine Blog

[Blogs written primarily about food or drink.]

  • www.cooksister.com : Last year's winner (in two categories) is back. Seamlessly interspersing personal and food related posts, the easy going writing style in posts just the right length make this another strong contender this year. Written by a South African residing in London there is an eclectic mix recipes. In fact, I am extremely tempted to try out the latest recipe for my visitors this weekend. The design and layout of this blog hasn't changed much if at all since last year (Not that I'm one to talk) so as good as the content may and the food may taste be it does have a slighly dated feel to it.
  • thecru.co.za : Written by Brendon Shaw, a guy who's passion for wine shines through his writing. Beautiful pictures of food and the wine country are included but it's the wine and wine estate reviews that set this blog apart from the crowd. Reading through the last couple of months worth of posts, I have already learnt alot about the local (Cape) cultivars and even discovered some estates. Next time I need to stock up on some wine I will be making a stop here so I can make some educated purchases. The design is classic 2009 blog styling. It's clean, easily navigated and the posts neatly categorised and there's some quality links in the side panel.
  • 4cousins.blat.co.za : A quirky outlet for the marketers of a quirky wine, Four Cousins. Although all the posts essentially center around wine, they are not necessarily only about the wine being marketed. There are tips and ideas for serving wines, recipes, pairing advise and general information that a newbie can use to feel like they know just enough not to be belittled by the wine elite.

  • my-easy-cooking.com : Nina Timm is a stay-at-home mom, wife, want-to-be chef and caterer. Her recipes are inherently South African and decidedly pratical. Well within the reach of the 'amateur' cook her recipes are presented in a way that feels exciting but attainable. A blogger.com blog I can't help but think template could do with a little upgrade, a little chic understated template redesign would up the ante both nationally and internationally.

  • whatsforsupper-juno.blogspot.com : AKA Scrumptious Blog, another blog using the blogger platform that has made into the finals. Written under the pseudonym 'Juno' by a 'shy' freelance writer and food obsessor, this blog is all about food and recipes. The recipes presented range from things you expect to see at an international class restaurant to Granadilla cake made with Coca-Cola. What is most evident in the posts is the amount of effort that goes into each entry. There are back stories, tips and/or a bowl full of information on the ingredients preceding each recipe. This one is most definitely for the enthusiasts.
  • blog.winecountry.co.za : Henré, aka 'the Plank', has created an awesome portal for all things wine in and around Paarl and Cape Winelands. The classy design effortlessly aggregates the information available to the reader. I was immediately drawn into clicking myself far into the depths of this site. I was relieved to learn that there are multiple contributors as this blog has wine, food, tasting and event reviews, recipes and even videos ... and there are Afrikaans articles nogal! An awesome resource and worldclass window into the Cape Winelands

  • foodblogs.24.com/tonguetickle : Great, simple, resourceful and practical recipes abound at Tongue Tickle. If it weren't for the lack of freedom of expression granted in terms of design by 24.com blogs this could well have been my favourite foodie blog. The tiny 'banner' that get's lost under the food24blogs header minimises if not completely obliterates any chance of the author creating any sort of branding opportunities. I would also like to read a little more background to tge recipes presented. Despite this Tickle has managed to pull in a pretty neat community, I would be intrigued to see how this could be translated in to the greater web-o-sphere.
  • blogs.thetimes.co.za/pendock : Neil Pendock is South Africa’s leading independent drinks commentator and a columnist for the Sunday Times, Financial Mail, winenews.co.za and Good Taste magazine. I first read Neil's online column a few months ago when he threw the spotlight on one of my old school buddies, now a winemaker. Reading his column (difficult to call this blogging), it is immediately evident that writing is his bread and butter. None of this amateur vague sentence-thought connections put onto the web for those who have nothing else do to to read. Here you have stories that once you finish reading you realise that you have just experienced a wine tasting event as if you were actually there or somehow know exactly what the wine tasted, smelt and even felt like. Apparently being 'now redeployed as an intermittent intermezzo,' I fear that this new found joy may become rare or even extinct
  • relax-with-dax.co.za : ... and on the other end of the scale we have Dax Villanueva. An IT professional that enjoys experiencing all Cape Town's gastronomic pleasures, it would seem. He doesn't pretend to be a professional food critic and I found is reviews refreshingly honest. It's always nice to get the feel of an establishment from the perspective of the ordinary man on the street. This you get, and should you chose to, you will not alone because he to seems to have managed to gain quite a following. While I did find his template design in itself practical and appropriate, the loud font used for the text in the posts gave you the feeling that Dax was shouting the text at you.
  • spitorswallow.co.za : 'Its an experience' is the byline for this 'blog' for wine lovers. On the positive, the masthead is probably the best of this year's entire crop of finalists, across all categories. Classy, quirky, off the wall, yet somehow belletristic (I know this is more of a literary reference, but just fits perfectly here). It fits into a site that is designed in way that you almost expect to get that slight breeze you feel when turning the slightly higher caliper paper of a glossy magazine. So now that the gushing is over, I am not convinced that Spit or Swallow should be sitting in the running for a blog award. Although it calls itself a blog, it is essentially a review site. Wine estates are listed and a short description/review offered, thereafter the reviews are left to visitors to the site. There is then a rating (swallow) that is given by each reviewer. Weblog? Me thinks not, but a cool site nonetheless.
My prediction :
  • Eish!! this is a tough one. Many of these finalist appear to have quite a support base andobviously loyal readership is where the bulk of the votes will come from. TongueTickle may just have the edge, if Cooksister's supporters let her down this year
  • Eish's pick : blog.winecountry.co.za

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Thanks so much for the kind write up and best of luck to everyone.

Henré aka "The Plonk"

@rossouwh : Glad to oblige. Good luck to you to.

Thanks for the kind comments. Agree, stiff competition! Juno (the 'shy') freelancer.

Thanks for the comments and best of luck to all the finalists


Johan Schwartz – 4 Cousins Blog Editor

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  • eishman
    Cape Town, Western Cape, ZA

    I am just a normal Joe Shmo sharing my views, web travels, experiences and gems I have found with you all. Of course the focus is on the Motherland, South Africa, with a bit of bias towards Cape Town, from time to time.
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