OK, so what is it with this country? From the end of August right through to Christmas you get no public holidays. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. But based (presumably) on the premise that the weather is lovely in spring and early summer, you get not only Easter but also two public holidays in May.
Which would be perfectly lovely.
If the assumption about the weather were remotely true.
It started off well – rather like last year. The early May bank holiday was lovely – we braaied, we ate summery salads, and all was well with the world. So you'd think if early May was that good, surely late May will be even better? Hah. Spoken like somebody who does not live in England. On Sunday morning, I was woken up by the sound of the torrential rain on our roof – perhaps not unusual, until you discover that I wear earplugs in bed! And some places in England had a month's worth of rain in a single day on Monday.
So much for Spring weather. But on the bright side, it was certainly a good day for hot chocolate! This Ibarra hot chocolate is from Mexico and consists of chunky discs of dark chocolate to which sugar and spices have already been added – all you have to to is heat the milk, add the chocolate and whisk, whisk, whisk. The result is good – a strong chocolate flavour with wafts of cinnamon (although no taste of slightly spicy chile). I tend not to mind some sweetness in my hot chocolate, but I had to agree with Nick that this was too sweet – you can see the sugar crystals in the chcolate discs when you break them into pieces! So all in all, not a bad chocolate drink, but probably not one I'd go to great lengths to buy again. Next time, I'll infuse the milk with cinnamon and chile and then just whisk plain dark chocolate into it. Instant Mexican brew!
For all my South African readers, I have two chances for you to win stuff, without having to try too hard.
Firstly, remember the 2007 South African Produce Awards? Well they're back! The awards started in 2006 and are a partnership between the annual food directory Eat In and RMB Private Bank and are unique in their nature and scope in South Africa, in that they aim to celebrate our outstanding local produce and to support the people who create and market it.
And now is your chance to nominate independent producers and shops for this year's awards. All you need to do is go to the nomination form on the Eat In website, fill in a few personal details and then nominate your favourite new products, fabulous producers, shops and interesting foodies (or even yourself ) for the Awards. You have 3 choices in each category and you can vote as many times as you like – just remember that the deadline is 2 June 2008.
By voting (and living in South Africa) you stand a chance of winning a Le Creuset Pasta Pot (with sieve). Not only is it convenient for pasta cooking, serving and straining but it’s also handy as a deep casserole or a steamer for veggies and fish. So please take a few minutes to recognise our excellent local artisinal producers and retailers!
Secondly, Getclosure!, the South African free online consumer complaints management portal, has recently relaunched its site and wants to give you a chance to wine a buffet lunch for four at the Rhebokskloof wine estate – all you have to do is rate the new site.
Increasingly, South African consumers are opting to use online services in lieu of (and as a complement to) established corporate feedback channels. Very few of us enjoy spending time in a queue for the customer service desk or listening to annoying phone jingles when calling the customer care department and with an increase in Internet usage, it’s about time that consumers had the opportunity to submit their valid complaints online – which is where Getclosure! comes in.
You log on and detail your complaint, then Getclosure! submits your complaint to the most appropriate person in the organisation you are lodging a complaint against, and tracks the complaint on your behalf. Not only are companies requested to acknowledge receipt of your complaint, but they are also given a time limit in which to respond. Best of all, the service is FREE for consumers.
Having just re-launched their new and improved website, getclosure! has partnered with Rhebokskloof Estate to bring you a fantastic prize. Simply rate the new getclosure! website and submit your suggestion on how they can improve their website and / or extend their service and stand a chance of winning a scrumptious Sunday buffet lunch for four at Rhebokskloof Estate valued at R1 000.
So there you have it, fellow South Africans – two chances to win, purely by giving your opinion. I know just how opinionated my countrymen can be – so put it to good work