GEORGE NEWS - Dine with a Local, a George Tourism development project, held a number of practice runs last week.
Sharon House, tourism marketing official, said the aim of this first roll-out was for guests to see, touch, taste, hear and feel this special experience themselves. Judged by their comments afterwards, they thoroughly enjoyed it and will promote it in their circles of influence.
Tourism stakeholders invited included local accommodation and activity owners, the George Business Chamber, tourism officers, tour operators, travel agents, site guides, media and municipal councillors.
Comments by some of the guests:
• Ronnie's Kitchen located in Delville Park, Pacaltsdorp served up a delectable snoek and patat evening, hosted by Veronica Horne. Nellie Reimann of George Backpackers was very impressed. "Oh, my goodness what a lekker evening. I was a bit curious before I went there, and wasn't I blown away with their hospitality. We never had a dull moment. I have travelled to various countries and have been in hospitality for over 20 years. The food and beverage were of good quality. I will definitely recommend them to my guests and friends. This is a place where friends and family can meet and enjoy each other's company. Oh man, that 'Patat en Snoek' is to die for. My father was a patat farmer and my mother a chef, and I promise you, I can be very critical when it comes to food. I cannot fault you on your cooking. Ladies, you have exceeded my expectations."
• Explore our Hood - 13, Thembalethu hosted by Unam Gila and Nomzamo Entile served up a traditional isiXhosa experience with dancing, poetry and an eclectic menu with "smileys" (roasted sheep's head reserved for traditional ceremonies), chicken offal, homemade chakalaka and amahewu (fermented maize water). Guest house owner Esther Horn (Acorn Guest House and 17onWellington Suites) said it is a wonderful initiative. "This is definitely something that foreigners may enjoy - to experience the traditional food, local hospitality and a wonderful cultural exchange in the hustle and bustle of the township."
• Oom Bul's Coffee Shop in Market Street offered a Khoi experience hosted by Enrico Appolis (Oom Bul). Ingrid Waldeck of UllaEvents found the Khoi experience unforgettable. "Enrico was the perfect host. We were treated to authentic Khoi cuisine. Not only was the food delicious, but the experience was priceless. Enrico entertained us with fascinating stories on how he became a chef and how he got his own restaurant off the ground in George. He is an amazing man who cooked Christmas lunch on Christmas day last year to host the homeless and displaced people in George at Oom Bul's Coffee Shop. We also got to enjoy soothing herbal teas by Neil Carelse, a local activist for indigenous people's rights. Some of the guests were even treated to a foot soak in special medicinal herbs which Neil prepared. Neil captivated his guests with interesting anecdotes about the Khoi heritage and their natural medicines. These two amazing men with all their helpers, the cook, the DJ, etc. made this an unforgettable true Khoi experience. I am excited to market this establishment to my clients."
• Moodie's Foods in Delville Park, Pacaltsdorp served up a Cape Malay evening of note. Host Moody Sylvester explained all of the dishes served, to the delight of Linda Scholtz of Harvey World Travel. "What a lovely experience and opportunity to get a traditional home cooked meal in typical Cape Malay style - samoosas, rotis, lamb and chicken curry, fragrant yellow rice and a typical brandy tipsy pudding followed by a surprise koesister, different from a koeksister, at the end of the evening! Moody explained all the dishes and we learned about her culture. This is what tourists want to experience - to be invited into the home of a local. We felt at home and were spoiled. I hope that we can promote this not only to tourists, but also to the community of George!"
Nadia Smit of George Lodge echoed Linda's feelings. "Thank you for the lovely opportunity. It was an evening to remember. Dine with a local is a great idea."
George Tourism invites tourists and locals alike to book your preferred Dine with a Local experience. Contact Melanie Martins on 044 801 9299 or e-mail email@example.com.
The evening excursions include a three-course meal, drinks and entertainment. The duration of the excursion is approximately three hours. Transport is included in the package. Arts and crafts are on sale at the homes on the night.
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