In late 2005, Cathy van Zyl became the first person to achieve the prestigious Master of Wine qualification from within South Africa (as opposed to going abroad to study for it there). Cathy judges at various wine events including the Fairbarn Capital Trophy Wine Show and the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Award. She also tastes for the authoritative Platter Guide to South African wine and has some very specific tastes in wine, as the profile below will reveal!
1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?
Somerset West, South Africa
2. How long have you been blogging?
About 2 years.
3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?
Marvelling at the wonderful wine world.
4. Any downsides or frustrations?
I keep questioning who would read this and why; I mean, why should anyone care what I think? But whenever I'm late for a posting, I get a phone call from someone who reads me wanting to know where the blog is.
5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?
My taste buds!
6. Where and when do you like to blog?
I prefer blogging over the weekend, but usually squash it in between other commitments at the office.
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?
Alikriek risotto (alikriek is the Afrikaans name for giant periwinkel) and my favourite wine at the moment is an Amontillado sherry.
8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?
Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages
9. Favourite restaurant?
In South Africa, Boullabaisse in Franschhoek; in London, Nobu; in Pisa, Arlecchino; and in Barcelona, a little tapas bar I don't know the name of but the signature tapas is deep fried jalepeno chillies. Aren't I the pretentious one?
10. For my last meal on this planet I would order …
A bottle of Romanée-Conti Domaine de la Romanée-Conti as well as a bottle of Savennières, possibly Le Clos du Papillon from Domaine du Closel. If I have to eat, it would be the foi gras 'crème brulee' served to me only once at Bosman's at the Grand Roche in Paarl, South Africa, and one of the Lustau special solera bottlings called 'almacenista'. Perhaps a Lustau Almacenista Manzanilla Amontillada de Sanlúcar (but that might be too dry and contrast too sharply with the brulee) or a Lustau Almacenista Oloroso de Jerez. Of course, a truly old German auslese riesling would also be sublime.