Henre Rossouw of the blog WineCountry is a man on a mission. And that mission is to get everyone thinking, talking, eating, drinking and visiting the wonderful Paarl wine region in the Cape! And I have to say he's doing a fine job of it. In fact, after reading all the tasting notes, recipes, and winery, restaurant and accommodation reviews on his site, you'll be calling up your travel agent to arrange a trip. Have a look and see what I mean.
1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?
I’m a resident of Paarl, South Africa.
2. How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging for 2 years now, of which the last year has been professionally.
3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?
Wine is such a fascinating delicacy and together with food lends to it a romantic and mysterious angle. I am in love with the wine and food culture and it’s a highlight meeting all of the influencers, personalities and miracle workers in the Paarl Wine Region.
It is also extremely fulfilling to be one of the driving forces of the Paarl Wine Region’s web strategy and exploring all the avenues to promote this rich and historical region to a national and international market, especially with the 2010 Football World Cup beckoning.
4. Any downsides or frustrations?
Well, blogging is hard work. In terms of my blog, it’s crucial to add variety from a wine, food and lifestyle perspective.
It’s sometimes difficult to give up your baby, but in terms of growth, readership and diversity it is crucial to find contributors that add value to the blog. Value in this instance is opinionated, knowledgeable writers that spark an interest through the entire wine loving spectrum, whether general wine drinkers or the wine afficionados.
5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?
I believe that my product drives my inspiration. I love living in Paarl and everything about Paarl that makes it special. We have a host of top wine estates and restaurants and a plethora of activities and accommodation facilities to support them.
6. Where and when do you like to blog?
This is part of my job, so most blogging occurs during office hours although a lot of ideas stem from social functions, attending events, reading about wine and lifestyle.
I have recently realised that some of my best ideas come late at night just before going to sleep when I’m relaxed and very open minded.
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?
I believe food is best enjoyed when you are at ease with the company you’re with and allowed to express your unique appreciation of food in any way you feel comfortable.
I’m a fussy (I call it sophisticated) foodie, so simple is often better for me. Prawns in any shape, size or format are always welcome.
8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?
Tough one. I read many as I need to constantly stimulate my creative thoughts. I absolutely love Gary Vaynervhuk’s Wine Library TV though. He’s a genius on more levels than just wine. His ideas are bold and have the capacity to draw massive wine loving crowds, not just regular winos.
9. Favourite restaurant?
I think it would be unfair toward my clients to highlight a single restaurant, but I must admit that when I experienced my new girlfriend’s cooking, I was blown away.
10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…
Chateaubriand with garlic butter prawns would see me die peacefully.<