Spotlight on Whale Cottage Blog

Whale CottageChris von Ulmenstein is the owner of a number of guest houses and the blogger at Whale Cottage Portfolio Blog. She is known for her outspoken and direct views on the topics of both the South African tourism industry as well as on the foodie scene in Cape Town.  We asked her a few questions:

1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?

I am proudly-Capetonian, living in Fresnaye, but often in Franschhoek, especially over weekends

2. How long have you been blogging?

My blog will be 3 years old in September 2011, and our 1000th blogpost will appear next week

3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?

Blogging makes me aware of what is happening around us in Cape Town and the Winelands. Restaurant reviews are the most enjoyable blogposts, although our honesty does cause controversial responses on occasion. I have met lovely food and wine bloggers since I have started blogging, and therefore started the Food & Wine Bloggers Club last year, to help bloggers to connect, and to ‘feed’ them with blogging information and tips.

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

Nasty comments, either aimed at the subject of the blogpost or at us as writers, are a frustration, as there are no clear guidelines – one cannot win, as one is criticised if one deletes comments, and one is criticised if one allows them! Cowardly commenters who do not reveal their real name are annoying, especially when they become disparaging. Rudeness in comments is a grounds for immediate deletion. Yet comments do stimulate interesting debate, if they are constructive. Once one has made a commitment to write a blogpost a day, which is what we have done, it needs lots of energy to keep this up! Stats on readership are frustrating, as there is no consistency – our Hetzner stats looked wonderful, but those on Google Analytics are far lower.

5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?

I am not a cook! I don’t drink and write, if I follow your punctuation in the question! I don’t think it would be very coherent. A blogpost must be written daily – either it is about a restaurant I have just visited, or it is about a tourism issue, for which I have seen information on the internet, or experienced something myself. The Sweet & Sour Service Awards are based on my service experiences, and nominations from our readers. I also try to judge what is of interest to my readers. Restaurant specials, especially in winter, are hugely popular, and are our best read blogposts.

6. Where and when do you like to blog? I usually blog at night, in front of the TV with a broadcast in German (ZDF) – I am writing this profile like this right now.

7. What’s your signature dish or favourite wine?

I am not a cook, so the question does not apply. Generally I prefer to eat out. I am a very frequent Woolworths customer! I eat far more healthily since having been diagnosed with diabetes in October last year, and am proud of the resultant weight loss. I love drinking Shiraz.

8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?

I read blogposts when they come up as Google Alerts or via Twitter, and could include JamieWho, Relax with Dax, Cathy Marston, La Motte/Hein Koegelenberg, Colyn Truter, Mike Ratcliffe/Warwick, Neil Pendock, Christian Eedes, Spit or Swallow, Emile Joubert/Wine Goggle, The Foodie, and Spill.

9. Favourite restaurant?

My current favourite restaurants are Casparus in Stellenbosch, and Dash at the Queen Victoria Hotel in the Waterfront.

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…

Something with perlemoen, prawns, kingklip, crayfish, avo, lots of lemon, rice and Etienne Bonthuys’ Cap Classique butter sauce. With the best pink bubbly!

About Cooksister

Food & travel writer, photographer, blogger, recipe writer and speaker. South African by birth, Londoner by choice.
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