Dining with a touch of France

Young St Francis Brewing Company chef, Daniel Hoffman, pulled out all the stops for his best offering yet at what has become a monthly “must do” occasion at St Francis Brewing Company’s food & beer pairing held last night. One nice change to the evening’s format was offering non-beer drinkers a choice of either pairing beer or wine with their food which no doubt pleased many of the ladies attending a farewell party to friend Diane Harcus.

This has really become a popular event and last night saw, but for a couple of late cancellations, a full house of almost 40 diners enjoy a wonderful menu with a French influence created by Daniel. This man’s inventiveness with food seems to have no bounds and from the very unusual potato bake starter that had just that perfect saltiness to arouse the taste buds to the last finger licking of the combination of tastes in his dessert offering, one’s taste buds bounced with delight with every dish. Having attended all of these pairings since Daniel arrival it was undoubtedly his best.

Those readers who enjoy a great dining experience should keep a watch out for the next pairing for it truly is worth the R180 they charge for a 5-course meal that includes the beer and wine tastings. Certainly the servings are, in true fine dining style, small, but after the 5-courses few leave not feeling content. To choose a best dish would be impossible as they were all so different and all complimented the previous dish. The Oxtail consommé with beef strips was probably my favourite but then came a superbly marinated yellowtail. The final dish  before the finger licking dessert, and I say finger licking for I was literally using my index finger to wipe off the last morsel of the dessert, and I wasn’t alone, was a tasty saddle of lamb perfectly marinated for something like 20 hours and then slowly, very slowly cooked to perfection.

Great evening and kudos to St Francis Brewing Company for a super evening.

A last word. It was great seeing a delegation from the Kouga Wind Farm saying farewell to local community Liaison and Administration Officer Babalwa Kani. St Francis Today wishes you well in your future and will miss your lovely smile.

Food & Beer pairing at St Francis Brewing Co

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Flawed Thyspunt Sense of Place Assessment

Flawed Thyspunt Sense of Place Assessment

This is part of the social impact that can be expected if the project goes ahead. It should have received major attention in the SIR, but is hardly mentioned.

In terms of the EAP’s interpretation of the “Intensity” rating criteria, a high rating should be given  where “valued, important, sensitive or vulnerable  systems or communities are substantially affected.”

The Trust argues that the entire environment under consideration is an irreplaceable  resource.  It is home to an archaeological & paleontological treasure house of some of the earliest known history of mankind, which led SAHRA to reject the project out of hand; access requires major disturbance of wetlands in the by-pass headland dune field system, described by the Dune Morphology specialist as being one of the best examples in the world,  and of high conservation value; it has claims to be declared a World Heritage Site; it will involve 150 kilometres  of transmission lines, traversing areas described in the Transmission line EIA as being “areas of scenic beauty with wide-ranging  vistas and low visual absorption capacity”, including  the Baviaanskloof  Mega Reserve, which is itself a World Heritage Site. Furthermore, it is the sense of place which has attracted people to this “top end” area, which is now world-renowned.

Substantially affected this irreplaceable resource would be by the invasion of incompatible  elements, such as massive industrial  structures, roads, heavy traffic and  equipment, transmission lines; and by artificially importing thousands  of artisans and their families, and unemployed and unskilled  job-seekers, with their construction villages, informal settlements, land invasion and accompanying  social pathologies, for a decade or more.

The site was selected during the apartheid era, when strict influx controls were in place, and the authorities empowered to prevent mass migration of communities in search of work. The fact that this is no longer the case is a cause for rejoicing in the right context, but it can have strong, unmitigable environmental impacts, which can be damaging to sense of place. This has to be factored into any EIA with regard to massive developments, and the implications for an area responsibly assessed. The Social Impact Report virtually ignores it, dismissing it as a “possibility”.

There is no avoiding the fact that this is an inevitable and unmitigable impact; that it will change for ever the sense of place of this area; that the community will be “substantially affected” ,or that this is an irreplaceable resource.

In terms of the EAP’S interpretation of “Intensity”, this can only lead to a “high” significance rating for loss of sense of place, which is a fatal  flaw.