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Join us for dinner on Friday. This sumptuous meal will be paired with select South African wines. Call today to reserve your spot!

5-Course South African Wine Dinner

presented by

Café L’Europe and

Go Touch Down Travel & Tours as Wine Sponsor

Friday, July 18th at 7 p.m. in The Gallery Room at Café L’Europe

$85 per person, inclusive. Reservations required: 941-388-4415

Jumbo ShrimpMENU

 HORS D’OUERVES

Jumbo Shrimp

Offered with Bloody Mary cocktail sauce

Brandied Peaches & Brie Puffs

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Kissed with a brown sugar glaze

Wild Mushroom Tartlet

Lobster BisqueServed with Lions Lair Chenin Blanc

 1st COURSE

Iconic Lobster Bisque

Lobster morsels, crème fraiche

Served with Lions Lair Rose Cab/Merlot

2nd COURSEWine Tasting

Assorted Field Greens, Summer Tomatoes, Hearts of Palm, topped with Luscious Crab Cake

Drizzled with a balsamic reduction

Served with Rustenberg Chardonnay

3rd COURSE

CrepesBoneless Short Ribs

Slowly cooked in a red wine demi-glaze, chef’s selection of fresh market vegetables

Served with Barista Pinotage

4th COURSE

Summer Crepe

Filled with luscious summer berries, napped in crème Anglais

Served with Robertson

Late Harvest Gewurztraaminer

Coffee service offered with dessert

Sip, Shop & Socialize to the Rhythm of the Drums

South African wine will flow freely on Friday, July 18th – Nelson Mandela International Day – at our new Hamba Lounge inside our Touch of Africa Gallery on St. Armands Circle in Sarasota.

Hamba Lounge on St. Armands CircleA ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 3 p.m., and then at promptly at 4:53 p.m., the fun really begins… 67 minutes of complimentary beverages at the lounge and a 20 percent off sale on everything in the gallery, including conversational art, home décor and jewelry. Our South African drummer might just inspire you to dance a bit while you sip, shop and socialize. The best part is, it’s all for charity.

Mandela DaySince Nelson Mandela contributed 67 years of his life to public service, the United Nations encourages everyone to contribute 67 minutes for community benefit on this day. In this spirit, we are going to donate a portion of proceeds from the 20 percent off sale to a local charity.

This celebration kicks-off our bi-monthly Hamba Happy Hour and 20 percent off sale, held every other Friday from 5-6 p.m. (Hamba means “travel” in Zulu, one of 11 official languages in South Africa.) Just follow the sound of the drums to Hamba Lounge, our casual travel library where we offer you a taste of our South African hospitality. Here we transport you to extraordinary places through books, magazines and videos, one sip at a time.

Hamba Happy Hour ends at 6 p.m., but on Mandela Day the celebration continues at Café L’Europe. The renowned restaurant has partnered with us to commemorate the day with a delectable five-course menu paired with select South African wines.

Nelson Mandela Dinner at Cafe L'EuropeIn addition to the award-winning cuisine for which Café L’Europe is known, you’ll be treated to descriptions of the five varietals featured with each course. The cost per person is $85 inclusive. Dinner is at 7 p.m. and reservations are required; call the restaurant at 941-388-4415, or visit www.cafeleurope.net.

Come on out and celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day with us. See you on the 18th!

 

South Africans are known for being enthusiastic beer drinkers. They also produce some of the world’s best wines (worthy of a whole encyclopedia). But that’s by no means the whole story. As with the country’s food, South Africa’s drinks have been influenced by the different cultures that have colonized through the years.

Alcohol

AmaraluaAmarula Cream – a local cream liqueur, generally drunk after dinner. It is made from the fruit of the marula tree (Sclerocarya Birrea), a favorite of elephants, baboons and monkeys who are said to get drunk and party as the rotting fruit ferments in the wild.

Beer – South African beer is typically American-style. Castle lager is the runaway biggest seller of all, but local brewing giants, South African Breweries also produce Carling Black South African BeerLabel, Grolsch and various other brands. Lion lager and Namibian Windhoek lager are also popular.

Mahewu/Mechow/Umqombothi – with different names in all the different local languages, traditional African beer is made from mashed up maize or sorghum, malt, yeast and water. It is thick, heavy, creamy, slightly gritty, slightly sour, with a relatively low alcohol content.

Dop (dawp) – general Afrikaans term for any alcoholic drink: “Would you like a dop?”

Mampoer (mum-poo-er)/witblitz (vit-blitts, literally ‘white lightning’) – Powerful homemade brandy/firewater, similar to American moonshine, made from a range of different fruits.

Van der Hum Liqueur – this wonderfully aromatic liqueur is a blend of brandy, wine, naartje (mandarin oranges/satsumas) peel and spices. It was distilled here for centuries by housewives before it was bottled officially. It is named after Admiral Van der Hum of the Dutch East India Company fleet who is said to have been ‘fond of it to the point of distraction’.

Wine – Jan van Riebeeck, the Dutch founder of the Cape colony, produced the first recorded wine way back in 1659. The first French Huguenots arrived 20 years later and from that moment on, South African wines began to make their mark on the world. Fine wines are given a WO (Wine of Origin) label, with around 60 districts. Here are some local specialties to look for:

South African Wineshanepoot (haa-nah-poort) – a sweet wine made from the muscat blanc d’Alexandrie grape

hanerood – a sweet wine made from a blend of red grapes

pinotage (pee-no-targe) – this red varietal is a cross between the pinot noir and cinsaut (hermitage), producing distinctively rich, earthy, smoky wines

Non-Alcoholic

Amasi/Maas (pronounced um-ah-see) – a drink of thick soured milk, similar to yogurt and similarly said to be very good for the digestion. Traditionally it is unpasteurized and fermented in a calabash (gourd), but it is also now also sold in a pasteurized form. Amasi is the Zulu name, Maas the Afrikaans.

Cooldrink, Colddrink – any soda, such as Coca-Cola or Fanta. Soda is reserved purely for club soda. Amongst local specialities, look out for Stoney’s Ginger Beer and Schweppes Granadilla Twist (passion fruit) which are both delicious.

Mageu/Mahewu/Amarhewu/Amahewu - the non-alcoholic version of maheu, this is a thin drinking mealy meal (maize or sorghum) porridge. Traditionally made at home the night before drinking, it is also available commercially these days.

Rock Shandy – a local specialty that is a lovely thirst-quenching alternative to overly sweet sodas – half lemonade, half soda water, with a dash of Angostura bitters, a slice of lemon and lots of ice.

colate Mint Rooibos Iced TeaRooibos (roy-boss) – Afrikaans for red bush. Now adopted across the world as a health drink, rooibos has been drunk as a tea in South Africa for generations, usually served black with lemon or honey. The Cyclopia genistoides bush is native to the Cederberg mountains of the Western Cape and is said to be caffeine-free, high in anti-oxidants with a very low tannin content.

You deserve a break today! Stop by the Afro Café to sample some of South Africa’s finest beverages.

Does the thought of going on vacation inspire feelings of joy? It should! There are nine secrets to a happy vacation, according to the new “Road to Happiness Study”, which quantifies the connection between happiness and travel. Results of the study revealed some key elements of the happiest vacations.

Plan Ahead

When you plan ahead, you get a double benefit: better prices and more availability. A recent CheapAir.com report monitored 4 million flights and found that the average lowest fares surfaced 54 days before travel. And, according to the Road to Happiness Study, 90 percent of the happiest vacationers planned more than a month in advance, leaving plenty of time to savor the delicious pre-vacation anticipation.

South African Airways

Look Far

For vacation happiness, you must commit to actually going away, not going halfway on a staycation. According to the Road to Happiness Study, 94 percent of respondents found greater happiness when traveling far from home. And while the occasional weekend getaway might boost morale in the short term, 85 percent of the happiest, most memorable vacations occurred when people ventured to destinations beyond the United States.

Table Mountain

Beat Stress

Vacation happiness comes from taking it slow enough to really be present, not zooming ahead to the next sight, activity, or meal. In fact, a whopping 88 percent of travelers reported that their happiest vacations were mostly stress-free. And a happy vacation has lingering benefits as well: 93 percent of respondents said that their happiest vacations boosted their energy at work after their return.

Kapama Spa with Elephants

Befriend a Local

A place truly comes alive when you see it through the eyes of a local. Instead of relying on the same guidebooks or online reviews that every other visitor is reading, you get a personal connection and the inside scoop. In fact, the study suggests that this is actually a key to vacation happiness. Nearly 80 percent of travelers polled said that on their best trips, they had the support of a knowledgeable friend in the destination or benefited from the expertise of a local guide.

African lion (Panthera leo); Republic of South AfricaSplurge

Vacation is the right place to splurge. It takes such a significant investment of time, money, and effort to get you to your destination that it just doesn’t make sense to not take the special behind-the-scenes tour of Rome’s Colosseum or book the heli-tour in Hawaii because you want to save some money. This isn’t an argument for springing for the private jet, but you don’t want to regret passing up activities you may never have the chance to do again. In fact, of travelers surveyed, only 13 percent said the costs associated with a vacation hindered their overall happiness with the trip.

Bungee Jumping

Seek Meaning

The happiest trips are those that spark something in your soul, feed your curiosity, or fulfill a lifelong dream. So next time you start planning a vacation, take some time to really consider your choice. Too many people default to popular or convenient destinations, without taking the time to consider which trips—even if they would take a little more time, effort, or money—have the potential to be life-changing experiences.
Elephant-Back Safari

Seek Help When You Need It

Trip Advisor 2014

For some, planning is as much a part of the trip as the journey. But for others, it can seem a bit daunting. You’ve got plenty of options that will make your vacation far more enjoyable right from the outset, including availing yourself of the services of our Travel Specialists who will tend to all of the details, so you don’t have to.

 

Manage Typical Stressors

According to the study, the top three barriers to happy travel are time-management issues, unfamiliarity with the destination, and transportation challenges. For a happier vacation, be realistic about your itinerary and don’t over-schedule yourself. This is a non-issue when traveling with us to South Africa, whether on a Cape Town tour or safari. Our itineraries are carefully planned to optimize your days and nights while also allowing for down time.

Fly Fishing

Go to Your Happy Place

If you want to find happiness on vacation, make sure you’ve chosen a destination that makes you happy. Find places full of the things you love, whether that’s art or nature … or exotic cuisine.

Leopard

Need a little inspiration? Call us at 877-480-6881 or visit our website. In addition to affordable luxury South African Tours, we can help you with cruises, condos & resorts and customized travel worldwide.

 

The Road to Happiness Study was led by renown positive psychology researcher Shawn Achor in conjunction with Monograms Travel. Portions of this article were excerpted from “Nine Secrets to a Happy Vacation”, originally posted at smartertravel.com.

The Call of the Wild

Going oLeopard At Nightn safari is definitely the experience of a lifetime. And in South Africa, there are a variety of game-viewing options… on foot, in open-air vehicles, even on elephant-back. No matter which you choose, the memories of life in the bush will stay with you forever.

Your wake-up call comes hours before sunrise so you can track leopards, lions, and other nocturnal hunters before the heat of day kicks in. After a quick cup of coffee, you embark on a three- to four-hour game walk or drive with a super-knowledgeable ranger and tracker – and let the sightings begin. You spot not just one elephant, but a dozen – from a playful baby to a two-story bull – and a regal gemsbok, with its slender, scimitar-like horns that may have inspired tales of the fabled unicorn. The roar of a male lion, a few yards from the safari vehicle, leaves you nearly breathless.

Return to camp for a fresh cooked breakfast followed by a nature walk with a ranger. After lunch, take a nap at the height of the middayElephants at Lake heat or go for a swim. Then, following afternoon tea, you’re off on an evening safari drive that includes a stop for a sundowner, or a cocktail, to pass the sunset. Back at your lodge, enjoy dinner under the southern constellations, a completely different array of stars from what you see at home. Then it’s off to bed and dreams of the wildlife that you’ll encounter tomorrow.

Dining at Kapama

Your safari holds even more marvelous surprises in store. Click here for your day-by-day itinerary!

Franschhoek VineyardNestled between towering mountains in the beautiful Cape winelands, lies the magnificent Franschhoek Valley. This is the food and wine heartland of the country, where splendid wines are grown and top chefs create international cuisine. Here, breathtaking scenery, warm hospitality, world class cuisine and the finest wines all combine to create lasting memories.

Spectacular vineyards cover these mountain slopes settled more than 300 years ago by the Huguenots, who brought with them their age-old French wine and food culture. “Franschhoek” translates to “French corner” and the many guesthouses, street side cafes and award-winning restaurants demonstrate a truly French flair. This is a valley rich in history, centered around a charming village of friendly, welcoming people.

Town of Franschhoek

Lying against the backdrop of the majestic Franschhoek and Drakenstein mountains, the town with its picturesque main street showcases antique stores and art galleries, bakeries and the chocolaterie. Franschhoek is also home to many festivals, from the annual Bastille Day Festival on July 14th, to cheese, wine and olive festivals at various times throughout the year.

One could easily spend a day or two in Franschhoek strolling the main street, visiting the wine estates and dining at one of its eight ‘Top 100′ restaurants. Imagine sipping South African wine in the land where the grape is grown?

Meerendal Winery

 

A visit to Franschhoek is part of your Cape Town Experience when you travel with Go Touch Down Travel & Tours

 

 

South Africa is a dizzying patchwork of cultures and languages with 11 official tongues, including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English. From this diversity emerges a dynamic and impassioned cultural life like none other on earth. Carnegie Hall salutes this vibrant nation with a festival called UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa. Roughly translating to mean “I am because you are,” ubuntu is a philosophy from Southern Africa that emphasizes the importance of community, influencing recent moves of reconciliation and inclusion in South Africa that were fostered by the late Nelson Mandela. Dedicated to Mandela’s legacy, Carnegie Hall’s UBUNTU festival celebrates the many threads that make up South Africa’s vibrant musical culture.

Legendary trumpeter and composer Hugh Masekela is joined by singer Vusi Mahlasela in Twenty Years of Freedom. World-renowned singers Ladysmith Black Mambazo and guests are featured in Voices of South Africa.

Grammy Award–winning singer and activist Angélique Kidjo celebrates legendary vocalist and cultural figure Miriam Makeba in Mama Africa. There is also the powerful spirituality and ecstasy of maskandi music of the Zulu people, two thrilling generations of South African jazz, and unique Cape Malay choral singing that blends Dutch folksongs with beautifully ornamented Malaysian vocal traditions. In addition, two critically acclaimed South African classical vocalists make their Carnegie Hall recital debuts.
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