It's almost time for South Africa's best brandies and finest distillers to take centre stage at Fine Brandy Fusion.
Fine Brandy Fusion 2014 promises a fantastic smorgasbord of entertainment, fashion and sublime flavour in celebrating the nation's favourite spirit. It runs in Cape Town on May 22 and 23, and moves to Johannesburg on June 5 and 6.
Fine Brandy Fusion 2014 puts you up close and personal with the master distillers and their finest creations – brandies that consistently out-perform international rivals, enjoying pride of place in the best cocktail bars worldwide. On offer will be tastings of some 50 top brandies; delicious pairings of food and brandy; and the chance for you to simply bask in the golden rays of the primo brandy lifestyle.
Here are just 10 reasons to attend Fine Brandy Fusion 2014:
- The event promises unique experiences for the brandy-lover. The Elsenburg 13 Year Old Potstill brandy was the first of its kind released by the renowned wine and agricultural school and given a rapturous welcome by esteemed brandy experts when it launched recently. Fine Brandy Fusion 2014 will be the only place where the brandy can be tasted.
- You'll learn from the best. Bisquit cognac's Loïc Rakotomalala flies out from France to present free brandy Master Classes during the event. Pre-bookings are essential and can be done at www.brandyfusion.co.za.
- Hit South African act Mi Casa has signed up for the party and will perform live. The winners of a SAMA Award for Best Dance Album, the group's single Turn you on was ranked Number One on both 5FM and 94.5 Kfm.
- It's a class act. Porsche, the pre-eminent essence of vehicular cool, will display the Panamera and Macan models from their portfolio.
- Making additions to your brandy collection has never been easier. Cybercellar will offer convenient sales and express courier deliveries of brandy bought at Fine Brandy Fusion 2014.
- There will be a live display of some of the art that goes into fine brandy. Neville Ebrahim, the cooper at award-winning producer Van Ryn's, will provide live demonstrations of his craft. Get a taste by watching this video clip of Neville's father, Abie, who passed down the art of barrel-making to his son, below:
- Savour the signature Capital Cocktail featuring Collison's White Gold brandy, rooibos syrup and apple juice, at the Urban Brandy Cocktail bar.
- You can be responsible without hassle by using Uber, Everybody's Private Driver. The company will provide free transport up to R200 in value for all new users from the Fine Brandy Fusion Festivals in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Sign up for an account by visiting Uber.com/go/FINEBRANDY. To request a ride from the festival, simply download the free application for iPhone, Android, Blackberry 7, or visit the mobile site: m.uber.com. Uber will have two representatives at each event, assisting with the sign up.
- Meet brandy makers from all over such as the Northern Cape's Bezalel, the SA Brandy Foundation's latest member. Bezalel will be at the Artisanal Brandy stand where its 5 Year Old potstill – uniquely comprising red varietals including Pinotage and Sangiovese – will be available.
- Witness the magic of award-winning molecular mixologist Kurt Schlechter. This experienced bartender has trained the country's best who have gone on to take top honours at international flair competitions. A current cocktail champion, Schlechter will represent SA at the World Bartending Championships in Cape Town later this year.
Using the famous Fabbri 1905 range of Italian ingredients, Schlechter will give live demonstrations and classes in molecular mixology. Check out the Fine Brandy Fusion website for the full schedule of his performances, which cover such intriguing topics such as foams, airs and gels; and, Fabbri spherology with alginates and chlorides.
Other highlights include the Urban Brandy Cocktail Route cocktail bar; and, popular South African rapper ProVerb, who will be the MC at both events.
Standard Bank renews its support for these events, returning as its main backer and confirming their support to this pivotal South African industry. A favoured brand in kitchens and bars alike, KitchenAid has also provided its support.
Dates: 22 - 23 May 2014, Cape Town International Convention Centre / 5 - 6 June 2014, Sandton Convention Centre
Times: 17h30 – 21h30 (no entry after 21h00).
Cost: Tickets are priced at R195 per person and include 15 beverage coupons, 2 coffee coupons and a 400ml crystal brandy balloon glass. Tickets are available from Computicket. Pre-bookings for the Master classes are via Facebook. Book now to avoid disappointment.
No visitors under 18 years. Fine Brandy Fusion is organised by the South African Brandy Foundation, a member of the industry association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) and supporter of moderate and responsible enjoyment of brandy. Taxi services are available upon request.