Cape Town has a wealth of unique luxury activities to offer in between its signature tourist attractions such as Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront. Even to Capetownians, some of these luxury activities remain a secret treasure. On Friday, the Cape Town Diamond Museum set out to show some of Cape Town’s bloggers what ‘luxury Cape Town’ has to offer.
As is typical of the Cape Town weather, Friday was the only wet weather day in a week of 30 degree heat. Luckily, the team at the CT Diamond Museum had a back up plan as the Table Mountain Cable Car visit and cruise around to Camps Bay was no longer a possibility. As it turns out, this led to an afternoon of new experiences for everyone involved and a much more unique tour of the city’s luxury spots.
The afternoon started with a short but interesting tour of the CBD on the top of one of the City Sightseeing Red Buses. With a small break in the weather, we hopped aboard the open-top bus en route to our first secret location. Although a regular sighting in Cape Town, very few of us had taken a red bus tour ourselves and consequently learnt a lot of interesting facts about our own city. For example, Strand Street (or Beach Street) was so named because historically the area was once a beach. The land has since been reclaimed and the resulting area, called the foreshore, houses most of the cities commercial activity and office buildings. Today the ocean is located some 2.5 kilometres away from the original Strand Street.
After our brief tour of the city, we arrived on Buitenkant Street at luxury destination number two, artisan coffee house TRUTH where founder, David Donde is waiting to teach us everything there is to know about making the perfect cuppa – and boy, is there more to learn than you would ever think! Truth’s philosophy is clear, “Flavour not bitterness. No sugar required.” They endeavour to create a coffee so delicious that no amount of sugar or milk is needed to “take the bitter edge off.” Also, according to David, fine coffee still tastes good when it cools down. Preparing it too hot causes over-extraction of the ground coffee and makes it taste bitter. We were taken through the process from raw bean to roasting to tasting the ground coffee in its purest form: learning to take in the aroma, aerating the coffee as you “slurp” it from your tasting spoon. This was an experience in itself, not for the faint-hearted!
A shot of caffeine later, and still savouring the pleasant aftertaste of their Resurrection blend, we were whisked off to our next destination. A private chocolate tasting with Dino Simatos, renowned chocolatier and chef at the Lindt Chocolate Studio located at the Cape Quarter. From the word go Dino put the facts straight when it comes to chocolate. Fine chocolate is best experienced using all five of our senses. Before the smell or the taste, the other senses must experience the look of the rich matte sheen on the surface of the bar, the smooth and silky feel of the chocolate between your fingers, and the ease with which it melts on contact. When you snap off a piece and hear the crisp sound, you know it is a fine dense chocolate. After these preliminary tests, your nose then takes in the delicious signature smell of the Lindt chocolate. Finally, you place the chocolate on your tongue and allow the flavours to fill your palate. This is the true chocolate tasting technique we learnt from Dino, as well as learning about the ingredients in a bar of Lindt chocolate: Cocoa nib, cocoa butter and milk powder.
After delighting our taste buds with various types of Lindt chocolate, our last and most dazzling stop approached. We were escorted into the Cape Town Diamond Museum with a glass of champagne and a few friendly faces. Here we were treated to a tour of the museum, the history of diamonds, South Africa’s injection into the diamond industry, the diamond forefathers and replica’s of the world’s most famous diamonds. It was here we were also taught of the importance of the 4C’s, in the case of diamonds – Cut, Colour, Clarity, and Carat-weight.
Walking through to the workshop, albeit after work hours, we were able to see where Shimansky diamond cutting process takes place. Here the diamonds go through the various stages of planning, sawing, bruiting and girdling, blocking and brillianteering, before they are ready to be graded according to the 4C’s. Mr Shimansky himself explained these processes and the hours of work that go into making one tiny diamond sparkle.
To end off a spectacular afternoon of luxury in Cape Town, we were treated to sushi and champagne and a room full of beautiful diamonds to try on – every woman’s dream!
Thank you to the Cape Town Diamond Museum for inviting CometoCapeTown.com to share in this event and allowing us to experience a small taste of luxury Cape Town.
If you would like to visit the Cape Town Diamond Museum, please visit their website to find out all the details and redeem your complimentary ticket.