I've grown up some since #projectme began, when sipping on tea was my happy place. Well, I will always have a soft spot for tea, but I've blossomed into a girl who appreciates the finer things in life. Gone are the days of drinking anything that's going and I have learned to know the difference between a champagne and sparkling wine. I also know what goes well with a fish dish and when a wine if overbearing or far too subtle for main meal.
Delving into this world has been a treat and an experience. It's also been an expense.
My constant toss up is between knowing what I love and wanting to experience it, but also thinking ... hmmm ... that's just a touch elaborate for an average school night.
Well, on one of those average school nights, I got invited to a double does of Tsogo Sun hospitality, which both fed my new favourite past times. Drinking champagne and finding restaurants to experience food and wine pairings. My dear friend, Joanne, who is on the journey of here wine master's course and who showed me the way to appreciating these great gifts of the vine ... well, she's created a monster.
I will only drink champagne. I was thrilled that the first stop on the Tsogo Sun treat day was to the #SSHydePark hotel, which has the most spectacular view, overlooking our beautiful Jozi skyline. It was the setting for a big announcement. While sipping on a glass of Moet, and waiting the next 5 champagnes that were in store for us, I kept thinking ... expensive hobby Jodene.
But then the big announcement ...
"The good news is... now you too can join the ?celebrity? ranks and enjoy the finest Champagne at affordable prices in South Africa ? only at Tsogo Sun hotels and casino properties, restaurant, bars and lounges.
Champagne is a sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne. At Tsogo Sun you can enjoy the real thing from the unique area of Champagne, located in the northeast of France.
Harnessing the group's considerable purchasing power, Tsogo Sun has negotiated the very best prices you'll find for Champagne.
Tsogo Sun have selected, with the guidance of their sommelier Miguel Chan, a diverse collection of the world ten legendary and vibrant Champagne house, based on their uniqueness, elegance and eternal generosity.
Discover and enjoy a selection of Billecart Salmon, Bollinger, Dom Perignon, Louis Roederer, Mo?t & Chandon, Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin at various Tsogo Sun properties including 54 on Bath, Beverly Hills, InterContinental OR Tambo, InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers, the Palazzo, Sandton Sun and Suncoast Towers.
You'll also find your favourite Champagne, including Mo?t & Chandon Brut Imperial starting at R680 and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Yellow Label starting at R765, at selected Tsogo Sun hotels nationwide, including Southern Sun Hyde Park Sandton, Southern Sun Montecasino, Southern Sun The Cullinan, Southern Sun Waterfront Cape Town, Southern Sun Cape Sun, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani, Southern Sun Gold Reef City, Southern Sun Emnotweni, Southern Sun Newlands, Southern Sun O.R. Tambo International Airport, Southern Sun Pietermaritzburg, Southern Sun Pretoria, Southern Sun Bloemfontein and SunSquare Montecasino."
Off to the next stop for a food and wine pairing in Punchinellos at Montecasino. I'm an absolute fan of pairings now and we try find one to go to a good handful of times a year. It's tough to find friends who appreciate it, but it was such a treat to sample the experience with a table of influencers. Taking place once a month, for such reasonable prices, it looks like my regular crowd will be treating ourselves to fine wines and perfectly matched food on a far more regular basis.
For more info on Chefs of Distinction and the great champagne prices, be sure to follow @TsogoSun or check out their website.
On the other hand, give me a shout and let's do sunset drinks with a bottle of bubbly or book a table and pair up!