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Monday, May 13, 2019

Brewing Craft Beer in a Lucky Camper Van While on the Road with our Partners Black Rock Brewing and iKegger, New Zealand

Is Should be Simple


We've set ourselves a challenge. Can the Two Cowboys brew craft quality beer while on the road in a campervan? We tried it out this summer in New Zealand with mixed results. We've learned a lot and saved ourselves quite a bit of money not having to buy beer in New Zealand.

We enlisted a group of beer friends to take the beer-show on the road. Brewers Coop provided us with our favourite Black Rock Concentrated Wort, Hops and the right Yeast for a juicy Riwaka IPA. iKegger New Zealand provided the gear to show how simple it is to pressure ferment and serve beer in simple kegs and we travelled with Lucky Camper Vans

We have three installments documenting our journey below.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Some Background


Riwaka Hops (Riwaka™) is a real standout. It has powerful grapefruit “citrussy” characters that are literally breathtaking. If you want to say “New Zealand Hops” in your beer, then this variety says it all. The pure weight of the oil character experienced during selection carries right through to the glass. It is a punchy addition to the new world styles of Pales Ale and  New Zealand Pilseners.

We combined additional Riwaka Hops with Black Rock's specialty crafted Riwaka Pale Ale kit as if it didn't have enough of a hop kick already. Black Rock Crafted Riwaka Pale Ale is already dry-hopped with Riwaka hops. This kit is quite scarce to get because the hop is so in demand all over the world and it means if Black Rock can get their hands on it, then they brew a batch. Usually, all the kits are sold long before it comes out of the brewhouse.

We brewed the recipe with a specialty US ale yeast, Safale US-05. To get closer to the hazy ale style and a creamy finish with more volts, we also added a kit of unhopped concentrated Wheat Wort.

Our strategy was to use two Cornelius kegs with a spundling valve similar to our Beer Cowboys Brewing Kit bundle. Obviously, these are in Canada, so Andrew from iKegger stepped up with the gear, taps, connectors and whatever we needed to get on with the job. He runs a neat business that brings people closer to kegging and transporting their beer, which is in our opinion a much better strategy than bottle maturation. It also means you can drink your beer as soon as it is done fermenting. It stays carbonated.

We knew at the outset that temperature control was going to be a challenge. Lucky for us, it is summer in New Zealand with mild sunny days, and it turned out not to be too hard to get the beer fermented and carbonated under pressure. The fact that it was an Ale that wasn't too sensitive to hotter temperatures also helped to speed up the process. To do the cold-crash we had to borrow a fridge for a few days, which meant we could pay a visit to some good friends in Onemana with a promise of fresh cold beer at the end.

Observations


New Zealand is not just the land of milk, honey and sheep. It is also a hotbed for craft beer. We are amazed every time we visit just how passionate kiwis are about their beer and about making their own beer. We would be too if we were charged up to $25/litre for beer. Thanks to astronomical excise and overbearing duties Kiwis stepped up to liberate their beer by finding all kinds of ways of making it themselves.

We see the taxation burden grow in our country (Canada) too and we cannot be happier than to introduce our friends all over the world to making one's own beer. As we've discovered, making your own beer actually also means creating a better beer. We've had misfires. It doesn't always go to plan. Most of the time though it is pure deliciousness.

Thanks to our partners we can continue to push the boundaries of excellent beer brewing and our travel experiences along with it. We thank them for it.

Hendrik
Beer Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Hop Shopping

Beer Machines 
Cowboy Growlers

 
Blankies!

Best Place to Bew!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hacking All Grain Brewing with Kiwi Ingenuity and Simple Affordable Tools at Bevie in Auckland, New Zealand

Hacking Our Beer


How do you take the beer brewing process, and make it accessible to the average Joe? Simple, you hack it!

The processes for brewing quality beer have been refined over centuries and continues to evolve even today. From an outsider's perspective, it appears to be safeguarded by an eclectic club of weird scientists set on excluding ordinary folk from the inner circle. They mumble of gravity, sparging, yield, steeping and other incomprehensible nomenclature. They keep their brewing secrets close, their recipes even closer, and their influence as wide as it can go within their brewing circle of friends. 

While brewing good quality beer used to be a regular kitchen affair, a couple of hundred years ago, it slowly evolved into dark science, out of reach for ordinary people, like the Two Cowboys. Now, with the help of some simple equipment like a kettle, a pump, some tubes, and good ingredients like grains, yeast, hops and water, a company called Bevie, in New Zealand, managed to apply modern-day control-flow systems, and a mobile app, to unlock the highly complex all-grain brewing processes for ordinary people.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


They call it the Grainfather. It takes the best brewing practices from craft breweries and puts them into a simple to use, all in one system, to ensure anyone can brew a professionally produced craft beer, no matter their brewing experience.

You can also turn the Grainfather into a microdistillery by changing the top parts and adding the Still Spirits Alembic Pot Still Attachments. It is highly illegal to distill liqueur without a license in Canada, while pot smoking is now allowed (...go figure!). We are just saying that you can make fuel for your car or truck from your Grainfather brewing activities if you should ever need it. If you store the fuel in an oak barrel lying around, to keep it safe, it is between you and the RCMP to work out who gets what share when they come knocking.

There are many all-grain brewing equipment manufacturers and lots of equipment for brewing beer on the market. If you buy quality, it is expensive. People are spoiled for choice if they know what they are doing. Herein lies the problem - you need to know what you are doing! Short of learning from an expert or enrolling in beer school, it takes time, trial and error, and lots of learning to work out the best way for brewing beer from grains.

The innovation of the Grainfather is that it is a highly affordable, all-in-one system, for producing an excellent quality wort that you can ferment in the ways you prefer. It also drastically reduces your learning time and eliminates many costly brewing mistakes.

The one-pot brew system may not even be the most innovative around because there's been many that copied the approach and tried to improve on it. Some may also claim that not even Grainfather can be credited for coming up with the approach, although Kiwi's have been known for their innovation in all kinds of industries.

What struck us about the Grainfather is the innovation that Bevie put into the control of the brewing process. The smarts are in the software, not the pot! It offers the ability to a brewer to dial in an exact recipe and then execute it flawlessly, with a built-in controller, and the help of a mobile app on their phone or iPad.

Good brewing's foundation is precision and repeatability. Couple this with good ingredients, great water, and perfect fermentation, and you are on your way to consistently delicious craft-style beer and the envy of the neighbourhood. Not only do you get to execute the brewing tasks flawlessly, but you can also collaborate with other users, all over the world, on recipes and outcomes so that you have a massive database of brewing information on hand for your perfect beer. It gives new meaning to brewing with your mates!

Apparently, Bevie also has an answer for fermenting and serving your beer and provides you with another shortcut by having portion perfect fresh ingredient packs ready for a variety of standard brews. That is a story for another time.  

Observations


The brewing process is getting hacked. People are now liberated to brew their own craft quality beer consistently from grains with simple equipment and software that not only dramatically reduces the learning curve but assist in controlling the quality of the execution.

I don't want my beer to be made for me. If I did, I will just go and buy it from the next brewery or liquor store. I want to make my own beer, simply, affordably, consistently, and deliciously from available ingredients. That is what true beer liberation is about.

There are no gimmicks with the Grainfather offering a "one-push button dark magic beer brewing box". It is old-fashion grain brewing done right. They should have called it the "BigBrother" of beer. The whole solution comes in under $1,000 with free support and an ever growing database of brewing/distilling knowledge and beer recipes. It allows you to make a batch of 23 litres of beer with the ingredients of your choice.

Herein lies the problem. We want to brew more during the few weekly hours we can dedicate to this delicious hobby. Apparently, Bevie is working on a system that can do three times the volume of the existing Grainfather, and it will likely still be an electric system you can use in your shed. Yeehaaa!

The Two Cowboys has been on a journey for the last three years to liberate our beer. Bevie is giving us another option with the Grainfather to get closer to drinking what we make ourselves. We cannot wait to tell you what more they have installed for average people like us, on our beer and do-it-yourself journey.

Hendrik
Brewing Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Smart Pot! 

One Pot

Learning Fast!



Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Hot Chefs, Cool Beats, and a Good Cause with Alberta Pork in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Ode to The Chef


"My happiest place is when I am "in-the-moment". The world can go by when I am in the kitchen. Cooking makes me whole. It is my passion and purpose. It is what I am and what I do.

I am amazed by the chemistry and the intricate processes that take place when food ingredients are combined with energy. My knowledge and skill transform it into culinary perfection. I have no care in the world other than to watch steak grilling, sauce thickening, cake rising, and pork crackling transform into golden crispy bits of sunshine. 

My moments are complete when I witness precise olfactory, taste and visual symphonies of well-plated food. It becomes a magnum opus of culinary glee to see it, an experience that is only topped by the primal moans of pleasure coming from a loyal patron as they bite into a course I carefully prepared. 

This is what I am dedicating my life to. It is my vocation."

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Hot Chefs Cool bEats


We recently attended the "Hot Chefs Cool bEats" event in Edmonton, courtesy of our partner Alberta Pork. It featured interactive food stations from Edmonton's top culinary talent. Attendees could also sample wine, beer, & spirits from Canadian wineries, local craft breweries and distilleries. If that wasn't enough, it included performances from DJs, dancers, street performers, and live musicians.

The initiative began in 2011 as a fundraiser for The High School Culinary Challenge's Canadian Culinary Fund, and after a short break, it was back with a new home at Edmonton's Mosaic Centre and a restricted guest list of 200 privileged patrons. It meant that not only was the food top-class, there was also enough so that you didn't go home hungry or thirsty. Most importantly, it introduced you to some of Edmonton's more innovative chefs and their talents. You could sample a variety of the best creations like litchi moose, mini ice cream cone tacos, pork on a bun, and more.

Some of the highlights for the Cowboys were the Pork Coppa and Prosciutto made by the young chefs Peter Keith (himself an alumni beneficiary of the scholarship) and Will Kotowicz of Meuwly's Charcuterie, Sausage and Preserves. They promised us it was only BertaPork! Then there was Scott Downey from the ButternutTree's deep-fried Canadian moss. If we knew that these vegetables were so delectable, we would forage our forests until they are empty! Apparently, the moss was from Back East.

However, the start performance of the evening was Paul Shufelt's (The Workshop Eatery, Edmonton) collaboration on a Wagyu Holstein Beefetta. It wasn't pork. However, it was BertaBeef, and so they were forgiven for rekindling our love for meat on a stick. You just needed a large stick for this one and a massive appetite! They did promise us a suckling pig for next year, to honour their loyal sponsor, Alberta Pork.

All proceeds from ticket sales and silent/live auctions benefitted the Canadian Culinary Fund and its main program, The High School Culinary Challenge, so it was all for a good cause.

Observations


Being a chef is not an easy job, and to venture into the culinary industry requires guts and you to be a little bit crazy. It is a lifestyle and a vocation that continues to draw attention for its opportunity, but also for the harshness, low wages, and extreme physical and mental demands on the individual.

Contrary to the glitz and glee of television programs like MasterChef, it is far from glamorous. Most of what chefs do is monotonously droned behind the scenes, in hot holes, spending long hours with equally weird and crazy people feeding the masses with basic fair. Only a few become "rock star chefs". Even less survive as small businesses and entrepreneurs.

However, the culinary industry provides endless opportunity for creativity, learning and mastery. These are the opportunities that the Canadian Culinary Fund attempts to unlock for young people when they introduce and lure them into the possibilities in preparing food.

We salute them for it and congratulate them on a Hot Chefs Cool bEats event that set the bar high. We look forward to the next one. We travel the world for food, and we are entitled to our opinions. Edmonton's chefs should get more attention. They surprised us. It will get more from the Two Cowboys for sure if this is the standard we can expect.

Now, if only there were more pork...

Hendrik
Alberta Pork's Cowboy

P.S. We thank our partner Alberta Pork for making this work possible. Now, go eat more pork!

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


On a Plate

Moss Discovered

Canadian Ceviche

Double Trouble

Epic!


Monday, April 22, 2019

Movies and Eiffel Tower Burgers at the French Toast Coffee and Cafe in Hartbeespoort, South Africa

In the Moment

People in South Africa are forever trying to escape reality. 

Caught between yearning for a greater tomorrow and memories of a much better past, they are masters at creating a different world from the one they have and perpetuating cliches about times and places they would rather be. 

It is probably the only place on the planet where you can have a hotdog better than one in New York, pizza that is done better than in Italy, and Swiss cheese made better than in Switzerland. It only fits then that you also have a little bit of Paris in Hartbeespoort that is in some respects better than the real deal.

It is called the French Toast Coffee Cafe.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


South Africans are an industrious bunch. Regardless of geographic isolation and years of culture detachment and division, they don't shy away from the challenge to innovate and create something in the image of what they think it should be.

They are masters of cliche. If they think Texas is about barbeque, then they will make it more barbeque than Texas. If they believe Paris is about love, South Africans will make it more about love than it can ever be. If they think the French eat French Toast burgers, then that is what you will get at a French-themed coffee shop in Harties, and it is likely to be better than even the best French Culinary Master would be able to make.

On our recent trip to South Africa, we met up with our long-time friend and fellow movie maker, Paul Kruger. He is the maker of the Eiffel Burger, proprietor and creator of the French Toast Coffee Cafe, and initiator of a series of destination-themed dining and weekend experiences in Hartbeespoort Dam.

His business came about because Paul's invested in movie sets. Hartiwoodfilms, another of his companies, is responsible for a mini-renaissance in Afrikaans language movies with successful productions such as Liefling, Pretville and you guessed it - French Toast! The dining experiences became an extension of the movie brands, and the investment he made in the film settings was repurposed to continue beyond the movies.

While the movies were doing a phenomenal job at exploiting the cliches in the Afrikaner mind, Paul seized the opportunity to turn an average financial return from moviemaking in a small and niche market, into a popular merchandising and destination themed-experience goldmine. Disney's been doing it forever. Trust a South African to try and do it better!

If his Eiffel Burger and the line-up of people waiting to be served on weekends is a testimony to his success, I think Paul hit the jackpot.

Making Milkshakes


Paul showed us how to make his monster Eifel Tower burger at French Toast Coffee Cafe.

We tried to finish one while we discussed the perils of entrepreneurship and owning a business in a country ready to confiscate your property at any moment. "It is about job creation", Paul said. The more people you include and involve in your enterprise in South Africa the more people can have an opportunity to benefit from your work.

While government corruption in South Africa is as rampant, as it usually is in the developing world, the ultimate focus for these businesses and their entrepreneurs, on the ground, is job creation and upliftment. Regardless of the country's difficult circumstances, and the hardship of movie makers and content producers to get paid in South Africa as it is anywhere in the world, Paul convinced us that there are still opportunities with the right approach.

In his own words, "I make movies to sell milkshakes". Herein lies the most important lesson for us, the Two Cowboys. It should be a lesson for most fellow content producers. We should use our content production and promotional power to sell our own 'milkshakes'!

Observations


There is merit in trying to convince clients of the power of good online content's ability to build their businesses and promote their products or services. However, it's getting harder and harder for us, as content producers to make a business of it.

Instead, the value of good production and storytelling have been destroyed as a result of factors such as the proliferation of high-quality cameras, the ease of basic editing tools, online self-publishing and an avalanche of social and other media content. Even robots are in on the act of stitching together a few images, music and some text in a 'video' or a news 'article' for so-called publishers.

Gone are the true journalists, producers, directors, editors and publishers. Now, 'anyone' can be a writer, videographer and a publisher, and the real professionals are poorer because of it. So is the audience when their intelligence is insulted, and their time wasted. However, that is a story for another time.

As marketers, we know that good and well-made content, delivered to the right audience, works to build a business, sell wares, engage customers, entice prospects, and grow a brand. In a world where advertising and promotions moved online, a successful business has no choice but to have good, engaging, positive, informative, authentic and well-produced content, and lots of it. It gets and holds customer attention.

Having no content is fatal when a prospect's attention comes at a premium. Simply, out-screaming your opposition no longer works either. Audiences merely click or swipe away. Poor content like bad reviews, meh pictures, amateurish or meaningless slow motion feel-good music videos on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, is equally compelling in destroying budgets and damaging brands.

For an excellent example of how not to do it, have a look at Tourism Associations' online marketing efforts. They are the last to discover how a colossal and useless waste of time and money meaningless feel-good content is for marketing. It is because they don't spend their own cash on it. If it was their own money they would have already been confronted by reality, and most probably fired their social media managers and supposed 'content' departments and 'influencers'.

With online media consolidating, the Facebooks and Googles of the world are again making it harder for businesses to get access to, and communicate with prospective customers. There are solid examples and their own admission of how they actively force businesses to buy the attention of prospects. They do it by lowering search rankings and limiting content access within people's social media feeds. Heck, they are even paid to manipulate national elections!

Unless a business is prepared to put out for a few AdWords or pay for Boosting a post, you can kiss communicating with your prospective and existing customers goodbye. These companies are not in the business of giving you free access to prospects, and they are not charities. Look at their profits. Selling access to users' attention is how they make their money! When you spend money for eyeballs with these elephants, you better be sure that the eyeballs you get have something enjoyable, engaging, and informative to see.

We predict that there will be a time again when access to an audience becomes so expensive that businesses will no longer hesitate to invest in good quality content to draw and keep prospects' attention. Then there will be demand again for good content producers like the Two Cowboys.

Until that happens, we should use our capabilities to produce content about, and sell our own milkshakes, burgers, beard oil, brewing ingredients, tours, cabins and RV's. That is why a movie guy became a milkshake guy.

We congratulate Paul for setting the example.

Hendrik
Milkshake Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Paris, Really?!

Movie Making

Tourist

Movie Maker

Heartburn!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Dogs are Getting Groomed - Not Cowboys - at Country Suds in Greenwood, BC

Lifestyle Change


What if the end is only the beginning?

People are often confronted with significant changes and choices in life. We've all been through it. The start of a new job, the loss of a friend, sickness. Moving away from home or moving in with someone you love. Buying a car or choosing a house. Starting of a new business. Some changes are forced upon us due to circumstances. Others, we do to ourselves. 

Whenever a significant change occurs, we are confronted with at least two perspectives. The one view is a feeling of loss, decline, powerlessness, and the lack of control. The other a sense of gain, re-birth, strength, and a new beginning. 

It doesn't matter how small or large the change is. The key to success in life is how well we deal with changes. How good are we at moving away from what we had, towards something new? 

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Nature is in a constant cycle of decline and renewal. It should be natural to us as humans too to easily let go of the old and to welcome the new. Why is it so hard then for people to embrace the same fluidity of life?

It is because we trap ourselves in temporal illusions. Our imagination creates time, circumstances and places in distorted realities. In our silliness, we fear losing things long gone, while holding on to things that may never be. Our perspectives define our reality. The hardest task then is to tie our reality down to the truth of where we are now and what we need to give up to move forward.

When we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that every change is a goodbye to get a hello, an end for a beginning, letting go for something new. Without this realization, we risk being trapped in an illusory twilight of despair. It will destroy our spirit if we cannot say goodbye. We won't have a future if we do not say hello.

Greenwood


Greenwood City in British Columbia has been saying goodbye since 1918 when the copper mine and smelter closed. It's been saying goodbye for such a very long time that it became trapped in a very real twilight of despair and decay. Old buildings crumbled, people moved away, and businesses left town despite the city seeing an average daily traffic pattern over 3,000 vehicles during the summer months (Traffic Patterns, 2011). It may well be on the road to oblivion like its predecessors Phoenix, Bridesville, Sidley, and others if it doesn't embrace a future.

Because of the city's rich history and its record resistance to change, Greenwood also attracted people fearful of letting go. You can see it in the junk of the yard collections. The failed upkeep of its small houses, and the prevailing rust of the old clunkers in the driveways.

We think that Greenwood and the area are poised for change and on the verge of a millennial renaissance. It is the right time now for the City to move towards its tomorrow as more and more people drop out of big-city life, avoid daily commuting, expensive mortgages, and having too much meaningless stuff.

Greenwood could and should say hello to young families, college graduates, entrepreneurs, crafters, makers, small houses, new buildings and people that embrace lifestyle, simplicity and old-school authentic values. The mine won't give it a future. Instead, it should court producers, makers, and telecommuters - the foundation of a new economy.

The last thing Greenwood needs is a Mickey D's on the corner, Starbucks or a Safeway parking lot. Instead, it requires a butcher, doctor, grocer, candymaker, woodworker, cabinet maker, knifemaker, weaver, and it needs more people that realize that it is an affordable place to work and live - really live. It has the required vehicle traffic. Greenwood just needs to give people more reasons to stop, and some will even choose to bring their dreams, hobbies, businesses and jobs to stay.

Observations


Tammy Bowering moved to Greenwood and established her Country Suds Dog Grooming in 2018. She just realized that Greenwood has dogs that need grooming. Her love for dogs compelled her to say hello to her future, and she started her small grooming business. It's been growing steadily, and we are proud to feature her as part of our portfolio of Boundary Country stories.

Tammy is so passionate about the future of the City that she is now heading the Greenwood Board of Trade. It is an organization that was incorporated in 1899, just two years after the city itself was incorporated. The chief goal of the Greenwood Board of Trade is to promote economic and community development, networks with local and regional businesses, and to provide small business support.

The Cowboys are glad that we can throw in our support too for the future prosperity of Greenwood. It gives another opportunity for people to find a better way to work and live in the Boundary Country of British Columbia. It is a chance for us to have our chosen lifestyle.

Hendrik
Boundary Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


City Hall

Powder Room

Grooming

Doggy Love!

Doggy Wash!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sitting Out the Alberta Winter with Fried Chicken and Spiked Frulattes at Marv's in Black Diamond, Alberta

Worth the Trip


The Cowboys have a few favourite ways to pass the time when it is cold outside. 

One way is to visit friends in Alberta to do some home-style cooking. Marv Garriott, the owner of Marv's Classic Soda Shop and Diner, invited us to Black Diamond for such a visit. He wanted to tell us more about his special fried chicken and unique peanut butter burgers. We had a little surprise installed for him too with a spiked Frulatte!

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Winter is a particular time in Canada. Canadians find all kinds of ways to make the most of the snowy, frosty season. Ice Hockey, Ice Fishing, Skiing and Sledding are a few of the activities that make winter exciting and bearable. You also have the festivities of Christmas Markets and the Holidays that precede the big freeze.

However, by late February and early March, the novelty of winter has worn off. Canadians become grumpy and start to look for something new to do. These are also the hardest months for some of Canada's tourism-related small business owners. People avoid travelling when it is cold. It means that business is slow during the mid-winter months.

If you are in locations outside the main centres, you are hit harder. As a business owner, you really have only two options during this time. Either, you shut your doors and sit it out, or you find ways to draw attention to your store with something new or unique.

A fifties diner is not new or unique. However, Marv managed to add his own personal style to this iconic attraction in small-town Black Diamond. During the Summer months, weekends are busy when people stop for a malt shake, ice cream and his unique hotdogs, sodas and burgers.

During winter things are really slow. It is then that Marv comes up with new recipes and twists on old favourites like his trusty crispy fried chicken. According to Marv, it takes a little longer to properly prepare his chicken. That is why it is not on the menu during the busier summer months. He reserves the chicken for the slower winter months instead. It is hearty and worth the trip to have produce that he sources locally, brine, bread and cooks personally, for his loyal customers.

Observations


We've often seen in Canada that small business close down during the winter months. They do it to preserve cash and to prepare for when the warmer season starts again. It has a knock-on effect for others in the community. When small businesses close their doors, even if it is temporary, then casual staff go without wages, local producers don't sell their produce, and destinations don't attract visitors.

Surely, this cannot be good for their communities. Kudos to Marv for staying open and supporting his local clientele. All we can ask is that you give him a hand by stopping by for some fried chicken or burger, and a milkshake. Who knows, you may also be able to have a yummy Frulatte to remind you of the approaching summer? In the mid of winter, we know, it is a welcome reminder.

Hendrik
Frulatte Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Classic

Burger Filming

Burger Making

Frulatte, Eh!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Many New Beginnings and Constant Innovation at New Beginnings Toffees and Caramels in Pretoria

Balance


A small business owner lives in two worlds. The one forces him or her to standardize, systematize and consolidate for efficiency. The other calls on constant innovation and change to try and out-manoeuvre competitors and market demands. 

A small business owner is usually good at one of these. At New Beginnings Toffees, it is the latter that stands out. Jan Snyman is always busy with something new. His adventures have one thing in common, delicious toffees and unique chocolate caramels!

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


The challenge for a small business owner is to have the right balance in efficiency and innovation. Efficiency is not always tolerant of changes. By doing something in a standard way and scaling it, there are opportunities to increase profitability. Innovation presupposes change and is a very demanding partner that tends to destroy efficiency and gobble up capital. Sometimes, and more often than not, this means that profitability becomes a casualty.

The two are in a dance that is not always obvious to entrepreneurs. These are people that favours the latter, else they would not have bothered to start the business in the first instance. It is a 'chicken and egg' situation. Innovation drives growth, but efficiency drives the bottom line. Being profitable allows further innovation.

The key to the right priority is to know where in the business cycle you find your business. If it is a new business, and the industry allows it, and you have the capital and resources, then innovation should get priority. If it is an established business in a mature industry, it is usually better to consolidate and standardize to achieve efficiency and improved profitability.

The trouble with an entrepreneur is that they usually favour one. Either efficiency or innovation drives them. That is why it is essential as a business owner to recognize your strengths and realize that it has a place in the cycle of the success of your business. It can also quickly become the downfall if you do not temper or supplement your focus to establish important priority on either efficiency or innovation at the right time.

Observations


New Beginnings Toffees is a remarkable business that grew mainly from a necessity for Jan to have a second career. It provided an innovative confection play-pen to him and his partner, Joelean. The result is a substantial array of unique and traditional toffee-chocolate-caramel flavours, creative packaging, promotional positioning and marketing strategies. It is indeed something we have not yet encountered on our travels across the world. It is unique!

The business manufactures and distributes exclusive hand-made confectionary for select retailers, corporate gifting, hospitality industry, wedding favours and markets.

Jan cannot help himself but to continually explore the next possibility within his product development. He certainly landed a few of our favourites like the Turkish Delight Caramel and Treacle Toffee. It is encouraging to see his enthusiasm for creating the next "big" thing.

Unfortunately, South Africa has seen a series of casualties in strong confectionary brands. The toffees that did survive are no longer of the quality they used to be. We can only hope that Jan finds the magic recipe for successfully distributing his delicious products to step into the shoes of those that have gone before him.

Here is to wishing him and Joelean all the success they can handle. May we one day taste a new beginning for toffee-chocolate-caramels all over the world thanks to the work and dedication of New Beginnings Toffees in far-off South Africa.

We hope to have a maple syrup version we can take to Canada, the next time we see him ;-)

Hendrik
Sweet Cowboy

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Photos

Toffee TV

Hand-Made

Guilty Pleasures

Many, Many Flavours

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A Coffee Drinking Chicken and Breakfast Blueberry Gin at the Magoebaskloof Farmstall and Cafe, South Africa

Coffee Pit Stop

Life happens while you are making other plans!

While trying to escape the humid Lowveld summer heat of South Africa's Limpopo Province, we were in dire need of a good coffee. It's been several days since we've seen an espresso as we were heading up Magoebaskloof. Halfway up the pass, we passed a cafe sign and immediately decided to turn off the main road to inspect further. 

What we found proved to us, as we've discovered many, many times before, that when you travel, you should turn off the main road and prepare for the truly extraordinary discoveries. This time, we found great coffee, learned about a brewery, fed a pet goat, made cheese, and had blueberry gin for breakfast.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Harry and Agie are the owners of the new Magoebaskloof Farmstall and Cafe. You cannot miss the venue on the side of the picturesque Magoebaskloof pass, between Polokwane and Tzaneen. It is a farm stall stocked with local produce and a whole lot of heart and passion. You will find wine, gin, vegetables, plants, oils, soaps, pies and a little of everything the people of Magoebaskloof is proudly producing.

Yes, you are reading it right. You can buy alcohol-to-go on the side of the road in South Africa. Not only can you buy local wine, beer and gin, but Harry will also mix you a cocktail or spike your favourite latte for you, any time of the day. We were spoiled when we checked in. The Flatwhite was done correctly, and the locally baked pies were divine. However, it was the blueberry gin we had for breakfast that made our visit most memorable.

I think Harry played with Dolphins for a living and Angie, who is Canadian, were catching elephants in the Lowveld when they met. One thing led to another, and now a little Harry is running around the farmstall playing with a pet billy goat, and a big Harry is pulling espresso shots while entertaining tourists and regulars with his stories.

As they say, life happens while you were making other plans. We are glad to see the amount of passion Harry and Angie brought to their fledgeling business, and we wish them all the success they can handle. 

Observations


Turning off for a coffee at a farm stall is usually a reasonably trivial affair. We've stopped many times all over the world for coffee. It is often only about coffee. However, that morning in Magoebaskloof, something as simple as turning off the main road, a handshake, a blueberry gin and a pie later, put us on a completely different path, and a much more exciting journey.

We could have taken the safe, more comfortable option and simply continued towards the next town for a coffee at a familiar stop (which we did do several days later, only to have a disappointing coffee). Instead, our visit that morning with Harry lead us to a brewery, we discovered a fantastic camping spot by a river, we attended a local food festival, made cheese at an organic farm, ate a divine lamb pie, discovered cream cheese samoosas, and had a goat curry with mielie pap.

What it taught us again, even as seasoned travellers, is that you have to turn off the main road for your coffee. You have to say 'yes' to what is new and unfamiliar, and be prepared to experience and discover. If you do, life will gloriously happen. It will unfold around you with experiences you could never have imagined, even if you were trying to plan it.

Here is our Two Cowboys top tip about our visit to Magoebaskloof Farmstall and Cafe; "Go! Travel! Turn off the main road. Have a coffee. Introduce yourself. Say 'yes' to what happens next and enjoy the journey because life happens even if you make other plans. All you have to do is be ready to discover."

Buckle up and get ready for the ride.

Hendrik
Travelling Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Cappuchicken!

Breakfast

On the Road

Harry!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Eating Mopane Worms, Biltong, Pang and Pap at ATKV - Klein Kariba in Bela-Bela, South Africa

Coming Home


While Canada is in the middle of winter’s icy grip, we decided to head south towards the sun and to explore and rediscover our homeland of South Africa. After eighteen years away, not much has changed, yet everything is different. 

It is the start of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 


Biltong Potjie at ATKV - Klein Kariba.

Township Tour - Bela Bela

Wildlife Safari

Pang!


Toeka se Dae

Cooking at the Koswerf

DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Coming to South Africa is coming full circle for the Cowboys. This is where it all started. We were born South African and grew up during some of the more turbulent times in the country's recent history. In 2001 we set out to see the world and broaden our horizons. We are still on that journey, and it is ironic to come home eighteen years later to find it a place very much the same as the one we've left behind, yet very different - good different - in many respects.

The international perspective of South African travel is mainly negative due to news coverage about safety, corruption, and ongoing conflict. It is an out-of-the-way destination with concerns for the traveller. It is why the destination is unfortunately frequently moved to the bottom of the travellers' priority bucket-list.

Mexico is similar in that it offers phenomenal vacations and experiences to travellers and at the same time it is also marred by adverse news reporting related to safety and corruption. The difference is that Mexico succeeded in positioning its travel and tourism products by addressing these concerns. They've done it through all-inclusive packaging, offered to the travel trade, and marketed accordingly. Travellers' concerns are addressed through "white-glove" handling in a controlled manner, from the moment they step off the aeroplane until they are safely back at the airport's departure hall.

South Africa offers as much, if not more, at an equally competitive rate. Wildlife, culture, cuisine, natural beauty, history, human capital and yet, it hasn't even started to fire up its tourism machinery. It lacks packaged products that overcome travellers' concerns and that are competitively positioned and highly rated. If you compare its positioning and messaging to other similarly developing world destinations, it definitely has the opportunity. It is now merely a matter of South Africans grasping it.

The Two Cowboys hope that we can play a small role in promoting this unique destination, its businesses and its people. We will be sharing content about our experiences. With our travel partners, we will be bringing you along for an incredible journey.

This is how our tour of South Africa started at one of the happy places we enjoyed as children, ATKV's - Klein Kariba Resort in Bela-Bela.

ATKV - Klein Kariba


Klein Kariba has a lot to offer as a typical South African family resort. It is a beautiful setting close to the main cities of Gauteng, with great weather, wildlife, beautiful camping, chalets, glamping tents, and hot and cold swimming pools. It has been a must-do family vacation spot for as long as we can remember. The resort continues to be a local favourite. Weekends and holidays are packed with visitors. Some have been patrons for generations.

I know the place well. After frequent trips tenting there during the early 1990s, I eventually wooed and married my wife at Klein Kariba, 26 years ago.

Our favourite spot at the resort, then and it still is now, must be the restaurant, Koswerf. “Koswerf” is the Afrikaans term for an outdoor kitchen or cooking area. This one is unfortunately mainly indoors. However, with the beautiful weather of the Waterberg Region, there is ample opportunity, all over the resort, to partake in cooking outdoors. Wherever you turn, the iconic cultural pastime called "braai" (cooking over an open fire outdoors) happens spontaneously, every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We were fortunate to be hosted by Riaan Maritz and his team. They reluctantly handed us the keys to the pantry, and we kicked off our week cooking up a storm in the Koswerf’s kitchen. On our menu was a Cuban-style Arepa with a South African Peri-Peri Chicken Livers and Mango-Salsa twist. To round it off, we were introduced to the local tropical passionfruit samba sensation of Pang!! (more about this later).

In turn, they reciprocated with a Biltong Potjie (a risotto-like stew made with a lot of cream and cheese, and cooked over an open fire). We lubricated festivities with Caipirinhas as it was our turn to quench the thirsts.

When you visit ATKV - Klein Kariba, the resort has a lot to offer at its facilities. However, it is easy to miss some of the many attractions and other rich offerings of the Bela-Bela area. Klein Kariba sees its responsibility not only to be a destination of choice but to also encourage visitation around the area. That is why Riaan introduced us to M Court Township Tours. They afforded us an eye-opening opportunity to experience some of the curiosities that make up everyday life in a typical township in South Africa. We even tasted the local beer they brew (no license or permit required) and ate mopane worms and pap!

We visited one of the more popular "Padstalle" (roadside shops) called "Toeka se Dae". Here we were treated to freshly baked bread, home-made ginger beer, biltong, and enormous cold and crispy koeksisters.

Do you remember Pang?

What if we told you that we discovered absolute passionfruit gold just outside the gates of ATKV Klein Kariba? Chances are that if you ate anything real passionfruit-related in South Africa or Europe, then Stilhoek Boerdery had something to do with it. They are one of the largest passionfruit producers in South Africa. Nine months in the year they are shipping their products all over the country and some export markets.

It doesn’t stop there, they also bottle the passionfruit pulp with a swig of vodka and call it Pang! The range expanded from there with Mango, Strawberry and even a spicy JalapeƱo, as its popularity grew in the local cocktail consuming market. Klein Kariba is fortunate to offer this locally produced godly elixir at the resort, where it is popular with their younger patrons during the summer holidays ( (legal drinking age, of course!).

Observations


After eighteen years away not much has changed, yet everything is different. Klein Kariba still feels like home to us. However, it is apparent that it evolved in that it reached out to play an increasingly important and more inclusive role in the more diverse local communities of Bela-Bela.

After decades, during which people in a changing South Africa treated each other with animosity and suspicion, it is evident that those that are reaching out to each other, are the ones making a positive difference in their community. Klein Kariba is the main attraction, yet it collaborates with local entrepreneurs and businesses across the spectrum to lend a hand and facilitate success for others too. Business is always more natural when people work together. Those that discover it early continues to prosper.

We are enthused to see that our home language - Afrikaans - is treasured by everyone, even more than we remembered. Yet, everyone is welcome if you speak English, Zulu, German, Cantonese or another language. The South African culture of food, friendliness and hospitality is found around every corner, and the beautiful wildlife setting of the resort’s facilities remains absolute and intoxicating.

Klein Kariba is for everyone. We cannot highlight this single feature enough. Yes, the people of South Africa knows it well and loves it. It is such a gem that they will be forgiven to try and keep it to themselves. However, we hope we can entice the world to come and see it too. We are so proud to be home and proud of what we see and experience, that we want to share it with the world.

Enjoy our programming and see what makes this such a great place to visit. Then, book your ticket and see for yourself. Come for the food, the wildlife, the weather. Above all,  meet the great people of Klein Kariba and Bela-Bela. You may just find us here as well.

We are glad to be home, again!

Hendrik
Wandering Cowboy!

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Photos

All Over the World - of South Africa!

Boere Cuban Arepa

Koeksister!

Uber Africa!

Bushlab

New Friends

Fans of the Cowboys!