I wasn’t particularly concerned about spending another Valentine’s Day as a single girl (at all, if I’m honest) – my friend and I had Big Plans to spend our Saturday giggling at Fifty Shades then eating chocolate while watching Come Dine With Me and Dinner Date. But then, on behalf of COSMO, I was invited to attend A SINGLE TASTE. You probably haven’t heard of it – I hadn’t until the invitation.
A SINGLE TASTE is one of the cleverest concepts I’ve heard in a while. It’s a dining experience that takes place monthly in Cape Town at a secret location that is only revealed on the morning of the dinner – the anticipation is real. What makes it so different from a normal night out? Well, only single people are allowed to attend. And – get this – there are exact equal numbers of men and women. In what universe does this happen, ever? Certainly not this one. To make sure that numbers are equal, you have to book tickets for both yourself and a friend of the opposite sex – just a friend. That way, you have someone you trust to enjoy the experience with you, and you have a wingman to tell everyone how awesome you are. Ideal!
A SINGLE TASTE doesn’t just throw you into a room full of people and force you to fend for yourself – the organisers go out of their way to make sure you end up meeting the people most compatible with you. Before the event, you have to fill out something very much like a dating profile – the questions range from the basics like name and age to ‘Tell us about the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done,’ or ‘Name the first song that pops into your head.’ It all adds an extra bit of excitement – my friend and I spent a good hour trying to make our profiles sound as not-pathetic as possible (‘If I put “Uptown Funk” people will think I’m quirky and funky, but they’ll also think I love Bruno Mars…’). I’m not entirely sure we succeeded.
On Saturday morning, all the guests were emailed our secret location: The Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town. This is The Cullinan.
I know, right. We were also given an Uber promo code (which, naturally, we used) and we were told to ‘dress well’, because there would be photographers on hand. Any excuse to dress up! At 7pm we arrived at the hotel, and were greeted in the foyer by cocktails and, well, a whole bunch of single people. There’s something kind of cool about being in a room where you know everyone is single – not only that, but open to meeting new people and possibly a relationship. That being said, you’re still totally free from any pressure or obligation.
After schmoozing, cocktails and canapés that looked like this…
…(I KNOW!) we were all lead out onto the pool deck where two long tables were set up for the first course. For this course, we were required to sit boy-girl-boy-girl (think assembly in Grade 2), so we didn’t have to be separated from our friends just yet but we were put in the position to meet other guests. The vibe at each table was amazing. Everyone was talking to everyone, and I quickly realised that even if no romantic relationships were forged, friendships definitely would be. The first course arrived – a mini seafood platter paired with a KWV wine that was introduced by a KWV winemaker. That was followed by a palate-cleanser of rose and coconut sorbet in a chocolate cup – too fancy.
For the second course, everyone was led up to the 7th floor.
This time, we were given assigned seating and separated from our friends, forced to get to know the other people. Everyone was so incredibly friendly and open – it was just a really chilled, pleasant environment. The main course arrived: fillet steak, mash, cauliflower puree, beef ravioli and vegetables paired with another wine. And yes. It did taste as good as it sounds. After dinner, every guest was given two bottles of wine and vouchers just for showing up. That’s right – a present for your presence.
Dessert was aptly named ‘Kid in a Candy Store’. We were all led down to a room filled with sweets and desserts. From sour worms to jelly beans to white chocolate cocktails to crème brulee to an actual chocolate fountain, the ‘candy store’ was better stocked than Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, FACT. There’s something magical about a mingle-session surrounded by walls of sweets. If that could be life every day, I would be a very, very happy girl.
While neither my friend nor I found love in a hopeless place, we met some amazing people over equally amazing food and wine. It was certainly much better to spend Valentine’s Day dining than watching Come Dine With Me. We’d both go back in a heartbeat, and who knows what incredible venue is in store for the next event (a previous one has been hosted in an art gallery!). All I know for sure is that it won’t be your local Burger King.
Interested? A SINGLE TASTE takes place about once a month. If you’re single, love good food and incredible wine and are open to meeting new people in a classy but relaxed environment, consider getting involved in the next one. You can reserve your place at asingletaste.com. There’s no question that you’ll have a really good time, and possibly a couple new contacts in your phone.