Taste, eat, drink and play to your heart’s desire at the SA Cheese Festival, taking place from Saturday 24 until Tuesday 27 April at Bien Donné on the R45 between Paarl and Franschhoek. This fabulous foodie event sets the scene for an intimate yet festive get-together between cheesemakers, food artisans and those who simply adore the good life. Bring the whole family for a fun-filled day in the countryside surrounded by the most sumptuous eats and treats.
Cheese to choose
The Checkers Cheese Emporium houses the country’s largest selection of cheese under one air cooled 2 400 m2 roof. Strong and bold or familiar and mild – your choice of cheese will be there. The Checkers Food Theatre will come alive with Nataniël’s razor-sharp wit, while the Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris and YOU magazine’s food editor Carmen Niehaus will captivate you with their imaginative cheese recipes. Free tickets to the Nataniël sessions can be obtained daily on a first-come-first-served basis from outside the Cheese Emporium.
Choose your cheese and top up your bag or basket with some sweet seducers such as handmade chocolate, Turkish delight, nougat, and sweet or sparkling wines, and you’re set for a taste celebration.
Cooking Pot action
Several of your favourite entertainment, food and other icons will be stirring up a storm in the Cooking Pot. Enjoy the antics of the uproariously funny Soli Philander, or let Sarie and Sarie Kos’s food fundis Herman Lensing and Barbara Joubert, who was recently lauded as the Galliova Food Writer of the Year, share with you the what’s hot of creating with cheese. The Pinotage icon, Beyers Truter, and Johan Badenhorst, presenter of the travel TV programme Voetspore, team up for an adventurous outdoor food and Pinotage demonstration. A combination of quirks and canapés brings RSG presenter Johan Rademan, TV presenter and comedian Nico Nel and outstanding chef Alet Erasmus together. Aperitivo dishes, paired with Peroni will be the speciality of chef Craig Hounsman. Whether you’re a gourmet guru or a closet cook you are sure to enjoy the energy of the Cooking Pot which is by now a legendary hotspot for cheese innovation.
Cool options for busy kids
Kids 12 years and younger enter for free and then the fun and games begin! Expert entertainers will encourage kids of all ages to safely shed some of their energy in the Wilde Fruit Juices Kiddies Corner run by the professional party people, Crazy Chameleon. Life-size cartoon characters of the Boomerang Channel will be sharing hugs and a magician and balloon artists will intrigue the young ones with their tricks. Also bring your kids for an experience of the udderly amazing journey of milk from the cow, goat or sheep to the table while they enjoy being near these peaceful big eyed, four-legged friends in the Renault & Kia Milk Factory.
Shop till you drop
Cheese on its own is a treat but with the right partners it provides for a feast. The new SA Olive Experience in The Mall will allow olive enthusiasts to enjoy this ancient fruit in surprisingly innovative ways – taste the purest olive oils and gleaming black and green table olives, tapenades and even olive jams. Some ten olive producers from as far as Beaufort West, Montagu and Porterville bring you their delicacies, by one producer described as the wonderful gifts of good earth and captured sunshine.
Wine is of course the other constant companion of cheese – taste your way through the many cultivars and then stock your home cellar with your favourites. Make sure you buy enough delectable goodies including nuts, homemade preserves, bread and pesto’s to cater for the rest of your autumn picnics or for chilly winter evenings.
Meet at the Market
Artisan cheese makers who craft superb cheeses using age old methods and lots of patience share this space with special deli products which bring new dimensions to tasting pleasure. Savour the flavours that abound in this laidback country market, do not miss the products in the snail trail and then make your choice: what will you take home? Or unpack your purchases there and then and enjoy them on the shady market square.
Do lunch in the Gourmet Lane
The marvellous variety of tastes and aroma’s emanating from the Gourmet Lane will entice you to settle down and enjoy a bite with the music from the band BRAWOU! accompanying your appetite on this exciting journey. Don’t forget to browse in the herb nursery and buy some to take home for your cheese cooking and pairing adventures.
Festival goes green
The organisers of the Cheese Festival are also committed to the ‘greening’ of the event. To this purpose the contracted stand builders are strongly associated with the green movement in their industry and annually recycle their products. Furthermore a group from previously disadvantaged community in Franschhoek was invited to sort and recycle all waste from the festival and then benefit from the profits derived from the effort.
Cheese Festival on www.
Try your luck at winning tickets to the festival as well as hampers with cheese and cheese related goodies by entering the weekly online competition at www.cheesefestival.co.za. Are you a Facebook fan? Then why not join the Cheese Festival Facebook community by sharing your Cheese Festival pictorial memories or simply become a much cherished follower.
Buy your tickets now
A limited number of tickets are available from Computicket or Checkers stores (no tickets at the gate) at R110 for Saturday and Sunday, and R90 for Monday and Tuesday. Senior citizens pay R70 and children 12 years and younger enter for free. The festival runs each day from 10:00 to 18:00 and closes the last day at 17:00. For more information contact Agri-Expo on tel 021 975 4440 or email@example.com or visit www.cheesefestival.co.za.
Find accommodation for this event at Cape Winelands accommodation.