Festival goers can prepare themselves for an extraordinary experience with the celebration of the 15th South African Cheese Festival from 30 April to 2 May at Sandringham, Stellenbosch. The festival is known as the biggest outdoor culinary event in Southern Africa and received the platinum award for “Best exhibition in Southern Africa” in 2015.
With the SA Cheese Festival in the Spotlight, cheese lovers can look forward to a collection of more than thirty tons of cheese, new product offerings, exquisite entertainment and of course good food, wine and music.
Cheese is the focus of the festival and visitors can taste and buy the widest variety of cheese, from well-known types like cheddar, gouda and feta to the more exotic, hand-made boutique- and artisanal cheeses in the Checkers Cheese Emporium. The range of cheese is further extended with national and international cheese brands available in the Checkers mini store. Chat to the cheese makers about their unique products or visit the Milk Factory, where the cheese making process starts.
The festival offers a full entertainment programme. In the Checkers Theatre Nataniël, Jenny Morris, Herman Lensing and Jody Theodore will present mouth-watering dishes with only the best quality cheese, meat and wine. The new Cape Made Kitchen, by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, presents a series of culinary food demonstrations with cheese and alternative niche products such as pomegranates, figs, persimmons. These and many other niche products are available at the Cape Made: Taste the Alternatives exhibition. The presenters in the Cape Made Kitchen are The Stellenbosch Private Hotel School and the Institute of Culinary Arts. Another new addition is the Agri-Expo Tasting Room, where Nico Stone of SAB will present a cheese and beer tasting. Festival goers can also increase their knowledge of wine with wine tasting sessions presented by the Chenin Blanc Association and Shiraz SA, or enjoy delicious demonstrations by well-known chefs and food writers Marlene van der Westhuizen, Susina Jooste and Francois Ferreira. The Agri-Expo Mall offers an enjoyable shopping experience with a variety of alternative products to choose from.
There is something for everyone and the annual Ladismith Cheese Carving competition remains a highlight. Create your own masterpiece from a block of cheese and win prizes with your cheese art.
The Gourmet Lane offers a scrumptious selection of food, the little ones can enjoy hours of fun in a safe environment at the Marcel’s kiddies corner and teenagers van chill in their own exclusive area at the Teenzone.
The festival ends off on a high note with the music of Al Bairre and Blackbyrd, exclusive on Monday, 2 May at the Ladismith Music Gazebo. Other bands include Bev Scott-Brown Quartet, Undercover, Absolutely Fab and Late Final.
Tickets are available at any Computicket, Shoprite or Checkers store at R150 per person. Senior citizens pay R100 and children 13 years and younger enter free. No tickets will be available at the gates. The festival times are from 10:00 to 18:00 daily. Sandringham is conveniently located next to the N1, Stellenbosch turnoff 39, between Cape Town and Paarl.