South Africans are happiest when they can combine good food (and especially a smorgasbord of locally produced cheese) with time spent with family and friends, and the 16th SA Cheese Festival offers exactly that. For three glorious autumn days (Friday 28 April – Sunday 30 April) cheese lovers will once again converge at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch for their annual rendezvous with all things cheese.
Cheese and more
As always, cheese remains the main focus of this popular festival. Cheese makers from all over the country bring their very best for visitors to taste and stock up on. Be sure to taste the artisan products of first-time exhibitors such as Chechil SA from Bloemfontein, Bettie Bok (West Coast), Milkwood (George) and many more.
Naturally one also needs such foodie goodies as selected wine or beer, freshly baked bread, meaty treats, sweet delights and of course great recipe ideas to perfect the feast.
Shopper’s heaven: buy the widest variety of cheese in the Checkers Cheese Emporium, while the Checkers Food Market, a mini store, will further fill your basket. For lunch you’ll be spoilt for choice in the Gourmet Lane. Be on the lookout for Exclusive Friday Specials (28 April) and new product launches throughout the festival.
What’s new: Allow celebrity chefs Nataniël (brought to you by Checkers), Carmen Niehaus, Errieda du Toit, Haidee Muller, Amore Bekker and others to entertain you with their food know-how in the new Agri-Expo Cooking Pot. Be entertained by cheese experts in the new Agri-Expo Cheesery and get an exclusive opportunity to meet some of the best cheese makers in South Africa from Kleinrivier Cheese, La Montanara, Fairview, Udderley Delicious and Taaibosch Cheese. Stand a chance to own a brand new bakkie – your entry ticket makes you eligible for the Win a Chevrolet UTE Force Bakkie competition sponsored by REEDS (t&c’s apply).
Learn from the best: the chefs of The Private Hotel School will demonstrate a range of specially developed recipe ideas using cheese and alternative niche products such as pomegranates, figs and persimmons in the Cape Made Kitchen (supported by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture). Do not miss the extensive programme taking place in the Standard Bank Tasting Room, including infused wine and cheese tasting sessions by Stellenbosch Vineyards, cheese and wine pairings by Carmién Tea, a discovery of goats milk cheesewith chef Pete-Goffe Wood, and a cheese and beer experience with master brewers Tim Godfrey and Stephan Lotz.
Pure entertainment: live music by the ever-popular Kurt Darren (Friday 16:00 – 18:00) and BlackByrd (Sunday 16:00 – 18:00) will set your feet tapping. Hours of safe fun awaits the little ones in the Kiddies Corner and teenagers in the Teenzone. Test your creativity with the carving knife and create a masterpiece from cheese at the Ladismith Cheese Carving competition.
FIRST EVER CONNOISSEURS EXPERIENCE
Cheese aficionados, who crave a more intimate tryst with cheese and its makers, will do well to book for the unique Connoisseurs Experience for which only 100 daily tickets are available. This VIP ticket will elevate your experience and entitle you to such delights as an exclusive cooking demo with Nataniël, a special mozzarella and feta making demo with Leon the Milkman, a meet & greet opportunity with cheese makers, and a host of complimentary tastings and goodies. Also, enter an hour early via the VIP entrance, and make use of the VIP parking. Make sure you sidestep the happy crowds and enjoy cheese at your leisure. More info on www.cheesefestival.co.za
Tickets are available at Computicket, Shoprite and Checkers at R160 per person per day. Senior citizens pay R100 and children 13 years and younger enter free of charge. No tickets will be sold at the gates. Festival times: 10:00 – 18:00. Sandringham is conveniently located next to the N1, Stellenbosch turn-off (exit 39), between Cape Town and Paarl.
Visit www.cheesefestival.co.za, contact us on tel 021-975 4440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. For competition details and programme highlights, follow us on Facebook (pages/Cheese-Festival), Twitter (@SACheeseFest) and Instagram (sacheesefest).