The 14th South African Cheese Festival opens today, and runs over the next three days, with more than 30000 visitors expected. Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde will open the Festival today, and wants to see Western Cape cheese the focus of our country’s cheese industry, and that it be exported.
Two records have already been set for the 2015 Cheese Festival: it has the highest number of exhibitors ever, and the largest amount of space dedicated to cheese exhibitors in the history of the Cheese Festival. The Cheese Festival is so popular that tickets for today and tomorrow are sold out already.
Visitors to the Cheese Festival will be introduced to new cheeses, and can enjoy cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, and meet personalities:
* In Dairy Square the Checkers Cheese Emporium has been set up. In the Checkers Market Theatre Checkers cheese spokesperson Nataniël, Giggling Gourmet Chef Jenny Morris, Sarie Food editor Herman Lensing, and Kokkedoor Season 2 winner Johnny Hamman and runner-up Marius Uys will cook up a storm.
* In the Gourmet Lane food is available from pop-up restaurants and food trucks.
* In the Afrox Cooking Pot Chef Nic van Wyk of bistro 13 (in association with Stellenbosch Vineyards), Chef Johan van Schalkwyk, Chef Craig Cormack, and the Kokkedoor Season 2 chefs Johnny Hamman and Marius Uys will demonstrate the preparation of special dishes. Pairings of chocolate, cheese, and Pinotage, and of Sauvignon Blanc, chocolate, and cheese, will also be offered.
* A new feature will be a collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, being a focus on ‘Cape Made: Taste the Alternatives’, seeking to showcase and promote alternative products and crops from the Western Cape, such as pomegranates, olives, nuts, persimmons, honey, mushrooms, herbs, sour figs, and Rooibos tea.
Minister Winde said the Cheese Festival is an excellent platform to ‘promote our local niche markets and influence consumers to try something new and at the same time, support our local produce‘. He added: ‘Western Cape cheese is by far my favourite cheese and judging by its popularity on shopping market shelves, this holds true for many South Africans. It is my hope that one day, Western Cape cheese will be sought after across the globe’.
South African Cheese Festival, Agri-Expo, Sandringham, off the N1 on R304, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 975-4440 www.cheesefestival.co.za. Twitter: @SACheeseFest Tickets at R130 from Computicket, and Shoprite and Checkers stores. No tickets at the entrance. 25 – 27 April, 10h00 – 18h00.