As you might have picked up from my previous blogs, I am probably the annual South African Cheese Festival’s biggest fan. Every year of my adult life, I save until my piggy bank overflows only to spend it all on my most favourite delectable food items and delicious wines on the big day. This year was no exception, and because I’m so terribly excitable, I decided to share with you my most prized spoils from the fest!
Vredesberg Goats Milk Products
Situated between the beautiful Suurveld and Tsitsikamma, you will find Vredesberg farm just outside the town of Kareedouw. Vredesberg Empowering Farms (Pty) Ltd is a registered black owned agribusiness in the Republic of South Africa. The current product offering from the farm is goat’s milk and goat’s milk cheese, with future intention to increase the basket of offering with yoghurt, ice cream and baby formula.
Literally the new “kid” on the block, this year was Vredesberg’s explosive debut to the Cheese Festival. This stall was hands down my biggest surprise and treasure! I’m usually quite picky when it comes to goat’s cheese, but I had to literally drag myself away from their spread of tasters. Their garlic and herb cream cheese is light and fluffy, but utterly creamy and spreadable, with a dainty hint of herbs. They also boast with a gorgeous range of chévre style cheeses, and my favourites were the Pesto and Italian Herb varieties.
The cheeses pair beautifully with salty pretzel rolls and a fresh, simple salad to compliment the delicate goat’s milk flavour without overpowering it.
Where to find them: http://vredesberg.co.za/
Guzzle and Wolf Gourmet Popcorn
I’m not the world’s biggest sweet tooth, but this! As Guzzle and Wolf promises, I lose all pretences of civilised nibbling and sharing when I have a pack (or two!) of these in hand. I never share my G&W popcorn. Not with anybody!
Guzzle and Wolf always have a big presence and pull at the Cheese Festival and offer tastings of their range of gourmet popcorns to all the hungry visitors. Prepare your taste buds for a sensory adventure as you work your way through flavours like Rosemary & Parmesan, Glazed Honey, Marmite, Coconut & Chia Seeds or Dark Chocolate. My personal favourites? Cinnamon & Pretzel, Salted Caramel and Honey & Sesame.
I’m very much a texture person, so the combination of big, fluffy pillows of flawlessly popped corn covered in crunchy, sweet and salty goodness is pretty much my idea of the perfect treat. I just wish the wolf packs were bigger!
Give them a follow on their Facebook page to get regular updates. They have a factory outlet in Somerset-West and every now and again they sell bargain bags of all their underweight products and off cuts for as little as R10 a pack!
Where to find them: https://guzzleandwolf.co.za/
Westfalia Fruit is a multinational, 12-months-of-the-year supplier of fresh subtropical fruit and related products to international markets. Westfalia grows and sources avocados across the globe, and processes and packs related products such as avocado oil and guacamole in its facilities.
I won’t start rambling on about the health benefits of avocado oil, because I can literally go on for days, but here are a quick few evidence-based facts about this super fruit oil:
- Rich in oleic acid, a very healthy fat
- Reduces cholesterol and improves heart health
- Enhances the absorption of important nutrients
- Improves skin and enhances wound healing
- Neutralizes free radicals
For more health benefits of avocado oil, please click here.
Westfalia Fruits is a veteran of the Cheese Festival, and always one of my first and last stops on the day. I stop there first to sample their deliciously fresh and creamy guacamoles. The range includes plain, spicy, sweet chilli salsa and biltong-flavoured variants. It is Halaal and Kosher certified, and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. These tubs can also be easily frozen at home, so you’re guaranteed to have avo-goodness in the house all year round!
And then I stop there again on the way out to pick up my selection of avocado oils. I was childishly delighted to see the new packaging of the bottles this year; sleek, dark bottles with beautifully colourful labels and gorgeous branding. The range includes plain avocado oil, as well as garlic, lemon, and butter flavours. They always have festival specials, and this year I got my stash of avocado oils for an absolute steal!
Where to find them: http://www.westfaliafruit.com
Alvi’s Drift and Nuy wines
Alvi’s Drift is a 7000 tonne winery in the Breede River Valley and without a shadow of a doubt, one of my most favourite vineyards.
The Alvi’s Drift Signature Viognier 2017 has won Gold in the Gold Wine Awards 2017 and Gold in the Ultra Value Wine Challenge 2017/18. I’m hardly capable of producing tasting notes, but all I know is that this wine is soft, lush, fruity and deliciously juicy. The flavours stay with you long after you’ve finished the glass and reminds of the delicate aroma of ripe stone fruits.
The Alvi’s Drift Signature Chenin Blanc 2017 also won Gold in the Gold Wine Awards 2017 and Gold in the Ultra Value Wine Challenge 2017/18. This is my ideal Chenin Blanc; light in colour, but so complex and full bodied that it guarantees to satisfy even the pickiest Chenin Blanc drinkers. You can immediately pick up the notes of sun-ripened guavas and passion fruit. Heaven in a glass.
Where to find them: https://alvisdrift.co.za/
Nuy Winery is situated in the Nuy Valley at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains in the Western Cape. Nuy wines are like your most loyal friend; the one you gladly take with you to events, always dressed to the nines, has a sparkling personality and is always a hit with everyone. When I’m unsure which wine to serve, I know I can confidently pull out a bottle of Nuy wine and it will be a winner with both the guests and the food I’m serving.
Their Sauvignon Blanc is deliciously grassy and green, with tropical fruit flavours that follow through.
Where to find them: https://www.nuywinery.co.za/
Honorary mention: Beemster Cheese
I’m all about supporting local and proudly South African, but thought to do an honorary mention to Beemster Cheese, another veteran of the Cheese Fest and rightly so. Tucked into the countryside of North Holland, the Beemster is renowned for producing the richest and creamiest milk, which their master cheesemakers use to handcraft Beemster’s award-winning cheeses.
I particularly enjoyed the 4-month and the 10-month aged cheeses.
Where to find them: https://beemstercheese.us/
So, there we go, folks! My top choices from this year’s Cheese Festival. Whether it’s cheese or wine or something delicious that pairs well with either, you can find everything but the kitchen sink at this glorious festival, and allows for a wonderful family day out. I hope to see you all there next year!