After a long hiatus, the newsletter is back. It is intended as a report back of Slow events and notice of future events, with snippets that will be of interest to members.
 
  
  PAST EVENTS  
  
 
 

Sunday, 22 November: End of year get-together and fundraiser

This was held in the clubhouse at Zevenwacht on 29 November 2015. As he had done in previous years, Leon Patterson produced a perfectly cooked lamb spit braai for us. As usual, Slow members excelled themselves providing a superb selection of salads and desserts to accompany and round off the meal.

The meal was followed by a raffle, proceeds of which went to the Peninsula School Feeding Association. There was a magnificent array of raffle prizes generously donated by Slow supporters. And as a result, the sum of R10 000.00 was raised for this worthy cause.

Saturday 29 February, 2016: Visit to Haute Espoir Wine Estate and Three Streams Trout Farm

Haute Espoir is a boutique estate in Franschhoek, run according to biodynamic principles by the mother-and-son Armstrong team. This is a 23 hectare farm, of which 8 hectares are planted with shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc. The remainder of the land is dedicated to fynbos restoration, a riverine ecosystem, olive groves and an organic vegetable garden.

Three Streams Trout Farm, situated next door, is run by the Stubbs family, who have a long history in the fishing industry, dating back to the early 1900s. Gregory Stubbs, the CEO, recognised the need to remove pressure from the ocean's dwindling resources and believed that aquaculture would be the only solution to meet the future seafood demand. He began trout farming in 1986 on the family farm, with aquaculture practices based on the need for responsible and sustainable fish farming. The company is also active in transfer of skills and poverty alleviation in rural areas.

After meeting at Haute Espoir and an introductory wine-tasting, the company was taken to the trout farm, and initiated into the principles of sustainable trout production. Then it was back to the Haute Espoir wine cellar and an excellent lunch prepared by Chris Erasmus of the Franschhoek restaurant Foliage. This consisted of a starter of smoked, cured and tartare trout paired with Haut Espoir wines, followed by a main course of trout wrapped in vine leaves braaied over shiraz vineyard twigs, paired with craft beer. For dessert there were cheese platters with berries, and truffles.

Saturday, 16 April 2016: Visit to Rio Largo olive estate

Rio Largo, Portuguese for ‘Wide River', is situated on the banks of the Breede River, between Worcester and Robertson. Owned by Nick and Brenda Wilkinson, it comprises olive orchards, vines, an olive-specific nursery, and a state of the art OLIOMIO olive processing and bottling plant. They have adopted biological farming methods for sustainable agriculture by “putting more back then you take out", and are concerned with protecting the environment for future generations.

On arrival, we were warmly greeted by Brenda, offered coffee, and initiated into the benefits of extra-virgin olive oil, and how to tell the real thing from the adulterated version (see Brenda's notes below). We then moved to the orchards, where we were given the opportunity to pick olives, before being taken by Nick through the extraction plant and the cold-pressing and filtering process.

Various cultivars are grown on the farm: frantoio, leccino, FS-17 and coratina. All cultivars originate from Italy and are known to complement each other in making up a well-balanced extra virgin olive oil.

Lunch, prepared by Philippa of the Oldfield Kitchen, was served buffet style at long tables in the olive grove. We could help ourselves to a superb selection: Coronation chicken salad; a platter of gammon, Emmental cheese, rocket and homemade sweet mustard; Sicilian caponata; Mediterranean cous-cous; a salad of chargrilled zucchini, halloumi and oven dried tomatoes with basil oil; and another of long stemmed broccoli with green beans and petit pois with citrus and toasted almonds. There was also a selection of freshly baked bread from The Woodstock Bakery. For dessert there was lemon and lime cheesecake with fresh berries. All this was accompanied by wines from the neighbouring Aan De Doorns winery.

After lunch there was the opportunity to buy olive oil, including the beautiful, freshly-pressed, unfiltered oil we had tasted earlier in the processing plant, as well as the wines served with lunch.

Wednesday 18 May 2016: AGM

This took place, as usual, at the Silwood Kitchen. Before the formal business, there was a short talk by Kate Schrire, former committee member of our Slow convivium, and founder of the Mother City convivium. She has since founded, and is director of, The Creamery Ice Cream Company. She gave a fascinating overview of the history of the company and the product development and treated us to tastings of some of the current exciting flavours being produced by The Creamery. These included celery, Mexican chocolate, black sesame, and raspberry with chocolate chip.

The current committee members all agreed to stand for re-election, and were unanimously elected. The committee for the coming year is therefore as follows: Stephen Flesch (Leader and Treasurer), Lorna van Besouw (Secretary), Pat Rademeyer, Cecily van Gend (Newsletter Editor), Anja Sandeman, Erika Reynolds and Janet Steer. This concluded the business for the evening.

Members then enjoyed a supper of Silwood Kitchen curries and sambals, with the latest Slow wine from Remhoogte.

 
     
 

EVENTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO
   

OCTOBER 1:
Tour to the Abalone farm, Heart of Abalone, Hermanus

NOVEMBER 12
:
Year-end lunch: Venue to be decided

 
   
  
  NEWS SNIPPETS  
  
 
Carlo
 
 

Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, paid a two-day visit to Cape town on Tuesday and Wednesday 16 and 17 August.  

On the Tuesday he spoke at The Barn, a community venue near Look Out Hill
in Khayelitsha. Speaking through an interpreter he outlined the history of
the Slow Food movement, which has, since its beginnings in the mid 1980s,
morphed into a powerful advocate for good, clean and fair produce. Currently there is an added drive to inspire the startup of 10,000 food gardens in Africa. Linked to these objectives is the Ark of Taste which, in a race against time, is an attempt to document and preserve traditional foods and recipes.

To succeed, the dream of Community Gardens needs a great deal of energy and commitment, so it was very encouraging to see the enthusiasm of the group of young people in charge of proceedings. Loubie Rusch and Marijke Honig both have an enormous depth of horticultural knowledge and spoke with passion about building an awareness of the importance of diversity, which should have us literally eating our environment while practising sustainability. The audience was invited to taste  dune spinach, spinach bread, trachyandra, nasturtium flowers, wild sage, a nasturtium leaf pesto served with a delicious soup sourced from local veggie gardens as well as organic wine and various flavoured waters.

On the Wednesday, in stunning Cape weather, he was taken on a West Coast trip to enjoy the spring flowers and local gastronomy. Lunch was at Oep ve Koep (now at the new Wolfgat restaurant) in Paternoster, where chef Kobus van der Merwe makes the most of the Strandveld vegetation and produce, incorporating it into the culinary tradition of the West Coast.

Petrini could have had no better introduction to the food needs of our continent than the trip through Khayelitsha. The pavements of Mew Way were heaving with vendors displaying recycled building materials alongside shiny satin double bedsets and row upon row of washing flapping in the sunshine. A sharp contrast to the abundance of the Cape fynbos in bloom, encountered in the West Coast expedition the next day.

For more information on Carlo’s visit to South Africa click HERE or read the article 'Take a leaf from Carlo's wild garden' by Andrew Unsworth published in the Sunday Times Opinion & Analysis on 2016-08-14 HERE.

Slow Food South Africa

Saskia van Oosterhout, a seed and food scientist, has been elected as the Cape Town Slow Food representative to Terra Madre. We look forward to her report on the event.

 
 
Cheese
 
 

Slow Food Cheese Awards

On Wednesday, 4 May, the Slow committee held an informal cheese tasting with Valerie Elder. After the tasting, the Committee decided to confer awards of excellence on the following cheeses:

Barry Sergeant of Beatrix Dairy, for his Chevre cream cheese, his Buche de Chevre soft cheese, his Chevrotin goat's cheese in Reblochon style, and his
Reblochon cow's milk cheese.

Marianne Hemmes of Foxenburg Estate For her goats milk Renosterbos cheddar-style cheese.

Fran Vermaak of Swissland for her Isinjani goat's milk cheese.

These awards are made, not only for the cheeses mentioned, but for the creativity and pioneering efforts of these cheesemakers to extend the range of South African hand-crafted cheeses according to the principles of the Slow Food movement.

Valerie Elder

Valerie is a familiar figure to local cheese-lovers. From her shop in Observatory, The Real Cheese, she has encouraged local cheesemakers in their efforts to produce to interesting and exciting cheeses, and introduced Capetonians to cheeses from all over the country. In her own words, this is how she got started:

What do you do if you love cheese and what is available is just not quite right?
You start a cheese shop, or rather start working with extraordinary people who make delicious cheese and then sell to hotels and restaurants. As a natural step on from that, the public get to hear and want some too, so the first “shop" was in my lounge; Lower Wrensch Road, Observatory.

Cheese has always been part of my life. Growing up in England, my small home town had three cheese shops, all selling different cheese - talk about spoilt for choice. I suppose I grew up knowing what good cheese should taste like. Arriving in South Africa late 70s the choice was not great, even after working with Woolworths in the food sector, having my own film catering business and various dips into restaurants, the selection never got better.

Once I began it all sort of grew around me. I introduced top chefs, previously using French cheese, to South African produce, and so cheesemakers experimented more to give a wider selection, each side building the other. What huge artistic ability around me, very motivational.

The step to open The Real Cheese in Mowbray was very scary, but there was a loyal public support base and it has just grown. Now 8 years on, in Lower Main Road, Observatory and under new ownership, things can only get better. As they say “Blessed are the Cheesemakers".

See you in the Cheese Shop ...

 
 
Olive Oil
 
 

Notes from Brenda

Brenda Wilkinson, of Rio Largo Olive Estate, is passionate about the oil they produce on the farm. This is what she has to say about it:

Let's liken this product to freshly squeezed orange juice, as in this country we are all far more familiar with that product, and consume it more readily than olive oil. So let's imagine picking an orange and leaving it lying around for days before squeezing the juice from it! The oranges come from many sources but are pooled for the process. The machines aren't particularly clean, the factory is hot and there are lots of people milling around ...

We then leave this "fresh" product in a clear glass bottle in the sun for weeks, months and sometime even years before shipping it across the seas in big cartons from one port to another, where it sits in the sun for a while, being loaded and offloaded, then taken to a distributor where it is left in the sun or a hot warehouse before being transported to the store! No one is accountable and no one really cares about the product even though it is being TRADED for cash! It then sits on the shelf where it is FINALLY bought to be consumed.

Well, it is still orange juice by definition and freshly squeezed at origin but ... would it taste like orange juice freshly produced in your kitchen or where you can see it being squeezed? Would it have the same health benefits of that orange juice? Would it have the same monetary value or would the value of that juice diminish with each step of the process to your kitchen? How difficult would it be to trace back to who made that orange juice and what their ethics are?

The same can be said of extra virgin olive oils. The FRESHER the better! KNOW your producer and the ethics behind the product ... and treat it as you would liquid gold!

You might be wondering if I made all of this up, but it happens all the time with olive oil! It is all written down in a book by Tom Mueller called Extra virginity: The sublime and scandalous world of olive oil (available from Exclusive Books). This is not an easy read as there are loads of facts interspersed, but believe me, once you have read that book, you will shop very differently.

Know Your Producer - Know Your Product

Extra-virgin olive oil is the pure "juice" produced from the olive - freshly picked, processed with care within hours of picking in a clean, temperature-controlled environment and stored under optimal conditions until consumed, within two years from a transparent date of harvest. Ask your producer for a chemical analysis of the olive oil, as any good producer will have that at his fingertips.

Buy your olive oil from a LOCAL producer you know and trust; stored in a dark container and away from light and heat!

Use extra virgin olive oil liberally as it has so many health benefits: it lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, prevents certain cancers especially breast and prostate, and is wonderful for diabetics. It helps with dry skin, eczema and fungal infections on the skin. It is wonderful as a hair and nail conditioner. It is great for oiling sticky doors, furniture and even rust. It is fabulous for your pet's coat; give them a tablespoon in their food every day ... And much more too!

AND it tastes amazing: add it to your winter soup just before serving, drizzle over meat, fish and poultry, pour liberally over salads and steamed veg, and it makes the most delicious roast potato!

Truly liquid gold! TRY IT - YOU'LL LOVE IT!

 
 
Topsi
 
 

Topsi Venter

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of the doyenne of South African food, Topsi Venter, on 17 July 2016.

Although she grew up in a foodie family, in Bloemfontein, her real introduction to South African cooking came when she was offered a job with the Dried Fruit Board, where she remained for twenty years, until opening her first restaurant, Hatfield House, in Cape Town, in 1983. This was followed by the Wild Fig, and then Roggeland House in Paarl, before finally settling in Franschhoek, where she opened Topsi & Co with her daughter, Danielle.

Her style was traditional, with elegant simplicity and the use of excellent ingredients.

British chef Robert Carrier, who encountered her at Roggeland House, was apparently enchanted by her. She herself regards one of the highlights of her career as cooking for El Bulli chef Ferran Adria in Cape Town, of which she says ‘We created food with superb tastes that we haven't forgotten. Ferran's Catalan heart understood my South African heart.'

 
  
 

SLOW WINE
  
  
REMHOOGTE WINE FOR SALE

Our 2015 harvest has been bottled after spending a year maturing in oak, and is now available to order at R480 per six bottle case.
To reserve your wine please transfer multiples of R480 to our account with your name as a reference. Please let Stephen know (sflesch@iafrica.com), and he will arrange collection or delivery.

 
  
 
 
P.O. Box 31353, Grassy Park, 7888  |  Fax 086 672 3402
Email: vbesouw@iafrica.com  |  Website: www.slowfoodcapetown.co.za