19 June:
Talk by Valerie Elder on the Slow Food Raw Milk Presidium. Silwood Kitchen, 18h30.
26 July:
Visit to Roger Jorgensens' distillery in Wellington with lunch afterwards at the Oude Wellington restaurant.
6 September:
Salt, and wine and food pairing lunch with Craig Cormack at Bergkelder.




25 January
Report by Pat Rademeyer
Slow Food CT members will remember that a national meeting was set up by the Italian head office of Slow Food, to initiate an open discussion on developing a strategy for Slow Food in South Africa.
In the past Slow Food operated as two parts of the same body: Slow Food with the Association, its members and the convivia on the one hand; and the Terra Madre network, consisting of the food communities, chefs, youth and academics, on the other. The Congress of 2012 decided that these groups should be united, and work under the umbrella of Slow Food.
The meeting was attended by loyal SF CT members Valerie Elder, Luisa Feitera and Philip du Plessis, as well as members of the committee. It was very good to meet members of the other Slow Food groups from all over the country, and to hear about their activities.

The meeting was not conducted in the usual formal way, perhaps because of Italian and English language difficulties, and a different approach to meetings generally. It was difficult to follow the aims of the meeting, but as the day progressed, it became clearer that the various arms of Slow Food in South Africa were to be merged into one organisation, and that the convivia would be expected to support the other communities in the group.
The details are set out in the official minutes of the meeting on the website HERE.
We met Zayaan Khan of the Surplus Peoples Project (SPP), and leader of the Slow Food Youth Network. We will be running a joint event with the Network and the Mother City group in June, to inform our members about the SA Raw Milk Cheese Presidium. This meeting is scheduled for 19 June.

 Zayaan Khan                  

We also spoke to Desmond Adams, a farmer from Riebeek West, and he asked us to visit him and other small farmers in the area, to see where we could assist them with contacts for their produce, and to see where other assistance could be given. (See report below).
It was a good opportunity to discuss with Hein van Tonder the possibility of working together with the Mother City convivium. The two committees arranged the visit to Riebeek West in May with Zayaan Khan, to see how we could help Desmond and the farmers in that area.



5 February
Report by Janet Steer
Fifty or sixty years ago the small West Coast town of Darling would have been known chiefly for its glorious display of wild flowers in the spring, and the district's accent with its distinctive Malmesbury 'brei'. The latter always brings to mind the story of a visiting British colonial dignitary who stopped to ask of a local lady 'My dear, why do you roll your r's so?' Her reply: 'Ag no sir, it's only when I wear high polfys' (high heeled shoes).
Well, the flowers are still a riot of colour but Pieter Dirk Uys has put a whole new life into Darling's high heels, and now there is yet another reason to visit this platteland town: Darling Brew.

The brewery itself is being renovated, so the group from Slow Food met in the Taproom at #5 Main street, where we sampled the six beers in current production, while brewer Kevin Wood and wife Philippa told us their story. About ten years ago, on the return leg of a trip into Africa, they met a brewer in Nieu Bethesda, bought his recipe and some hands-on tuition, and Darling Brew was born. Creating the product has meant hard work and terrifying financial commitment. There was no easy access to that crucial ingredient, suitable water. Despite the drawbacks, they've come through it all with a great product and are now the third largest micro brewery in South Africa.
Their marketing reflects the couple's passion for our wildlife, from which the various styles of beer derive their names: for example, the geometric tortoise is the emblem of the Slow brew, and the white beer is called Bone Crusher after the hyena. Contributions from sales are made to projects involved with the protection of these threatened creatures. Reduced alcohol beers are available, encouraging responsible drinking.
We moved on over dust roads to lunch at Hilda's Kitchen, the Groote Post restaurant run by Shaun and Debbie McLaughlin of Trinity Guest House in Darling. Shaun manages front-of-house while Debbie produces amazing food with a Hildagonda Duckitt twist from her tiny kitchen. We tucked into some delicious local charcuterie followed by a tart of mushrooms sourced from a grower in Hopefield. Shaun ran us through suggested wine pairings from the Groote Post range, leaving the final choice to the individual diners. Our main course was Karoo lamb with salsa verde and a vegetable mélange, followed by a totally decadent romery buttermilk tart with granadilla and home-made coconut ice cream.


I came home inspired and dusted off my Hildagonda Duckitt's 650 Cookery recipes, a collection taken from her Diary of a Cape Householder and Where is it, printed in 1951. As with the original publications, the recipes are arranged alphabetically. Under the heading 'Soup - Tortoise' I stopped in my tracks. I quote :
I know of several instances where children seemed to be just wasting away at the ages of two and three, and have been strengthened and restored by soup made by boiling down the whole tortoise, after chopping off its head, scrubbing it well, and then boiling it well till the parts separate. The juice strained and taken. To kill a tortoise, our old cook, Abraham used to scratch its back, and when the tortoise put out its head he chopped it off.
The legs of the tortoise after it is boiled and the liver (which is a special delicacy), after the removal of the gall-bag, eaten with lemon and pepper and salt, is much appreciated by invalids when they can take nothing else (of course it is an acquired taste). It is also very nice when scalloped with a little butter and breadcrumbs.

Fortunately, although we do punt Slow Food, tortoise is no longer on offer.
This is not a restaurant you can pop into when passing (not unless you are seriously lost), so contact them well in advance for a lunch booking. Then on the way plan to swing through Darling for beer and Pieter Dirk, and your overseas visitors will have had a day to remember, just as we did.




26 April and 3 June
The visit to the Bistro at in Paternoster was an exciting culinary adventure. Kobus van der Merwe has a reputation as an an innovative chef who makes imaginative use of local ingredients, gathered from the dunes, the beach and the surrounding veld. Many of these plants were known to, and used by, our ancestors, but have fallen out of use in our present-day, fast-food, supermarket society. In the courtyard behind shop, diners sit at tables surrounded by pots of herbs and wild plants.

The meal began with an oyster, served 'in its element', that is, simply, with just the taste of the sea. This was followed by a fish ceviche, surrounded by pink grapefruit segments, fennel seeds, and the large, fleshy leaf of the ice plant, an indigenous succulent with a tart, citrusy taste. All the flavours blended perfectly. Next was a mussel bobotie, served with a peach mebos and seekoraal, also known as samphire, and this was followed by an ostrich steak, accompanied by dune spinach and klipkombers, a local seaweed a bit like nori. The meal was rounded off with a zabaglione mad with chenin blanc.

Throughout the meal we nibbled on Kobus's homemade bread, baked using flour from a local mill. After spending the night in Paternoster, we paid a visit to Oep ve Koep the next morning, just as he was taking his loaves out of the oven. We stocked up with warm ciabattas to bring back to town, and drove home with the yeasty scent of freshly-baked bread in our nostrils..



27 March
On 27 March, the committees of Slow Food Cape Town and Mother City got together at a cheese tasting to decide on the recipients of the 2014 Slow Cheese Awards.
Valerie Elder, of the Real Cheese, brought along a number of cheeses from local artisanal cheesemakers for us to sample, and the tasters voted to make seven awards for exceptional cheeses. We have had stickers printed which the makers can attach to these cheeses. The following makers received awards:
IMHOFF FARM in Kommetjie:
Denise van der Horst for her range of innovative goat and cow's cheeses.
BEACONSFIELD DAIRY near Cradock in the Karoo:
Charles Lord for his semi-soft goat's milk cheese in the Manchego style.
Robert Visser for his brine washed 'Boland' semi soft cow's cheese.
Marianne Hemmes for her 'Foxtail' cheddar style goat's cheese.
Chris Meterlerkamp for his cow's 'Goukambert' mild cheese with a tang.
JUST CHEESE in Pietermaritzburg:
MJ Mook for her cow's 'Boerenkaas' semi soft flavourful cheese.
PINTO FAMILY in Johannesburg:
Norma Pinto for her cow's 'Pinto's PeriPeri' made with pimentos.




21 May
The Cape Town Slow Food AGM was held on Wednesday 21 May at Silwood Kitchen. It was preceded by a short talk on salt, given by chef Craig Cormack.
The standing committee was re-elected, with the exception of Jackie Leone, who has had to resign because of pressure of work. Her contribution will be greatly missed. We also welcome back Erika Reynolds, returned from her stint in Malaysia. The committee is as follows:
Stephen Flesch - Chair
Lorna von Biesouw - Secretary
Pat Rademeyer
Erica Reynolds
Anja Sandeman
Janet Steer
Cecily van Gend



24 May

The meeting at Riebeek West on 24th May took place on a blustery beanies-and-boots day. Zayaan Khan, of the Surplus Peoples Project (SPP), members of Slow Food CT, Slow Food Mother City, and the Slow Food Youth Network got together with Desmond Adams on the Allesverloren farm, where he and five others raise their pigs.


They have no security of tenure and expressed reluctance to ask the farm owner for a contract. In effect this means they are unable to apply for a loan through the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, as this requires a 9-year lease agreement as a prerequisite. Our visit confirmed that:

Since they have no access to water they are unable to cultivate cheap fodder, so cannot grow the pigs on to maturity.
Slaughtering through the local abattoir is expensive, and doesn't distinguish between their organically raised animals and the rest. Supplying local families would require refrigeration. This would appear to be the extent of their current market.
There is no quick fix.

Mandy Booys from SPP is trying to establish access to commonage, but information from the Swartland Municipality is not forthcoming.



Our group felt best able to help by trying to ease things in the short term. Philip Myburgh of Joostenberg would be approached for advice and possible assistance. Peter Templeton of Goedgedacht Trust would also be asked whether he would be prepared to advise on the viability of this farming enterprise.

Goodbyes, thanks said and promises made, we retreated to our warm cars and headed home aware that things look very bleak for these aspirant farmers.