Good Food and Wine Show 2016 Fresh! (Event Review)

Noble Savage – he said:

Right, so off we go to the Good Food and Wine Show. To those of you that don’t know, it’s one of the biggest food events in the country. “It’s Africa’s largest culinary event, and it launches with the theme Fresh. It’s all about the prevailing global obsession with sustainability and a healthier planet, and it’s inspired by the global trend for urban farming and the gradual urbanisation of rural contexts.” That sound a bit Hipster-ey to me, but what the hell, we decided to give it a bash!
Disclaimer: I’m not going to detail every exhibiter – I don’t want to type that much, and I’m sure you don’t want to read that much. If a stall is not mentioned, it doesn’t necessarily means it was kak; I probably just didn’t get to it. So just chill!

The plan was to first have a look around, and then start looking at specific things we’re interested in. That plan went up in smoke when we walked past Dee Oyster Bar. In addition to oysters and MCC, She had what she calls a “Sushi Oyster”. It’s an oyster (duh!), with ginger and soy balls, topped with a little squirt of wasabi. Holy shit! Incredible! And it went down a treat with the Krone MCC on offer (also known as the real Breakfast of Champions).

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Breakfast done – time to get back to the original plan of first looking around. Then we found the wine area. And the plan flew out the window. Again. Now this isn’t a wine show, so there weren’t many wines on offer (and a lot of stock was shifted the previous day, which limited some selections), but the ones there were worth the tasting.

We decided to attend the Wine Theatre presentation facilitated by Lloyd Jusa, sommelier at Five Hundred at The Saxon, and winner of Wine Service Award at the 2015 Eat Out Restaurant awards.

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His approach to the tasting was to take all the participants back to the basics – to not rush, but rather take in all the details of the wine. And what an extraordinarily simple, but amazing approach. One tends to forget that a good wine is the sum of all its parts, and Lloyd’s approach helped me to remember to pay attention to the role all these parts play to create the bigger picture.

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Wine tasting done, so time to get back to the plan. Oh wait, we’re famgry (like hangry, but more violent). The Philly Cheese Steak spring rolls from TG Gourmet Catering looked interesting, and we took an order of their chicken wings to round it off. Still peckish after that (the portion sizes were fine, we were just THAT hungry), and we got some sliders from Elegant Thyme Creations.  And these little burgers really hit the spot.

Right, back to the plan. Oh fuck, Gin! Newly launched Ginifer small batch craft Gin first. Now I don’t think of myself as a Gin expert, but this was really incredible. This is the type of Gin you can sip neat. After that, we went next door to Wildered Gin. Not quite as good as Ginifer, but still better than most of the top-shelf Gins on offer at retailers. Then, back to Ginifer, for some cocktails – all fresh ingredients (e.g. freshly squeezed fruit instead of store-bought juice) prepared on the spot. I had the grapefruit and star anise G&T. Simple idea, amazing taste. I will definitely make my own during summer.

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At this stage we were winding down, so the plan was abandoned altogether. We walked through the stalls, and saw some interesting exhibitors. Everything from knives to macarons to snails was on show – the passages were quite busy, so we couldn’t get in everywhere we wanted to. That being said, we did get to do everything we wanted to, so showing up early pays off again!

This type of exhibition should happen more often, as the exposure it gives to small and medium businesses is priceless. Couple that with the experience of tasting and smelling a smorgasbord of interesting things, and it really is a no-brainer. Whatever show is up next, just attend – it is time well wasted!

Boozy Foodie – she said:

This was my first time attending the Good Food and Wine Show, so I was very excited to go, especially because there was a lot of buzz and hype about this year’s show.  Was curious to experience the focus on the senses – the leading theme of this year’s show.

Walking in, I immediately walked to the “Sensorium” – an interesting experiment in smell and sound, and it evoked fond childhood memories and a general ‘feel good’ vibe.

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But, first things first – breakfast! J I won’t repeat the details as Noble Savage has shared it already – a perfect start to the day!

We moved on the wine tasting area, spending some quality time there. Like we normally do if there’s wine around…. First we stopped by the wineries we don’t know THAT well, like Louisvale (good chardonnay!), Ruitersvlei (really enjoyed their SMV), and La Cave (lots of potential – yummy reds all around), and the also the good old favourites like Raka, Welgemeend, Vergenoegd, Wildekrans etc. We heard from all the exhibitors that the previous day (Saturday) was extremely busy, so stock levels were running low at some of the stalls.

From there we moved on to the Wine Theatre with Lloyd Jusa, the head sommelier at the Saxon. And again, I won’t repeat the comments already shared – thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

By that time, we NEEDED food!

 

After ‘lunch’ we tried a few gins – my favourite, also being Ginifer’s fabulous cocktails (had the naartjie and rosemary one, yummy indeed) – really enjoyed “Angel Heart” as well. There was a fun and busy vibe at the stall, beautifully decorared – and I saw afterwards that they did win an award for it as well. The GFWS was also the official launch of this first ever dry gin produced in Johannesburg. A real treat!

What I bought home:

  • Alvi’s Drift Thornlands MCC – not available in store. The first time we tried this delicious, premium bubbly was when Germain Lehodey, the sommelier at Mosaic at the Orient introduced it to us during our visit there. We are planning a trip to the West Coast in October, and already planned our route to make a stop at the farm in Worcester to stock up again!
  • Real Food Factory’s shitake mushroom pesto and shitake mushroom & sundried tomato pesto. Both are delish – not very ‘herby’, the sundried tomato is VERY tomatoey, really enjoyed it.
  • Sally Hansen’s dark chocolate with crispy nougat – needed to keep my sugar levels up after all that wine tasting 😉
  • Fusion Chocolates and Sauces – homemade truffles all the way from Walkerville (the salesperson told me that everything is hand made in a mini-factory set up in a garage) – SO decadent, mouthfuls of awesomeness! Very interesting combinations of flavours, definitely not the ‘usual’. I must say, I finished my ‘stash’ in record time. Now, to get some more!

I could easily have spend another day there – there was so much to do and see, like the various local and international chefs at the Chef’s Open Theatre etc. There was really something for everyone to see and do, real experiences that made this a proper food and wine ‘show’, not just a glorified undercover food market.  There was good variety of ‘brand names’ and smaller entrepreneurs, giving everyone equal exposure.  We will be back next year – probably for the entire weekend!

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