Boschendal Farm to Table Festival Round-Up
On the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of April, Boschendal Wine Estate held their inaugural Farm to Table Festival, where they showcased the best organic, ethical and sustainable producers and food heroes. The various talks, workshops and tastings were headed up by serious experts in their fields, including Fritz Schoon of Schoon de Companje, Neil Jewell of Jewell & Co., Boschendal’s Werf Food Garden Manager Megan McCarthy and South Africa’s own buffalo soldier, Wayne Rademeyer. Each day was slightly different, with the above mentioned and more taking place. Crush popped by on Saturday evening and Sunday, here’s our little snippet of the event.
On Saturday, the day was jam-packed with tours by farmer Rico Vergotine and his happy chickens, cattle farmer Mark Muncer and Megan McCarthy – the Boschendal Werf Garden Food Manager. The talks were kicked off by Nico Uys, who promoted probiotics and soil health; Jan Blok shared the secrets of agri-landscaping; Karen Parkin spoke about the importance of seed saving; Wayne Rademeyer talked about buffalo farming and the wonderful mozzarella that comes from these proud beasts and James Moffett shared insight into his work with heirloom, organic grains. The workshops of the day featured Karen Parkin again, this time with her focus on composting; Frik Oosthuizen, one of the brains behind Santa Anna’s, spilled the secrets of smoking and good BBQ, while charcuterie king Neil Jewell imparted a wealth of knowledge about cured meats. Lastly was Mark Muncer’s sausage making workshop, a valuable skill for any meat aficionado. There was lots of tasting done too, Boschendal reds and whites, as well as their MCC, plus a coffee tasting with caffeine kingpins Tribe and a craft beer tasting with one of Cape Town’s original breweries, Darling.
The long table feast that took place from 16h00 was a regal affair with mountains of food, mostly grown and reared on the Boschendal property. The generous menu featured homemade rillettes and fynbos and gin cured trout to start and mains that included a range of the estate’s pasture-reared beef and chicken. To end off, for those who had space for sweets, there was every dessert you’d ever crave after such a produce driven feast, including an apple crumble, plum and almond frangipane slice, a peanut butter and banana pot de crème and mini doughnuts. Guests were sent home in a food coma, with full bellies and inspired minds.
Sunday saw a similar line up but with a slight change to one or two talks. Specifically, Piet Marais held the BBQ workshop on behalf of Santa Anna’s and he wowed the audience with his knowledge of the art of BBQ. He spoke about different woods and the flavours they impart, what colours of smoke are your friends (tip: something called blue smoke is optimal) and how to select a good cut of meat for smoking. After all this theory, he got down to the practical and let us taste the brisket that he had been cooking “low and slow” for the last few hours. Served in one their own soft corn tortillas, with finely chopped onion and sliced radish, drizzled with homemade barbecue sauce, the brisket was soft with enough bite in all the right places.
Neil Jewell also put together a stellar talk, by running the audience through eight of his favourite charcuterie cuts, paired with some of the best wines Boschendal has to offer. A particular standout was the Linda Ham, the rillettes and the Bresaola. All expertly made, with love and care put into them.
The picnic on Sunday was the perfect finish to the festival. There were blankets, beanbags and bodies everywhere you looked and the baskets themselves were filled with the most exciting goodies. The root vegetable salad, with baby carrots and beets, was delicately pickled and the garden salad was one of the highlights, being that you could taste that it was grown less than a kilometer away in the Werf Garden. The BBQ meat served up was also highly enjoyable, specifically sandwiched between the fresh baguette and slathered with the irresistible homemade mayo.
Considering this was the first Farm to Table event held at Boschendal, it was a roaring success. It was organised well, executed smoothly and most importantly, it was run by a crew of people who all had a smile on their faces and the answer you were searching for. Congratulations to all those involved in the production, we can’t wait to see what next year’s event looks like.