Garden Route on a plate: Take your palate on a taste treasure hunt

The Garden Route is famous for a lot of treasures – natural beauty, country hospitality and even holiday romances. But the grapevine has overlooked arguably theSouthern Cape’s best kept secret – its exquisite culinary palate. Annually, holidaymakers and locals alike frequent the area’s beautiful restaurants, street cafes and patisseries. For years, keeping it to themselves somehow guaranteed them last minute reservations to heavenly experiences every time, but the time has come for such opulence to be shared. 

Famed culinary colonel and principal of Eden School of Culinary Arts, Francois Ferreira lets the proverbial cat out of the bag with the launch ofGarden Routeon a plate, taking place on 16 and 17 September 2011. 

A lifestyle festival that is supported by the international gourmand society, the Chaîne de Rôttisseurs and the South African Chefs Association, is surely an event to make your mouth water. A notably enthusiastic Francois Ferreira commented that “the festival will offer exactly what the name says:  a showcase of all the gourmet delights theSouthern Capehas to offer under one roof.  Local chefs will use products from the area to tempt the palates of food lovers and to showcase their craft.”  

The heart of the festival will be the Eden School of Culinary Art which is situated at Label Leaders House on the school grounds of PW Botha College. Existing buildings will be extended by tents and up to eight popular restaurants will present their food creations to the public, experts and enthusiasts alike. Patrons will be able to indulge in bite sized shares of restaurant creations at every stand, whist they can sample the full bodied bests from a variety of winemakers. Cocktail lounges will provide the perfect platform to mix and mingle the twine (your love for food and that for wine) in a relaxed environment. 

Some of the participating restaurants include the Turkish influences of Kafé Serefe, The Rose onYork, Serendipity, The Girls, Trans Karoo, Chef Alma @ Groenvlei in Sedgefield and La Locanda for an Italian twist. To give the event some extra flavour, a street food lane will offer traditional dishes. This “lekker lane” will give festival guests the opportunity to feast on dishes like pap andsheba, pea soup and roosterkoek, breyani and afval (offal).   

Once the extraordinary taste sensations at the festival tents have inspired patrons to develop their culinary skills, they can attend a series of workshops in the main hall of the school of culinary art.  These workshops will be presented by local chefs like Karen du Plessis from Unilever, Chef Dario Soresi from La Locanda, and François himself. Workshops on Brandy and Port, and sessions on the secrets of wine cultivars like Chardonnay will be presented by winemakers like Meyer Joubert of Joubert Tradouw in Barrydale, Ladismith Wines & Oudtshoorn Winary. Without a doubt, guests are guaranteed a culinary experienced unrivalled, sure to transform any “take-out tonight, honey” into a gastronomic genius, inspired to work magic on whatever is in the fridge. 

So whether you are weekend cooking enthusiast and old-faithful with your “kook en geniet” bible under your arm or a fan of people able to whip up a storm in a heartbeat when someone shouts “ready, steady, cook”, thenGarden Routeon a plate Festival will be the cherry on your culinary cake. For more information, contact Francois Ferreira at Eden School of Culinary Art @ 044 884 0765.

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