17 Garden Route restaurants, 17 South African wine farms and a string of helpful hands and generous spirits pooled their resources for an evening of wonder (and heart) for the third annual Gourmets & Gourmands evening. As guests arrived the air was already filled with some of the most intoxicating flavours imaginable. The anticipation of an incredible evening ahead grew with every step guests took into the beautifully decorated school hall of the Carpe Diem School.
As supporters of this event have come to know, every year has its own twist, and the 2011 event was no exception. Whilst last year’s event introduced 16 wine farms to the mix, this year saw the addition of a theme to tie decor and menu together. “Life is a masquerade” proved to be a great challenge when it came to compiling menus and incorporating decor, but as guests arrived and were each handed their brilliantly decorated masks and suave top hats thanks to Model Vision, everything began to fall into place.
Master of ceremonies, François Ferreira opened the festivities and continued to escort guests on an exceptional culinary experienced provided by the participating restaurants and wine farms. In between courses, guests participated in an auction where 17 incredible lots were up for grabs to the highest bidders. Funds raised through the evening’s events (including the auction) go towards the Carpe Diem School and their dream to build an outside lift to increase mobility of the wheelchair bound learners.
The premier auction item, sponsored by the Mount Meru Hotel in Tanzania and Precision Air, was a 5 night stay at the luxurious Mount Meru Hotel with flights for two people from Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro and back. The fortunate winning bid belonged to Braam Pretorius, who is surely already dreaming of his magical Tanzanian holiday next to the majestic Kilimanjaro Peak.
The wonderful pairings of food and wine on each table had guests in awe and although a festive event, it was the evening’s silences that gave away its success as guests delighted in course after course of creativity, sumptuousness and all-round mouth-watering enchantment.
The Carpe Diem School and staff would like to thank all participants, guests and sponsors for an incredibly special evening. To media and marketing company Interface by Goji, who ensured that everything came together so sweetly, and to ACSA who made the possibility of travelling to Tanzania and the Mount Meru Hotel possible with Precision Air, our heartfelt thanks. The total amount of funds raised from this event for the school’s outside lift project will sure go far to realise their dream of providing more mobility.