Regarded as South Africa’s culinary capital visitors to the Franschhoek Wine Valley will be spoilt for choice as they can now include in their trip a sampling of the Valley’s finest artisanal and fresh produce. The Franschhoek Artisan Food Route affords visitors to this internationally acclaimed wine and food producing region the opportunity to treat their taste buds to some of the finest olives, cheeses, charcuterie and artisanal breads our country has to offer.
The term artisanal refers to anything that is hand-made or handcrafted in the style of an artisan, or skilled craftsman. Artisanal foods are made in small quantities and typically adhere to traditional methods and recipes, using high-quality and unprocessed ingredients. They are allied to the slow and local food movements, and are usually produced in a sustainable manner.
Artisanal foods provide a great way to know where your food is coming from. Artisanal sausages are most likely made from meat raised compassionately or organically; artisanal cheeses from cows milked by hand, not machine; artisanal jams and preserves from fruit grown on small farms without hormones or dangerous pesticides.
From Drew Warner, Co-Founder at Just Good Chocolate – “Artisan food is unique; it’s defined by the fact that nothing else on earth exists that is exactly the same. Artisan food is created with love, with attention to detail, not mass produced on factory lines with only quantity in mind rather than quality.”
Artisan producers understand and respect the raw materials with which they work, they should know where these materials come from and what is particularly good about them. They should have mastered the craft of their particular production and have a historical, experiential, intuitive and scientific understanding of what makes the process that they are engaged in successful. They should know what tastes good and be sensitive to the impact of their production on people and the environment.
Supporting these statements Food24.com Food Editor, Caro de Waal, outlined some of the major food trends predicted for 2013, which included:
1. Provenance – Knowing where your food has come from is going to be a big feature. New markets are popping up everywhere in SA.
2. Artisanal foods – This follows on from ‘provenance’. People want handmade products that are made by skilled masters who are passionate about their craft.
3. Sustainable – We’re looking at organic, bio-diverse, seasonal and sustainable food. We’re going back to the earth… More people and chefs are planting their own vegetable gardens and supporting sustainable fish.
4. Seasonal and local – We’re looking at staying true to seasonal produce so we use the freshest ingredients and stay as local as possible.
Franschhoek is proud to fall within these categories with several local artisanal food producers in the Valley making bread, cheese, olives and olive oil, charcuterie, salmon trout and chocolates, to mention a few. Should you be pressed for time the Franschhoek Village Market on Saturdays has proven to be extremely popular and showcases many of these fine foods.
For more information on the route contact the Franschhoek Wine Valley office on 021 876 2861 or visit the website on www.franschhoek.org.za.