The South African Cheese Festival celebrates its 18th anniversary this year with a festival of 18-experiences-in-one from 26-28 April 2019.
This ‘Festival of the Year’ (as awarded in 2018) promises a tasting experience of popular local and international cheeses, alternatives and gourmet products, as well as select wines, boutique beer and gin. New this year is a piazza with everything Italian and a ‘raak-‘n-bietjie-rustig’ Friday for those who want to experience the festival at a quieter pace.
“The SA Cheese Festival has grown to become South Africa’s most popular outdoor food experience,” said Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo, who has hosted the festival since 2002. “It offers an unrivalled value-for-money platform for visitors to taste, buy and enjoy cheese and complementary products from about 150 exhibitors, and especially to test innovative creations of entrepreneurs – from insect ice-cream to abalone pie!”
Tons of cheese – from Naples to Kareedouw
In the Cheese Emporium, festival-goers can taste and buy the largest variety of cheeses – old favourites and interesting new ones – under one roof. Here, a brand new Italian Piazza – with Mozzarella, olives, Provolone, Prosciutto di Parma, pasta, pesto and Italian hospitality awaits.
“Unique to the SA Cheese Festival are exhibitions of boutique cheesemakers from far and wide,” says Ehlers. “Every year, we offer a number of small cheesemakers the opportunity to introduce their unique handmade products to up to 30 000 visitors as part of our #Support #SmallCheeseMakers project in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WKDL) and Absa.”
Learn from the experts
For food lovers who love adventurous challenges, there is a feast of six free daily demonstrations in the tasting room. Famous food personalities such as The Food Alchemist Pete Goffe-Wood, The Kate Tin Katelyn Allegra, The Food Fox Ilse van der Merwe and the Italian La Terra dei Cuochi-winner Lapo Magni share their secrets on how to serve cheese with exciting wines. Come and discover the story behind African chocolate from Tanzania and what makes Prosecco different to Champagne.
Also on the program is SA’s Top Ten Chenin Blanc in conjunction with Standard Bank; and cheese and wine tastings by Fairview’s main winemaker Anthony de Jager (Friday and Sunday) and owner Charles Back (Saturday).
“Last year, the Tasting Room sessions were extremely popular and visitors should book their seats in advance,” Ehlers recommends
Get tickets before they sell out
The SA Cheese Festival will take place from Friday 26 April to Sunday 28 April 2019 at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch. No tickets will be available at the gates. Tickets are available at Computicket, Shoprite and Checkers at R180 per person per day. Senior citizens pay R120 and children aged 2-13 pay R20. An exclusive gourmet experience is available (at R950 per person, over 18 years only) for only 100 guests per day, with reserved seating, VIP parking, early access, a cheese board with President Cheese cheeses, a bottle of Linton Park wine and more.