Artichokes will be turned into a range of delicious dishes at Ayama farm in the Paardeberg. Picture: Supplied

Following a sell-out launch last year, the Artichoke Festival is back, and this year promises to be bigger and better. 

Come and enjoy a beautiful family day out in the Paardeberg Country on Sunday August 25 and celebrate this delicious wintertime treat in all of its glory. 

Did you know there are more than 50 varieties of artichokes in Italy? And they’re all known for their high nutritional value and health benefits; including supporting those with cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. 

Local Italian couple Attilio and Michela Dalpiaz have been harvesting artichokes for the last six years, and every August, their artichoke fields at Ayama Slent Farm develop into gorgeous bulky flowers, with different hues of purple and green. The farm is best known for its range of wines and olive oils. 

The couple’s passion for Italian food is why they will yet again throw open their doors and welcome 400 food enthusiasts to experience all things carciofi (Italian for artichokes) - from freshly picked raw artichokes to artichoke creams, artichokes on focaccias, in lasagnes and raviolis and even those that are deep fried.

Italian chefs will be preparing dishes with a truly authentic flair on the day and there will also be an opportunity to taste and buy the Vermentino wine that is made on the farm and is a first of its kind in South Africa. Its unique combination of acidity and rich mineral flavour makes it the perfect pairing with artichokes.

The Ayama festival also means that it gives the wider Paardeberg Country community of farmers, artisans and world famous wine makers the chance to showcase their local quality produce and put this piece of rugged paradise on to the wine lands map. 

A number of nearby guesthouses will be offering various discounts for accommodation and wineries will be organising special tastings, lunches and dinners on the Friday and Saturday, to give festival goers a proper Ayama and Paardeberg Country experience. 

It promises to be a perfect day out for the whole family (or a wonderful weekend away) with a live Italian band, painting exhibits and a market selling locally made salamis, cheeses, wines, gins and craft beers. Spend the afternoon strolling through the vineyards and orchards and sample some of the freshest grapes, olives, plums and pears and famous Ayama wines. 

Keen hikers will be able to tackle the trail that traces the edge of the farm, while tractors and trailers will be on hand for those who want to simply sit back and enjoy the stunning views. 

There will be prizes and raffles throughout the day and activities to entertain the kids. Ayamateca, Ayama’s farm stall will be open for those wanting to take some of their famous olive oils, flours, freshly made breads, pastas, salt, vinegars and limoncello back home. 

Pre-booking is essential through ayamateca.co.za. Each ticket (R350) includes a full four course lunch as well as a sweet treat, all with artichokes as the featured ingredient. Children from seven to eleven years (R150) will enjoy a special kids’ meal while children under six get in free. 

Gates open at 10am and the event will end at 5pm. No tickets will be sold at the gate. 

Follow the event on @ayamaslent1 and remember to share your posts by using the following #: 

#ayamavermentino #artichokefestival2019 #paardebergcountry