When Covid-19 hit South Africa many cultural events across the country were cancelled and organisers who made a living from such events were left financially crippled.
Some organisers continued to adapt to the “new normal” by using alternative platforms to celebrate the festivals and also support the local economy. Food and drink festival organisers were creatively pivoting in the midst of a pandemic.
Not just a celebration of indulgence and consumption, food and beverage festivals are a celebration of diverse communities; whether centred around a particular style of cooking, or by delving into regional specialities.
They function as a method of bringing people together to break bread while sharing an experience and a meal – an opportunity to try something new.
And by the look of things, some of these events are slowly coming back to life. The following are some of the top South African food and drink festivals that are very popular every year.
Durban Wine Festival
Launched in 2018, the Durban Wine Festival is back and promises delicious food, outdoor activities, and good wine.
New events venue Mzo Lifestyle and Wine Wednesdays are bringing Durbanites an extravagant event with a variety of aged fine wines that will tantalise your taste buds. Whether it is dry or sweet, wine is the choice of the day, alongside bands and foods for the finest experience.
Event organiser Lindokuhle Buthelezi said the Durban Wine Festival was an event for wine lovers. Buthelezi said it was all about celebrating wine and would also educate people about wine as the wine community was growing rapidly.
He said the aim of the festival is for people to get first-hand experience and education about wine from the wine experts and makers themselves.
The Durban Wine Festival will be held on Saturday, February 26 at Mzo Lifestyle in Verulam (north of Durban). Tickets cost between R150 - R450 and are available at Webtickets and at the door.
SA Cheese Festival
Cheese and wine lovers can also get in on all the action at the SA Cheese Festival that is making its return after two years. Unlike previous years, the award-winning festival will offer a new month-long experience with pop-up picnics at four popular destinations in Cape Town.
From the Winelands to Walker Bay to the West Coast and back to the Winelands, this popular festival unfolds into an expedition of discovery.
At the pop-ups, exhibitors will offer everything you need for a picnic adventure, from picnic baskets to local, international, and artisanal cheeses, selected wine, craft beer, and gin, as well as exceptional artisanal foods and local products.
Visitors can also look forward to free entertainment programmes with top South African artists, tasting demonstrations, and other interesting activities.
Tickets are limited and cost R350 per person per day with visiting times from 10am to 6pm. Tickets are available at Webtickets and Pick n Pay stores. No tickets will be sold at the gates.
The Delicious International Food and Music Festival
Earlier this month, the Delicious International Food and Music Festival, which is one of the largest events in the country, opened up early bird tickets on the back of the president’s State of The Nation Address (Sona).
And after two years, they are one of the early movers dipping their toes in the water, banking on a return to normal when the much-loved festival returns in September. This music festival for food lovers was launched seven years ago.
They took the entertainment and culinary world by storm in its debut in Johannesburg in October 2013. Director of the event, Lloyd Cornwall said they are encouraged by the improving environment around the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions and are hoping that the country may be at a new normal stage that allows food festivals and live music events to take place, come September.
“It’s been a long two years and we’re looking forward to celebrating some incredible food and music once again. The long-awaited opening up of live entertainment comes at a much-needed time for an industry that has really been hard hit,” said Cornwall.
With a saving of R200, pre-registration tickets are now available at R550 per person.
Pretoria Gin Festival
People of Pretoria, we hope you are ready. It is once again time for the Schweppes Pretoria Gin Festival. This year will be bigger and better, so gather your friends and get your tickets.
Guests can expect to explore a variety of local gin products at this event. As usual, there will also be awesome food trucks and amazing live music available. Picnic blankets and camp chairs are welcome.
The Pretoria Gin Festival will be held at Fire And Wine in Zwavelpoort on Saturday, April 2 from 11am until 8pm. The ticket price includes a complimentary gin glass and gin and tonic cocktail on arrival. Tickets are available under Howler.
The Plant-Powered Show
Aimed at those looking to live and enjoy a healthier, more conscious, and sustainable lifestyle with a smaller environmental footprint, The Plant-Powered Show features the rising stars, celebrity chefs, and cooks presenting live cooking demos, diverse and compelling talks by the health and wellness experts, premium and interactive experiences, exclusive industry networking, as well as a marketplace filled with hundreds of vegan and plant-based food, drink and lifestyle brands and product launches.
The Plant-Powered Show is vegan, vegetarian, reducetarian, flexitarian, veggie-curious, health-conscious, sports and fitness enthusiasts, and family-friendly.
The show will take place virtually at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from May 27 until May 29. For more information, you can check out their website.