Cape Town - The countdown to Cape Town’s 15th SA Cheese Festival is gathering speed as organisers gear up for the country’s top cheese and entertainment weekend.
On from April 30 to May 2, attractions will include the Checkers’ cheese emporium, which will house more than 30 tons of cheese, from old favourites to exotic handmade artisanal products.
Visit the Milk Factory to see how cheese is made. A series of food demos at the Cape Made Kitchen using cheese and complementary ingredients is scheduled.
Cheese and beer tasting in the Agri-Expo Tasting Room is a new addition to the menu and would-be sculptors can show off their talent at the Ladismith cheese carving competition.
In the Checkers theatre, culinary stars like Nataniel and Jenny Morris will present mouthwatering dishes with cheese, meat and wine, while the Gourmet Lane will stock a wide choice of delicious items for brunch, lunch and teas.
A look at the list of cheesemakers taking part this year reveals that, along with Cape Town, products from KwaZulu-Natal, Northern and Western Cape will vie for your tastebuds. From Stilbaai you can sample Kasselshoop cheeses; Loxton Karoo Goats’ milk products present their range and Lantana from Oudtshoorn will tempt you with theirs.
From Williston, in the heart of the Great Karoo, Peter and Francy Schoeman will bring their range which includes Karoo Ash and Camembert Alanna, a semi-soft named after their daughter. Their hard cheeses include the Karoo Swiss, Karoo Blue, Karoobossie and Karoo Crumble, the last two having won Slow Food awards. Their Karoo Swiss won gold in the world Jersey Cheese Championships while Karoo Crumble was one of the winners in the 2013 and 2015 SA Dairy championship.
Francy describes their lifestyle: “We moved to Langbaken, the family sheep farm in the Williston district in 2010” with 10 Jersey heifers with which to begin our dream of making beautiful artisanal cheese. The Karoo with its dry air and rugged terrain plays an important role in the characteristic flavour and texture of these unique cheeses, handcrafted using traditional farmhouse methods.”
Langbaken Karoo cheese is made from raw milk and has a natural rind, giving an earthy flavour to the cheese.
At the festival there will be a safe corner for small visitors and an exclusive area for teens. If you like music with your cheese visit the festival on Monday when Al Bairre and Blackbyrd will help finish the event on a high at the Ladismith Music gazebo.
The festival runs from 10am to 6pm daily at Sandringham. Tickets cost R150 and are only available from Computicket, Shoprite and Checkers stores. Senior citizens pay R100 and children 13 and younger get free entry. No tickets will be sold at the gates. - Myrna Robins