Food, glorious food

2012-09-23 07:08

Artisan marshmallows in flavours as weird as cheesecake and as wonderful as Turkish delight.

Jams made by hand from home-grown fruit in flavours as varied as cherry and amaretto, to pinotage and pear.

Irresistible deals on cookware and white-jacketed chefs whizzing from demonstration theatre to demonstration theatre.

It’s Good Food & Wine time again in Joburg and there are all sorts of reasons to go.

Celebrity chefs and food, food, food – from seeds (organic ones to start your own veggie patch with) to stone-ground flour breads, from grassfed beef from the likes of Braeside to gooey cheese from Le Petit France.

Even the big corporates like I&J are there showing off their sustainable fish dinners, and the Swedish frozen food specialists Findus are getting creative with frozen peas and enticing the audience with a chance to win a trip to Sweden’s Ice Hotel.

City Press is there too, tempting readers with strawberries and Magnum ice creams, or just with a chair or a place to put a shopping bag for 10 minutes.

We were invited to join the best stand judging panel and were happy to oblige.

It took 90 minutes, at a trot, just to get around the show – that’s without shopping time – and picking the best stand in all sorts of categories from best design to most interactive and, finally, the Gold Pack, which is the big one, was hungry work.

Which is why, to deliberate we had to tuck into a pot – yes, pot – full of mussels steamed in white wine with a side serving of chips with mayonnaise.

It didn’t make the decisions any easier, but it sure did taste good while we argued the merits of the stands that had caught our individual eye until we had consensus.

In the end – in keeping with Heritage Day – we chose a proudly South African stand for the big one.

The Amarula guys do a good job every year and this year it is better than ever. Interactive and innovative with friendly staff, it made you want to hang out for hours drinking Amarula cocktails.

Which is why they also won the Fine Wines, Beers and Spirits award, pipping the classy Pongracz stand to the prize.

The most innovative stand is a newly minted one – Woolworths Good Food for Kids presented by Cooking Club for Kids.

Mini work stations, mini whisks – basically mini everything for the kitchen, an irresistible idea with chefs teaching children to make easy-peasy pancakes, pizzas and cupcakes all overseen this weekend by Sid from Cbeebies.

The interactive award went to Karan Beef.

Not only were the staff engaging, but in keeping with the Heritage Day theme they are the event’s version of a Chisa Nyama.

You choose your steak or ribs, then the team braai it while you wait and you can wash it down with all sorts of options – from bubblegum tequila to sparkling vodka – as the stand is within pouring distance of all the liquor stands.

» The Good Food & Wine stand awards list

Most Interactive:
1. Karan Beef

Most Innovative:
1. Woolworths Good Food for Kids, presented by Cooking Club for Kids

Best Speciality Product Display:
1. Sweet Temptations

2. Oh La La Artisan Confectionery

3. Mediterranean Delicacies

Best Designer Stand:
1. Sally Williams

2. Findus

Fine Wines, Beers & Spirits:
1. Amarula

2. Pomgracz

3. Exclusive Beverages

Gold Pack:
1. Amarula

The Blubird and Jozi Food Market deserve a special mention for the quality of all those exhibiting.

» The Good Food & Wine Show is on at The Dome@Northgate until Monday, September 24.

» Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala. Follow City Press: @City_Press

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