More then 30 000 visitors are expected to attend the SA Cheese Festival.
More then 30 000 visitors are expected to attend the SA Cheese Festival

It is believed that the best way to explore South African culture is through our food and beverages. Most definitely yes! And with the SA Cheese Festival celebrating its 18th anniversary this entire weekend, there are three things you can be sure of: a great vibe, world-class cheese and entertainment for the whole family.

Happening from today (Friday 26 April) to this Sunday at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, the #SACheeseFestival will again provide the opportunity for a number of boutique cheesemakers to introduce their products to more than 30 000 visitors.

Many exhibitors use the festival as a platform to launch new products and test the market, and festival goers get discover new products before it appears on shelves.

If you’re really big into cheese, Cheese Emporium, the heart of the festival, has got you covered. A variety of cheeses are on display here for you to taste and buy; some old favourites, and a few daring new ones.

Hungry? Good!

Festival goers will get to discover new products before it appears on store shelves.
Festival goers will get to discover new products before it appears on store shelves.

Although cheese may be at the centre of this popular festival, visitors can also learn more about niche and alternative products such as pomegranates, chillies, and even insect ice cream. (Food For Mzansi dares you to try that last one and tell us about it!)

Other interesting new delights for foodies to look out for include a garlic dip with a splash of

brandy, abalone pie and pickled seafood and ginger beer. Not to mention kefir water, kombucha vinegar, Turkish coffee, rooibos vodka, kudu salami, buchu limoncello and gin, free range chicken biltong, and beeswax and hemp skin products. Literally a mouthful!

Fun at the fest

As always, entertainment is a big part of the festival’s offering.

For the adults, there’s the acclaimed Music Gazebo that features an exciting line-up of talented musicians, including the sensational jazz band Sincere Swing as well as ShenFM, the Shim Sham band, Absolutely Fabulous and Under Cover, amongst others.

What about the little ones? Don’t worry, there’s plenty for them to do while you have the time of your life. Kids will be hosted in the kiddie’s corner and entertained with a variety of activities.

The Ladismith Cheese Carving Competition will take place at the blossom’s gazebo.
The Ladismith Cheese Carving Competition will take place at the blossom’s gazebo.

This year, the cheese will come to life with the Ladismith Cheese Carving Competition at the blossom’s gazebo. The competition gives participants the opportunity to test their creative cheese carving skills for a chance to win some great prizes.

Food Theatres

Food lovers who like adventurous pairing experiences will enjoy a feast of six daily demonstrations in the Tasting Room, at no extra cost. Well-known foodies 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 will share their pairing secrets – combining cheese with wine, beer and other complementary products.

Come discover the story behind Afrikoa chocolate from Tanzania and what makes Prosecco different to Champagne.

No tickets at the gate

Unfortunately, no tickets will be available at the gates so make sure you get online and buy tickets on Computicket or at Computicket desks in all Shoprite and Checkers stores. Tickets are R180.00 per day, with senior citizens paying R120 and children aged 2 to 13 R20.

Visit www.cheesefestival.co.za for more information and programme highlights.

Duncan Masiwa
DUNCAN MASIWA is a budding journalist with a passion for telling great agricultural stories. He hails from Macassar, close to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where he first started writing for the Helderberg Gazette community newspaper. Besides making a name for himself as a columnist, he is also an avid poet who has shared stages with artists like Mahalia Buchanan, Charisma Hanekam, Jesse Jordan and Motlatsi Mofatse.