Taste the origin of your food at this year’s Woordfees

Celebrated chef Bertus Basson has a food philosophy rooted in traditional South African food culture.

Mutton from the Hardemanskaroo to the Kamdeboo, Qualité cheeses, grass-fed meat and venison, as well as South Africa’s Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc and other award-winning wines, are some of the interesting taste experiences awaiting festivalgoers at the US Woordfees in Stellenbosch.

The fourth annual Agri-Expo Agricultural Series is from Friday 1 to Sunday 10 March 2019 at the Woordfees, a multidisciplinary event considered a highlight on Mzansi’s national arts calendar. This series features no less than nine tasting sessions with well-known food and wine personalities as presenters.

Johan Ehlers, Chief Executive Officer of Agri-Expo, says that as an agricultural society they promote the image of agriculture in exciting ways. “This initiative at the Woordfees, in collaboration with our partners, creates an accessible and entertaining platform for promoting agricultural products. This year Agri-Expo has teamed up the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group, Lamb and Mutton SA, Merino SA, Shiraz SA, Fairview, Cape Vintner Classification, Konsortium Merino, Veritas and the Grass Fed Association of South Africa.

Merino leg of lamb tasting 

Award-winning chef Bertus Basson

Friday, 1 March 2019: Chef Bertus Basson once again offers the popular tasting of Merino leg of lamb from different regions, in collaboration with Merino SA.

Basson has a food philosophy rooted in traditional South African food culture with a modern outlook. The popular TV chef and author is famed for, amongst others, the remarkable success of the Overture restaurant, which he established as chef and owner in 2007. The meat Basson will be preparing is of Merino lamb which is equally old, equally aged and cooked in the same way, with no seasoning.

Guests can taste the flavours of the different regions and decide for themselves which tastes best. Well-known Cape Wine Master and Veritas Vice-President, Bennie Howard, will pair the meat with Veritas award-winning wines.

Shiraz and venison 

Edmund Terblanche, La Motte cellar master and chairman of the SA Shiraz Association.

Saturdays, 2 and 9 March 2019: Come experience why South African Shiraz wines are considered to be the best match for venison. Edmund Terblanche, Chairman of Shiraz South Africa, as well as cellar master and award-winning winemaker of La Motte wine estate, shares his knowledge while chef Bertus Basson prepares different venison cuts – without any additions such as jam, sauces or spices.

Discover the origin of your food 

Sunday, 3 March 2019: Come discover the story behind the food you eat every day. Chef Bertus Basson puts conventional as well as grass-fed meat under the magnifying glass during this tasting session. Experts from the Grass Fed Association of South Africa discuss why traceability is the new buzzword.

White & Red: Blends unique to the Cape

Tuesday, 5 March 2019: A new tasting experience in collaboration with Cape Vintner Classification (CVC), an organisation that promotes distinctive site-specific Cape wines. White and red French Bordeaux wines are mostly blends of different cultivars that complement each other – come and taste how this principle is applied locally, as explained by winemakers from Kanonkop and Vergelegen.

Taste Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc wines and Qualité cheeses

RJ Botha

Wednesday, 6 March 2019: Only 13 out of 563 South African cheeses received the Qualité mark of excellence at Agri-Expo’s South African Dairy Championships held last year. Some truly believe it is like the Oscars, with just a little more culture.

RJ Botha, Chairman of the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group, pairs some of these award-winning cheeses with top achievers at the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 competition.

Konsortium-Merino lamb tasting

Thursday, 7 March 2019: A unique tasting of Konsortium-Merino, known for their adaptability from the Highveld to the Swartland, the Overberg, the Karoo and the Eastern Cape. Connoisseurs can taste lamb from five different regions paired with Veritas-award-winning red wines. The lamb is aged equally and prepared by chef Bertus Basson in the same way, with no flavouring.

Cheese and wine tasting with Charles Back

Charles Back, owner of Fairview Wine and Cheese.

Friday, 8 March 2019: Charles Back, third generation owner of the renowned wine and cheese estate Fairview in Paarl in the Western Cape, presents a tasting of innovative cheese and wine styles.

Back is known for doing things differently, such as introducing Mediterranean grapes such as Viognier, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah to the Cape, and developing a range of over 50 cow’s milk and goat’s milk artisanal cheeses.

Expect entertaining stories about his journey from young wine- and cheesemaker to multi-award-winning icon. For more information on Back, do read his earlier inspiring interview with Food For Mzansi.

Sunday mutton braai with Gordon Wright

Karoo Food, the best-seller by Gordon Wright.

Sunday, 10 March 2019: It’s not every day that the King of the Karoo, Gordon Wright, joins the Woordfees for Sunday lunch. Come enjoy mutton from the Overberg, the Hardemanskaroo and the Kamdeboo, presented in collaboration with Lamb and Mutton SA. Wright, author of top sellers Farm to Fork and Karoo Food, will talk about how South African mutton has become part of the international Slow Food movement and is in fact a national treasure.