The best food stores and markets in the country

The 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards event at Stellenbosch Slowmarket

The 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards event at Stellenbosch Slowmarket

In April we announced the best cheese, bread, confectionery, meat and vegetables in the country at the 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards. But this celebration would be incomplete without acknowledging the delis and bunting-swathed markets that bring amazing food to the public. We introduce you to our judges’ pick of the best food stores and markets in the country.

Best Market – North: Neighbourgoods Market in Johannesburg

The story: What happened when the founders of the Neighbourgoods Market in Cape Town, Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro, met with Adam Levy of Play Braamfontein, a company at the forefront of turning the once-dilapidated neighbourhood into the creative hub that it is now? The Neighbourgoods Market Johannesburg was born, and not only is it a bit bigger than its Mother City counterpart, but this market has quickly become a weekly culinary highlight. The offering includes seasonal fruit and veggies, delicious mini-Mediterranean quiches, meat from former produce awards winner Braeside Butchery, and beers from Darling Brewery – all with amazing views of the city from the upper-level outdoor terrace.

What the judges say: “The Joburg market is brimming with deliciousness and more than its fair share of hip fashion folk.” – Anelde Greeff
Visit the Neighbourgoods Market listing for more information. 

Best Outlet – North: Cheese Gourmet in Johannesburg

The story: Twenty years ago, passionate foodies Jo and Brian Dick discovered the world of handmade cheeses and started selling these at Irene Market and various other craft markets. This passion grew into a more permanent fixture when they decided to open Cheese Gourmet in Linden in 2005. Over the years the shop has grown to encompass more than just cheese. Today it stocks specialised products that are not readily available, such as handmade jams, marmalades, pickles, preserves, mustards, sauces, butter and yoghurt. They aim to change the shopping experience into a relaxed, fun interaction while imparting knowledge about food, its origins, uses and the personalities behind the products.

What the judges say: “Cheese Gourmet not only offers great service and wares, but also specialises in customer education. You learn so much about their cheeses, and taste lots of them, too!” – Abigail Donnelly

Visit the Cheese Gourmet listing for more information.

I Heart Market in Durban

I Heart Market in Durban

Best Market – East: I Heart Market in Durban

The story: Anna Savage started the I Heart Market in Durban five years ago, with the idea to create a platform for local producers. What began as a small market with 12 stalls has blossomed into an extremely popular monthly market with more than 150 producers. Food vendors are accepted on the basis that they sell locally grown or produced “real food”, made with the freshest ingredients and lots of flavour, and vendors are encouraged to use environmentally friendly packaging. “We wanted to get the public out of the malls, to engage with local artisans and designers and, by doing so, create a better sense of community and a greater appreciation for quality products,” explains Anna. Mission accomplished.

What the judges say: “This market boasts a great variety of foodie products – from charcuterie and baked products to cooked items. And the vibe is just stunning.” – Jackie Cameron

Visit the I Heart Market listing for more information.

Best Outlet – East: Sprigs in Durban

The story: There’s just no end to the talents of the Ras sisters, Fiona and Claire. Apart from the great food served at their restaurant, Sprigs, in Durban, they also do catering, publish recipe books and recently revamped and extended their deli. Clients can expect, among other things, a variety of cured meats, cheeses and baked products. Says Fiona: “Claire and I have always loved working with food.” Both are trained chefs who travelled overseas and worked in various hotels and restaurants, before setting up shop in Durban in 1998. They’ve never looked back, and today the food store serves as an important base for locals on the hunt for quality produce.

What the judges say: “The Sprigs food store has recently been nicely revamped, and now stocks a variety of their excellent homemade produce, as well as products sourced from KZN. The quality remains top-notch.” – Jackie Cameron

Visit the Sprigs listing for more information.

Goods at the Cape Town Neighbourgoods Market

Goods at the Cape Town Neighbourgoods Market

Best Market: South: Neighbourgoods Market in Cape Town

The story: Every Saturday, through rain and shine, The Neighbourgoods Market acts as Cape Town’s weekly urban stage for fine-food purveyors of all walks of life. Founded in 2006 by entrepreneurs Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro, the market is housed in an old warehouse and courtyard at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, and its creation and popularity is, to a large extent, responsible for the bloom of urban regeneration now seen in this industrial neighbourhood. Eight years after its inception, Neighbourgoods is still one of the hippest culinary weekly events in Cape Town – testament to the fact that good food will never go out of fashion.

What the judges say: “I’m not sure Capetonians knew what a food market was before Neighbourgoods. It introduced us to a wonderful world of artisan products. Even thought it’s a bit of stampede on a Saturday morning, it’s one of the best places to shop for excellent local produce.” – Anelde Greeff

Visit the Neighbourgoods Market listing for more information.

Best Outlet – South:  Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in Cape Town

The story: There’s no doubt about it, Andy Fenner is very passionate about meat. But not just any meat – he is one of South Africa’s foremost champions of eating excellent meat: free-range, hormone-free meat sourced from farmers that follow ethical practices. At Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in Cape Town, Andy and his team practice whole beast butchery.  Their aim is to get people back in touch with where food comes from, but also to introduce them to new cuts. “We want people to eat less meat, but the right kind. It should be celebrated as a luxury item.”

What the judges say: “Andy’s work really contributes to the upliftment of the industry. This outlet serves to educate the public and chefs by connecting with the farmers. And their innovative use of cuts is also very impressive.” – Abigail Donnelly

Visit the Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants listing for more information.

Watch a video of the 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards here. Find out more on our awards page.


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