Our annual Eat In Awards want to acknowledge and celebrate outstanding, independent South African producers for putting South Africa on the international food map with their integrity, passion and innovation. These are producers that deliver a consistently high quality product that is SA grown or developed using primary produce from SA. Due care and consideration for both the environment and workforce are essential criteria.
Of course, an outlet is a vital connection between the producers and public, which is why the awards also recognise the stores, shops and market for their vital role in the process.
The winners of the SAB Eat In Produce Awards were announced at a night market in Cape Town on 17 March 2011.
Anelde has been in the publishing industry for just under 10 years. Her time has been divided between a variety of magazines, most notably as features editor of Woolworths Taste and group editor of Edgars Club Magazine. Currently, she is executive editor of Eat In and Eat Out and editor of Eat In. The ultimate Eat In reader, she loves shopping for food and discovering new markets, stores and products even more than she does cooking. And she really loves cooking.
Multi-talented Anna is an anthropologist, author and chef. She obtained her doctorate in medical anthropology from Wits before pursuing her passion for cooking and qualifying at the Prue Leith College of Food and Wine. She has written a host of cookbooks, most notably the best-selling food biography Hunger for Freedom: The Story of Food in the Life of Nelson Mandela.
Justine juggles her duties as editor of Pick n Pay’s in-store foodie mag Fresh Living with those of festival director of the Taste of Cape Town and Joburg festivals. She’s been the food editor of publications including Men’s Health, Shape and Fairlady, presented the BBC Lifestyle series Just in Africa and has written six cookbooks.
Michelle is the daughter of Durban culinary queen Christina Martin and knows the food industry inside out. Since qualifying at Durban’s Royal Hotel, she’s clocked up over 26 years’ experience as a chef, restaurateur and culinary educator. She’s currently principal of the Christina Martin Cookery School and group executive chef of the Three Cities Hotel Group.
Food alchemist Pete Goffe-Wood qualified at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks before establishing himself as a chef, restaurateur, food critic, events organiser, author and TV personality. He splits his time between running his Hout Bay restaurant Wild Woods and hosting his popular series of Kitchen Cowboys workshops.
Many may have the inclination, but few have the constitution to spend two consecutive days tasting their way through a small deli’s worth of produce. Fortunately, the five seasoned judges on this year’s SAB Eat In Produce Awards panel (Anelde Greeff, Justine Drake, Pete Goffe-Wood, Anna Trapido and Michelle Barry) were able to maintain their enthusiasm from the first slice of sourdough bread right through to the last morsel of chocolate salami. The event, hosted at the Food Studio of gourmet goddess Marlene van der Westhuizen, saw the judges taste their way through a staggering 10 categories of local produce, discerning the mundane from the magnificent as they went along. Needless to say, a round of palate-cleansing cocktails was called for by the end, which is how the judges landed up on Marlene’s stoep, toasting their choices for the 2011 SAB Eat In Produce Awards. Here then, the very deserved winners.
Best new product
Criteria: The winning product is innovative, grown in South Africa or made using primarily local produce, and developed with due care for the environment.
Who: Before Barbara Kleinschmidt started Totally Wild, she sold unsweetened aloe juice. The only problem was that it didn’t taste very good! So, back to the drawing board she went to develop an aloe-based drink that was both 100% natural and delicious. Why: Besides being tasty (something like a blend of apple and pear) baobab juice is crammed full of calcium, iron and vitamins, and when combined with the health properties of aloe, you have a winner. Where: Pick n Pay stores in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and selected Spar and independent stores in other provinces. For a full list of stockists, visit www.totallywild.co.za.
South African Heritage
Criteria: The winner is an individual, group or community in the food or agriculture industry that preserves threatened produce, farming practices and gourmet traditions, while treating the environment and workforce with due care and consideration.
Winner: Enaleni Farm
Who: Richard Haigh and Dave Brennan are at the helm of the 23- acre mixed farm dedicated to the conservation of crops and animals indigenous to the KZN. On top of tending to their small herd of Nguni cattle, they’ve gone to great lengths to increase the numbers of the endangered Zulu sheep, imvu. They’re also saving a collection of rare, local maize varietals from obscurity (steadfastly saving seeds after harvest and resowing them) and making maize meal and polenta from it. Lastly, they’ve revived interest in the traditional ibhece melon by using it in their jams. Why: The judges were all inspired by Richard and Dave’s concerted effort to not only preserve local culture and traditions, but also the environment. And when it came to the tasting, their products came out tops. Resident makataan connoisseur Pete fell in love with the juicy
crunch of the gingery melon jam, while the rest of the panel
raved about the succulent lamb and fluffy polenta. “They’re
uplifting, eco-epicurean and fabulously South African,”
was what Anna had to say. Where: Enaleni Farm, D685, Pietermaritzburg;
082 872 20
Best Producer: Organic
Criteria: The produce is grown in South Africa or made predominantly with local produce. It is certified 100% organic and has all the relevant documentation.
Winner: Kimilili’s Witzenberger cheese
Who: Robert von Tobien, who passed away in September last year, gave up the fast-paced world of investment banking for the decidedly more tranquil one of cheese making. In a mountainous outpost near Tulbagh, Kimilili’s cows graze from the land before their milk is transformed by hand into mouth-watering cheese the traditional way, using nothing but cheese cultures, microbial rennet and salt. Why: Made in the Swiss Appenzell tradition, the tangy, six-month matured Witzenberger’s depth of flavour had the judges carving off slice after slice. Anelde pronounced it an extremely sexy cheese, while Michelle felt that good organic cheeses are few and far between, which is all the more reason to celebrate this outstanding Witzenberger. Where: Kimilili Farm, Boontjiesrivier Road, off the R46,
Tulbagh; 023 231 1503
Small Produce Awards
Criteria: The winning product is grown in SA or made with primarily local produce. It is of superior quality and has maintained its level of excellence for more than two years. All of this is done with consideration for the environment and the workforce.
Winner: Chuck and Bobs
Who: Out of sheer frustration with the state of local charcuterie, Simon Hemingway and Roche Dry decided to give the whole meat curing business a go themselves. After plenty of trial and error they’ve become masters of the trade, producing a small, handcrafted range of bacon, salamis and hams that have their fans queuing at local produce markets. Why: The flavour and texture of Chuck and Bobs’ range of cured Meats delighted the judges, as did the small-scale, hands-on way in which they produce their charcuterie. Pete values them as extremely skilled artisans, while Michelle was impressed with the excellent flavour. She proved her enthusiasm by tucking into a second slice of the smoked, honey-cured bacon. Where: Chuck and Bobs Charcuterie; 082 565 7545; email@example.com
Winner: The Drift Farm’s range of organic fruit and veg
Who: Owned and run by David Jack, this family-run farm goes to immense lengths to put the environment first: no harmful pesticides or fertilisers, a wind turbine provides most of the farm’s power, veggies are packaged in compostable materials and even the packing sheds are washed with organic cleaning products. What makes this farm even more remarkable is that it specialises in rare vegetables like black Aztec corn, fingerling aubergines and candy-striped beets. Why: The judges were impressed by The Drift Farm’s selection of farm-fresh veggies, and the lengths to which they went to ensure everything was grown exactly as nature intended. Especially eye catching were the red and white candy striped baby beetroots. Top marks also went to the fruity olive oil and pure, golden honey. Where: Available by arrangement from The Drift Farm,
Napier; 028 423 3812. For a complete list of their seasonal
produce, visit www.thedrift.co.za.
Who: Owned and run by Franck Dangereux and Pete de Bruin, The Foodbarn Restaurant, Bakery and Deli lives out its ethos of preparing natural, healthy and delicious food. All of their breads are made using nothing but locally produced stone-ground flour, natural yeast and water. Why: Taste, texture and freshness secured The Foodbarn’s woodfired loaves a place at the top of the bakery list. The springy, slightly yeasty ciabatta with its perfectly formed holes was the toast of the table, as was the wonderfully moist and nutty rye bread. Where: Noordhoek Farm Village, Village Lane, Noordhoek; 021 789 1390. Also see p93.
Winner: Swissland St Maure cheese
Who: Fran Isaac first started experimenting with the art of goats’ milk cheese 30 years ago on her parents’ farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Years later, she’s turned her hobby into a successful business, producing eight different cheeses with more than a little help from her 65-strong herd of goats. Why: The judges were blown away by the character of Fran’s fromages, most notably the soft St Maure log, with its slightly salty, nutty taste. “It’s pretty, classic and uncomplicated. Just the way it should be,” said Anna. Where: Swissland Cheese Farm, Old Main Road, Balgowan; 033 234 4042.
Who: What began as a way to make ends meet has evolved into a successful business for Soraya Parker. Together with her husband Riyaaz and son Shakeel, she started out in her home kitchen, cooking, pickling and embellishing old family recipes as she went along. Why: “Hello, flavour of the Cape!” These were Anna’s words on tasting a spoonful of the fragrant Mebos Chutney, which she called both innovative and delicious. The other members of the judging panel would have gladly concurred, were they not all so engrossed in sampling the rest of the range. “I’m overwhelmed with admiration” said Pete after tasting the crunchy pickle, while Anelde was particularly impressed with the dhania. Where: Hex River Valley, Western Cape; 021 637 8751, 072 984 7794.
Winner: The Kitchen Garden sprouts
Who: Winner of last year’s Eat In Awards Earth category and the previous year’s Innovation award, Joseph Feigelson first became fascinated with the versatility of sprouts when his daughter asked him for help on a school project. They decided to demonstrate how easy and inexpensive it was to grow sprouts from home, and how, if implemented by more people, sprout-growing could help alleviate hunger in South Africa. The school project is long over, but Joseph’s sprout obsession is still going strong. He supplies some of the country’s top chefs and offers the largest variety of edible sprouts in Africa. Where: The Kitchen Garden, Tokai; 082 820 9646. Why: For his continued sense of innovation, his extensive range of sprouts, which includes everything from rocket to kohlrabi, as well as his contribution to
society. “This man just keeps on being innovative,” says
Best Markets and Stores: Outlets
Criteria: The winning supplier, outlet or market uplifts and supports the small SA producer with in-store promotion, customer education, dedicated shelf space and consumer feedback.
North Braeside Meat Market
Caroline McCann’s butchery has been in her family for 13 years. She believes in sourcing the best, most ethically reared meat. “This woman is amazing,” said Anna. “She goes out on the weekend to shoot venison, she offers braai classes and she’s even breeding local turkeys.”
This family-friendly farmers’ market is the real deal. It’s awarded for its conviviality, its unaffected charm and its amazing range of fresh farm produce. “It’s the best possible way you can spend your Saturday morning,” said Anna, one of the market’s biggest fans.
Get Stuffed Enterprises’ The Real Cheese
Get Stuffed’s Valerie Elder has been sourcing local cheeses for more than 10 years. Her range of South African cheeses is hard to beat and is illustrative of her dedication to our local cheesemaking talents. She’s been championing artisan cheese since before it was the cool thing to do.
Founded by Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro in 2006, this hub of fabulous produce saw what was once the lacklustre suburb of Woodstock transformed into a sought-after food destination. As Pete explained, “Hands-down, they’re the best suppliers of local, innovative fare. Each visit inspires me. They really do their best to source the most interesting produce.”
East Everfresh La Lucia
Paula Marques is at the helm of the La Lucia branch of Everfresh where he goes to great lengths to promote fresh, indigenous produce. They deserve recognition for always going the extra mile for their customers. Michelle pointed out that they stock the widest range of products, from imported truffles and cheeses to indigenous beans and mfenu.
The Food Market
Established by Emma Dunk, Nick Papadopoulos, Eric Edwards and Karen Brokensha, this market showcases the produce of KZN. The award is for their dedication to delivering superb produce, as well as their enthusiasm for promoting KZN’s produce and producers.
Central The Valley Market
Initiated by Karen Harmse, this new market at the foothills of the Magaliesberg offers the bounty of the area, as well as the culinary talents of its residents. We salute her for pioneering artisan produce in an area where it’s sorely needed. The online box scheme delivering to Joburg and its surrounds gave the judges all the more reason to award them the prize.