The annual South African Cheese Festival, which celebrates some of the Western Cape’s finest agricultural produce, takes place at Sandringham Estate in Stellenbosch this weekend.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer said: “The annual South African Cheese Festival not only plays a major role in promoting the province’s agricultural produce and agri-processing sector, but also helps to cement the Western Cape’s reputation as a culinary and events destination.”
The annual event hosted by Agri Expo is now in its 18th year and attracts 30 000 people over three days in which tonnes of cheese and other agricultural products, including wine, honey, fruit and vegetables and nuts are consumed.
The Department of Agriculture in the Western Cape partners with Agri-Expo as well as other partners including Hortgro, the Milk Producers’ Organisation, Grain South Africa and the Private Hotel school to promote small cheese makers, as well as to highlight alternative crops at the Cape Made Pavilion.
The #Support #Smallcheesemakers project gives boutique cheese makers the opportunity to market their products to thousands of visitors at the festival. Previous exhibitors have indicated that the South African Cheese Festival has helped them boost sales and reach new buyers.
“Agri-processing is an important sector in terms of job creation in the Western Cape, and the growth of small cheese makers means that they are able to contribute to further job creation,” Minister Schäfer said.
CEO of Agri-Expo Johan Ehlers said: “We encourage the public to support these entrepreneurs, who, despite the drought, come from far and wide to introduce their unique handmade cheeses to cheese lovers at the SA Cheese Festival.”
The Cape Made Pavilion focuses on promoting alternative agricultural produce such as honey, honeybush, rooibos, figs, berries and pomegranates.
Among the innovative local products on offer to festival goers are ice cream made from insects by local producers Gourmet Grubb, abalone pies made by the Blinkwaters co-operative as well as an array of jams, sauces and even body products.
Each year, the Cape Made Kitchen highlights how alternative crops can be incorporated into delicious meals and dishes, with live cooking demonstrations and a beautifully produced recipe booklet.
Minister Schäfer received the new recipe book this morning, filled with recipes devised by the Private Hotel School.
“Alternative crops have a high market value, are often more water wise and are labour intensive which is why we are involved in the Cape Made Kitchen initiative, to promote their use and grow uptake of these crops,” Minister Schäfer said.
PHOTO: Minister Schafer, with HOD of the Department of Agriculture Joyene Isaacs and CEO of Agri-Expo, Johan Ehlers
with the staff and makers of Kasselshoop Cheese, a boutique cheese maker based near Stilbaai.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044