The Taste of Cape Town Festival with Justine Drake, 05.04.12

The Taste of Cape Town is one of my favourite festivals in the Mother City. It always feels so far between each event and every year around October I say, “Isn’t it time for the Taste Festival yet? Still another 6 months? Ag.” But a year is a year (nothing more nothing less) and it’s been a year, the Taste of Cape Town is back!

Year 5 is finally here and boy am I excited! Why? Because I love food! Who doesn’t? But the Taste of Cape Town isn’t some “taste my Dad’s homemade fudge and PLEASE buy some” kind of fair, it’s a special event thanks to the ingenious concept: Get the Western Cape’s finest gourmet kitchens to plan a mini menu, showcase the dishes at the Taste Festival and allow foodies to “taste” as many as they like all for a fraction of the cost. Divine!

The Western Cape is well known for its culinary offerings and hospitality. With the province being rich in viticulture many of the wine farms host some of the best restaurants in South Africa. Recently, the Western Cape claimed 9 out of 10 of South Africa’s best restaurants in the Eat Out Awards. The Cape loves food! Combined with gourmet restaurants which boast top classical, modern and innovative cooking skills, fresh local produce and excellent service, “gourmet” can tend to result in a costly experience. Personally, I have no issue with this. Art is art and I consider gourmet food to be an art – if done correctly, however, the expense does make it a luxury for most young people. This is why the Taste of Cape Town is such a great idea.

This year there are 13 restaurants on board (at this time) which include: Bistro1682 (Steenberg Estate in Tokai), Fyndraai (Solms-Delta in Franschoek), il Leone (Green Point), Planet Restaurant (Mount Nelson Hotel in Gardens), Savour Restaurant (15 on Orange, Gardens), Azure (12 Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay), Makaron (Stellenbosch), Taj (Cape Town), Signal (Cape Grace Hotel, Cape Town), La Colombe (Uitsig, Constantia), Overture (Stellenbosch), Sofia’s at Morgenster (Somerset West) and Westin Exclusive Club Restaurant (Cape Town). Some of these restaurants have been featured before but which delivered the roast beef with mushrooms, scallop with saffron risotto, crocodile with noodles and gooseberries, salted caramel pork with cauliflower purée and micro herbs? I forget! But this is the type of food to expect. Not to forget about the sweets either: Jardine’s White Lindt Chocolate Brownies took a big hit a few years ago after I’d walked past a few times!

20120405-163448.jpgNot only does the festival celebrate food but beverages and desserts as well. Last year Patron Tequila, Boston Beer, Grolsch Beer, to name a few were all featured, as well as numerous wine farms. Just in – this year there is a new pop up concept:

BCTC contacted Eddy Cassar from Eddy Cassar Public Relations who kindly interrupted festival organiser and well known food authoress Justine Drake to ask a few questions about this year’s Taste of Cape Town:

1. What is the purpose of the Taste of Cape Town festival?

Taste festivals celebrate the top restaurants and chefs of the host city – essentially a taste of that city.

2. Is there a target audience?

Taste visitors are highly engaged, affluent, sociable individuals, who are knowledgeable about food, drink and travel.

3. South Africa is a country with a rich food history but is there place for South African produce in gourmet cuisine or is the focus on 1st world skills and flavours at the Taste of CPT?

Taste of Cape Town is very proudly South African and works hard to celebrate and promote the extraordinary talent of our local chefs rather than bring in folk from overseas. We also firmly believe that SA produce is some of the best in the world and we strive to promote the local producers and their ware.

Most SA chefs combine a fusion of local heritage and produce with international culinary trends to create dishes using age-old global culinary skills.

4. What is the biggest misconception about gourmet food?

That just because it looks and sounds posh and is expensive it is by extension good. Gourmet food really should be about the chef’s skill in combining fresh ingredients and flavours in a unique way that resonates with every sense.

5. How do you select the restaurants that feature at The Taste of Cape Town?

Restaurants are ‘by invite only’ and are selected according to topicality, popularity, talent and of course the ability of the chefs and their teams to cope with the number of visitors that join us at Taste.

6. The Taste of Cape Town is not only about food but also drinks and sweets, which other brands are featured this year?

Reds cider, Gordons gin, Jaegermeister, Distell Fine Brandy by Design, Amazing Thailand, loads of wonderful wines and bubblies, and a host of small local producers offering delicious things to eat and buy.

7. Over the years various DJ’s have performed at the Taste of Cape Town, will this continue this year?

This year we have a lineup of DJ’s from Good Hope FM spinning the decks and keeping us in a festive party spirit.

8. It seems a gorgeous location goes hand in hand with the Taste Festival after the 1st four were held at Camps Bay High, The German School in Tamboerskloof, St George’s Grammar in Mowbray and Green Point last year, tell us about this year’s location?

We have always wanted to stay in one location but various factors worked against us until after the World Cup when we were finally granted our new home at the Green Point cricket club – it’s a beautiful, centrally located venue with plenty of parking and we hope to stay there for many years to come.

9. In your opinion, what should festival goers strive to achieve in order to fully appreciate the festival?

They should try and eat at as many restaurants as possible and come to more than one session to maximise the Taste fun-factor experience.

Thank you to Justine Drake for her time.

The Taste of Cape Town occurs on the 19th – 21st of April at the Greenpoint Cricket Club. Book tickets HERE: or view the official website HERE.

For up to date information, check out the Facebook event HERE or follow them on Twitter: @TasteofCT to win tickets!

P.S The Taste Festival is a great date night. I went on a first date to the festival and it was the perfect. Choose whatever food suits you at a fraction of the cost, accompanied by a few toots – always good on a first date = perfect. Until this day I still say I was taken to Overture on my first date 😉

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