This year’s Good Food and Wine Show was once again at the CTICC and for once, miraculously, I took my own advice: I went early. As a result, I got a really convenient parking space and only had to wait a handful of minutes for the doors to open. There was already quite a long queue of people, but the expo absorbed us all effortlessly and it didn’t feel crowded until lunchtime and by then we’d seen and tasted everything to our hearts’ content.
Thoughtfully, one of the first things encountered upon entry was the coffee stalls, including Café Lux, Redco (Rooibos cappuccino pods), and Melitta, which had its top-of-the-range machine on display: bean to coffee and you can make two cappuccinos at once. Very nifty, but a little on the expensive side.
The Real Meal Revolution is happening, and at this year's expo the Revolution Food Fair section was heavily dominated by Banting. Highlights included:
A neat solution to wine-lovers’ on the go: take-away wine. Wellington Wines presented a six-pack of dry white, dry red, or rose wine in plastic glass-shaped containers made from recycled plastic sealed with foil. I tried one, and am happy to report that it didn’t taste like wine in a plastic container. Definitely a winner for festivals or picnics.
Pierre’s Meat had cold smoked chorizo that is gluten and preservative-free. Their ostrich and orange flavoured chorizo may sound a little daft, but once tasted, it's surprisingly addictive.
#SELFIE is an online aid for weightloss that is Banting-friendly. They offer a range of products and services to make your Banting journey so much easier. And, luckily, their products taste great.
The Banting Baker is based in Durbanville and delivers country-wide. If you are one of the many who simply don’t have the time to bake staple foods like bread, rusks and crackers, then this is the answer to your health-meets-convenience prayers.
Café Budan produces slow-roasted premium coffee beans. They also have the best chocolate covered coffee beans I have ever tasted.
Although they weren’t in the Revolution Food Fair section - and for good reason too given the carb content – I was intrigued by the Mi Whey protein ice cream. It has slightly higher protein content than regular ice cream, but not enough to award a licence to eat as much as you like.
Other health-related exhibitions included a whole range of products made from volcanic ash and a magnesium spray by Healthway. I'm not entirely convinced that magnetic fields can detox your body, but if you are into that sort of thing and it works for you, great. I was more interested in Klein Karoo International Ltd and their ostrich fillets. Wow, the little tasters were excellently prepared and I am a huge fan of ostrich meat. A definite recommendation.
For the visual delight of visitors there were quite a few beautiful cake sculptures, with some particularly impressive edible art from High Tea Tighty and Eat Cake Party. Talk about having your cake and eating it.
Leaving the best for last: the wine section. Personal highlights included:
Vergenoegd’s Flagship wine - a 2005 vintage, Cape Blend.
Baleia Wines in the Hessequa district is a young winery, only about 3 or 4 years old, but it shows a lot of promise. The Erhard Pinot Noir 2014 vintage stood out as something special.
However, my favourite of the day was Paardenkloof, a wine estate situated in the Botrivier district. This is a boutique winery with a number of highly rated wines. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful wine, perfect for the coming winter months. The 2009 Shiraz has a smoky flavour that makes it the ideal accompaniment to flame-grilled steak.
After all of the tasting, talking, and buying, it was a relief to rest the legs at one of the presentation stations. But viewing any of the celebrity theatre presentations required some considerable planning and aggressively attentive queuing. Missing out on the last seat by just a whisker, I decided that I would be happy to catch the Cake Boss on television, and would rather spend the time soaking up the opportunity to experience all the culinary innovations on offer.
The Good Food and Wine Show lived up to its promise, delivering products and entertainment to satisfy every kind of food-lover: the health fanatic, the foodie extraordinaire, and even the regular Jane and Joe who just love to eat. Maybe next year they’ll up the ante and call it the Great Food and Wine Show.