On the eve of a sold-out event, the organisers deal with conflicting emotions…a) relief and excitement that all tickets were sold! And b) pressure to deliver! And with the rain coming down in true Cape Town fashion, we were extremely grateful that we had chosen a cosy underground cellar for the 2nd Food Craft Dining Experience! It certainly lived up to its title – and indeed we presented a wine and dine EXPERIENCE to a full house of 50 acquiescent guests.
It was fantastic to welcome a few familiar faces and it seems we have a small crowd of ‘FC Fans’ developing – we love this…it speaks to heart of the Food Craft philosophy. In particular, two divine ladies (no names mentioned) who have already decided on our next, and next after that Food Craft concepts…it looks as if we have our mascots in the bag!
So for this, our 2nd Food Craft Experience we welcomed our guests into Rococoa at The Palms Centre in Woodstock (Cape Town of course)…and promptly guided them down a flight of stairs and into a warmly lit old underground champagne cellar – their home away from home for the next few hours. Our minimal décor relied on candlelight bouncing off the hundreds (well, almost) of old glass wine bottles surrounding us together with dramatic floral arrangements of spider-like succulents (stolen in the rain from an obliging neighbour) and brightly coloured, singular stems of gerbs, roses and lillies in oversized glass bowls…down our long banquet table – allowing us all to partake in this dinner experience together, at the same table!
Upon arrival, guests were greeted by a glass of Nitida’s Matriarch in Red Shiraz MCC – an exquisitely sophisticated sparkling, the colour of berries and best served immediately upon opening so as to retain its bubbles. A surprize in a glass…a delicately flavoured sparkling wine with a gentle fizz on the tongue – and brilliantly paired with our platters of charcuterie at its finest supplied by 12 Pigs from the Anura Wine Estate in Paarl. In my opinion, this was simply heaven on a plate…a generous tasting of Salami Finocchiona (fennel), Redwine Bresoala (cured in old oak red wine barrels), Coppa and Pancetta made with all the love and respect in the world for old fashioned curing techniques and the rearing of happy animals in a harmonious, beautiful environment.
Charles Joubert, the man behind the 12 Pigs tale is the epitome of a master craftsman who lives and breathes his craft for the sake of his products and educating people about them. His charcuterie oozes his passion, and he goes nowhere without his mini solid oak chopping board and signature knife together with a constant stock in his boot “just in case” he may come across some willing tasters on his daily deliveries. Charcuterie supplier to hot-spots such as Four and Twenty in Wynberg, 12 Pigs is our latest best kept secret – now revealed of course….and we are so excited by the due response!
Of course, Food Craft is all about complete spoiling….and to partner the meats, Eat.Art relinquished the hands of their in-house artisanal baker to bake us a few home-made breads using the Eat.Art Za-atar Gourmet Spice blend for the table….accompanied by generously sponsored Rio Largo Balsamic and Olive Oil sets.
The Nitida team including Terence van der Walt (Siris Vintners) and Jacus Marais (Nitida) poignantly guided (and entertained) guests as they talked them through the pairing of wines for the evening, bringing us to the next – a 5-star John Platter white blend; and one of Nitidas flagship wines – the Coronata.
Received equally fantastically with resounding “oohs and aahs”, the starter – by private chef and caterer Ian Hamilton composed baked mini camembert’s encrusted in Eat.Art Dukkah spice, accompanied by honeyed figs with pomegranate infusions and a crunchy crostini. A perfect suitor to the Coronata, and equally matched in depth of flavour. Lips and fingers were licked and then some…
What we love about Food Craft is our “Oprah – take a look under your chair” moment, which we time just for when our guests lean back in complete satisfaction. We draw names from a spittoon (no less) and spoil them some more! Prizes generously sponsored by our collaborators included: an Art of Tea Tube Gift by Eat.Art, a voucher for the exclusive services of Ian Hamilton for a private dinner/ lunch/ brunch function for 12 guests worth around R2000; a twin pack of Nitida’s flagship wines, a Rio Largo oil and vinegar set, a 12 Pigs goodie bag as well as various Eat.Art Gourmet Spices and Salts of Origin pots.
And then….moving on to the body of the evening with our guests now beyond satisfied, the Nitida team present their next show-stopper, the 4-star John Platter Nitida Cabernet! Need I say anything more about this wine…and well paired with the Chilli and Chocolate steak served by the venue, Rococoa, themselves – plates were cleaned despite the lingering feeling of belly’s full. Mains were accompanied by exotic salad platters of baby spinach, pear, beet and goats cheese with a signature Rococoa (supposedly secret) dressing together with Eat.Arts generous selection of iconic Chilli Addict sauces, exotic Salts of Origin and gorgeous (with 25 year warranty on the mechanism!) pepper Crushgrinder sets to ensure a full flavour, maximum deliciousness experience.
By this stage, with wine and conversation flowing, strangers had become good mates, and the Food Craft philosophy was weaving its magic amongst our food lovers alike!
And to bring us to the final part of our evenings experiences – as well as for an added injection of food culture – the magic of the Eat. Art Flowering Teaball range was presented to guests as water-filled glass teapots were placed on the table into which teaballs were dropped to blossom and bloom to the delight of our guests…of course whilst treating them to an informal truffle-making demonstration by Rococoa.
Our experiences are never single-layered, and Food Craft takes great delight in watching our guests soak up the experiences our collaborators present to them. To top it off, we bid guests farewell with goodie bags full of take-home surprizes….just in case there was room for more!
Our Food Craft functions are made possible by the generous time and commitment of the collaborators who make it all happen, and we extend our hugest thanks to: Nitida Wines, Siris Vintners, Ian Hamilton Food Finery, 12 Pigs, Rococoa and of course to Eat.Art for bringing together the experiences lavished upon our lucky guests – and of course….to our guests for your support and enthusiasm.
Food Craft is all about allowing food lovers to experience new and exciting products themselves rather than us relying on traditional marketing methods of speaking about our products. Our function are wholeheartedly experiential and aimed at creating love affairs between local artisanal producers and the people who come to appreciate and support them.
So….don’t miss the next one! Watch this space – we cannot wait to spoil you again and again and again!
SIRIS VINTNERS} email@example.com
IAN HAMILTON FOOD FINERY} firstname.lastname@example.org / 072 843 7352
Written for eat.art by: Nancy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle
Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie. Having worked with the Eat.Art team before, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the Eat.Art blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.