The National Geographic’s Digital Nomad, seen in Cape Town recently, confessed he loves cheese. Pity he had to fly out the day before the Mother City’s famous Cheese Festival. Bad timing Mr Nomad! But the peripatetic fan du fromage (aka Andrew Evans) did get to enjoy a koeksister and a Gatsby while he was here – on business. His job is to travel the world and tell the story – soak in the soul of the destination and spill it out on-line. We sat around him on the rooftop of the Grand Daddy Hotel in Long Street proudly drinking in his favourable impressions of our town – hearing about it as if afresh. He learnt that ubuntu wasn’t just a word, climbed Lion’s Head with Hottentot Jethro and kayaked (nervously) over sharks with human polar bear, Lewis Gordon-Pugh – and lost his glasses. He wouldn’t say where’s he’s headed next – it’s always a secret. His twitter handle is @wheresandrew. But you can read his blog to find out more and revel in the level to which he absorbed the souls of Cape Town. And you can hear him tell me how he got into this job on The Enviro-Show on SAfm, May 24 from 9pm.
So I went to The Cheese Festival on his behalf. Under a bivouac of tents and umbrellas at its new home in Sandringham half way between the city and Paarl, the event brings out the mice in droves – on Day One, Freedom Day, over 10,000 people nibbled their way through a million micro blocks of freebie cheese washed down with a lake of local wine. It’s also an opportunity to meet the four-legged source in the Milk Factory avenue – though my heart went out to the wide-eyed tethered Holstein with bulging pink udders and a bell around her neck who bellowed a lonely note as we took her picture. Highlight in the Media tent was a soft fat cambrini sandwiched with cream cheese, shot through with nuts, green fig slivers and topped with berry sauce assembled by Creative Cuisine. A cholesterol rush to be sure but the sort of thing you dream about on hungry hikes. Creative Cuisine people were selling the full range of potted gourmet goodies in the Checkers Cheese Emporium, but I weakened over a disc of delicate white goat’s cheese hand-made by Pepe Charlot all the way from Jo’burg. Festival runs till Monday 30th and it seems unlikely they’d run out of cheese.
But the taste buds had already seen some action this day, because first stop had been Worcester where we went to find….The Sauce – yup, Miss JL Hall’s Genuine Homemade Worcester Sauce! Well it’s a long story – but Ms Hall turns out to be a northern lass from the UK who came to the Cape to join the textile industry. But when in Worcester – make sauce! In a tasting of this flavouring-colourant-preservative-gluten-free artisinal range on her kitchen patio, we sampled ‘original’, ‘no chilli’, ‘extra chilli’, ‘bliksemstraal’ and ‘with tomato’. ‘With tomato’ took my vote, slightly thicker, rich and intense – great with cheese as it happens. Novel postcard labelling says ‘greetings from Worcester.’ Source it for yourself – check her site www.hallcreatures.co.za