The Good Food and Wine Show is not new to Johannesburg, yet I have never been before. What changed to make me attend? Well, the publicist for the Good Food and Wine Show started sending me promotional material and then a link for me to apply for media accreditation. So, I joined the throng and enjoyed my day out at the Good Food and Wine Show 2013.
The right person to accompany me to this event is a necessity, so I puzzled over the choice, and there were other people who would have had fun with me, for exactly thirty seconds before choosing my cooking/baking/sewing friend, Cecily Daniels. It would probably be just the event she would enjoy and I have not spent much time with her recently. She accepted my invitation.
Northgate Dome is user-friendly and we arrived early on the last day of the show (Heritage Day 2013), parked in our prime parking spot and made our way into the exhibition. Almost the first stall we stopped at had nothing to do with either food or drink, yet it was here that I committed my first pledge to spend money. It was for an ironing board cover from Homeline Direct: Easy Iron. Yes, I needed a new cover for my ironing board and now I have one. In fact Cecily and I each purchased one on our way out, making sure we bought it from the same salesman who demonstrated it to us on the way in. Actually Cecily did so much shopping that she had to make several trips to the car to store stuff. I’m sure the money people will be happy to know that.
One little gripe – the Good Food and Wine Show has a lot of exhibitors in a large round exhibition centre. The map could be improved by marking the Entrance/Exit numbers on it which would help one orientate it easily and correctly. However, most of the time we were just wandering around. In our wanderings we came across one of the winning stalls that Cecily fell in love with, Yummy Flowers. These are bouquets made out of chocolate dipped fruits and marshmallows.
For the little ones there was Woolworths Little Chefs Theatre and Disney Fun and Food Zone. Disney is teaching children to make good nutritional choices and the sandwiches they were making certainly looked like fun. They then got to have photos with Mickey Mouse. Snowflake also had an area dedicated to children which looked like a lot of fun. I have a Snowflake recipe book and on the rare occasions that I do bake I tend to consult it. Here at the Snowflake stand children could have a cup cake and a small bottle of Douglasdale milk for R5 and they could ice their cup cake themselves and decorate it with sweeties. It was certainly a hit event with lots of little ones. Adults had to be content with a glass for the milk, the milk and two biscuits for R10. Cecily and I didn’t spurn that offer. Check out the Facebook page for the Douglasdale Dairy Tours because they look like a they are quite a treat for city kids.
The most impressive stand at the Good Food and Wine Show was the India Tourism stand. I looked hopefully for a competition to win a trip for two to India, but no such luck. The stand was one of the ones that won an award, and I am not at all surprised.
So 24 September 2013 is Heritage Day and our National Braai Day. We made our way out to the braai area which was in the hot sun. Some kind fellow patrons shared their table in the shade with us. There were plenty of empty tables in the sun, but no takers in the blistering midday heat. We had a braai lunch at R85, sharing one plate of steak, boerewors, chicken, pap, tomato and onion gravy, bread roll and three salads. I had a beer with mine. We went back inside with suitable smoke smells embedded into our clothing – just how it should be on National Braai Day. While we were there we did wonder how Castle’s attempt at the world record for the largest barbecue was going. Next year, should I again be invited to attend, I will time my attendance so as not to be present on 24 September 2013. Braais really are better with a crowd of friends and a patio to keep the sun at bay.
It is interesting what different people add to the perspective of visiting an exhibition. Cecily does not enjoy wine and she is diabetic and she loves cooking. This meant that we tended to stay away from the stands with wine and I got to sample much less chocolate and sugary things than I would have if I had been attending with someone else. However, I got to see many more gadgets than I would have with most other friends. Gadgets like those to be found at the Amazing Grater Plate, Professional Ceramic Knives, Cirtex Knives, First Water Coolers, Kitchen Passion, Le Creuset, Snappy Chef and Tupperware. This does not mean that we did not stop and sample the wares at the Magnum stand. Magnum is a cream based liqueur sold in a lovely reusable stainless steel flask. It has a two year shelf life. Not that it will probably last that long.
We tasted teas and coffees, drank fruit juices (Sir Juice’s new Clementine flavour) and water and nibbled at nuts, cheese, olives, bread, biscuits and chocolate. Some of the goods we sampled went home with us. Halva amongst them. Halva is what the gods eat when they want something sweet. Mediterranean Delicacies is a Cape Town based company, but they supply many of the local supermarkets with their products. I made full use of the opportunity to try things I don’t normally buy.
One of the things that really intrigued me was the variety of vegetable gardens being marketed at quite a high price. I live in a block of flats and don’t get enough sun to grow vegetables and herbs on the balcony otherwise I’d grow my own vegetables (at least tomatoes, carrots and radishes) and herbs. In fact, I have been thinking of investing in some of those artificial sunlight bulbs specifically to grow fresh herbs which need less light than tomatoes, for example. Including the light and the whole set up I could still have my herb garden for less than a third of the price I was quoted – and the satisfaction of doing it all myself. Gardeners may now shake their heads and tut in disapproval – or approval – the fresh, growing vegetables all looked absolutely delicious.
We spent some time at the Selati Sugar’s Brilliant Baking Theatre where we watched demonstrations on making Hertzoggies and raw chocolate truffles. The theatre is an opportunity to sit for a while before the next foray into the commercial stalls and the section by the Expresso team from TV was a highlight for Cecily. I don’t watch TV so I didn’t know who they were. When Ewan took off his shirt honouring a promise made if every seat in the theatre was full, I ‘oohed’ along with the rest of the audience. Just fluffy fun. Hertzoggies are definitely heritage food for many people, but Katelyn’s Hertzoggies are not quite up to the standard of my mother’s. The recipe is on the Expresso website.
All round we had a fabulous, if somewhat tiring, day at the Good Food and Wine Show and I will definitely be back in future years.