When I first read about the first Toffie Food Festival and conference to take place in Cape town a few months ago, I immediately got very excited. Its a 2 day festival and conference, including 5 meals, tastings, workshops, exhibitions and a food market.

How awesome is that?

The event is taking place in the very beautiful Cape Town City Hall with talks by local and international food experts including: Julie Powell (USA), Maria Wright (USA) who is a world renowned food flavourist, Eloise Alemany (Argentina) a cook book specialist, Juan Marin (Argentina) a Buenos Aires restaurant owner and baker, Kobus van der Merwe (SA) a well known local chef and foodblogger and Anna Trapido and Renata Coetzee.

So inspiring and thank goodness I only have 2 more weeks to wait.

I asked the organisers Hannerie Visser and Peet Pinaar a few questions about the event and thier fabulous new magazine ‘Cape Town Menu – the 167 best dishes’:

D&D-What is Toffie and why did you guys decide to do a food festival?

HV. Toffie is a series of conference festivals and because food is so linked to cultural heritage it allowed for an interesting conference that everyone can relate to.

 D&D-What are the main things you would like the delegate to take away from the conference?

HV.That Africa should play a bigger role in our food culture.

D&D-There are so many exciting events taking place over the food festival week end, for me one of the most exciting is the secret home dinners on the Saturday.  What was the thinking behind this?

HV. We wanted to open up the perception of Cape Town’s social closed-ness and introduce everyone to  new food friends.

D&D -Tell me a bit about ‘Chop’ the Toffie pop up restaurant?

HV. We are as passionate about food as we are about design and wanted to open a restaurant that could move with us between Cape Town and Buenos Aires.

D&D-The magazine “Cape Town Menu 167 best dishes” is brilliant in that it showcases the many food cultures of the city, was this the main intention?

HV. Yes, absolutely, we feel very strongly about the importance of African food culture.

D&D- Why do all the visuals in the magazine show the food dropped on the floor?

HV. With this publication we wanted to add 2 things that are normally not included in South African food styling: one is emotion, and secondly a South Africanism that has not been explored. As explained in the editor’s letter the concept was that it is always the best food   that lands on the floor. There is also a South African saying that is called “the 5 second rule” meaning that you have 5 seconds to pick up food that has dropped, and it will still be fine, which is of course not true. But this is a play on the truly South African.

Apart from really putting an effort in including food from all the people who makes up Cape Town we wanted to evoke desire for this food. Desire which is one of the main elements in food photography works mostly with emotion and contrast. Something really beautiful looks much more beautiful in contrast to something not beautiful. In this case we worked with the emotion that is provoked when your favourite food drops on the floor, that sudden feeling that it looks even much more appealing now that you can’t have it. The styling was carefully chosen to reflect how life-like and texture-like food reflect other surfaces but can still be appealing. For instance the chocolate ice cream reflecting the same texture as the wood it was dropped on, the same with the cover. Suddenly you notice the texture of ice cream, the same with the koeksister on the cover. The fact that is was rolled in coconut is much more apparent photographed in this way. 

D&D- Is there any plan to extend the Toffie brand into other South African cities or is this a Cape Town only project?

HV. The next one will be Buenos Aires and then probably Johannesburg.

This must have magazine which is a guide to some of the best meals in Cape Town from a totally fresh perspective, will be going out in the Cape Town copies of the September issue of Taste Magazine as a supplement (on shelf on 24th Aug). I discovered so many interesting places that I had not known about, or have seen but haven’t tried, so exciting times ahead as I explore a little further and deeper into the exciting  food culture of Cape Town.

The Toffee Food Conference and Festival takes place 3 – 4 September 2011, Cape Town, City Hall

For Tickets email toffie (at) thepresident (dot) co (dot) za



  1. Sam

    Zirkie, I am so excited for this festival. I feel inspired just thinking about it. 🙂

  2. Sam

    Ha ha Bond, It was worth it I’m afraid. Lets hope they don’t plan the event on the same week end.

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