the food exhibitions and stalls

I had been looking forward to the first Toffie Food Festival and conference for months.  Something fresh and innovative, where design got closer to food.  The organisers brought out quirky international speakers including Julie Powell and Eloise Almany, and set up camp in the the very beautiful and historic Cape Town City Hall for the week end.

I had an incredible time.

As a food professional, it was an opportunity for me to catch up with friends and meet new people in the industry. To generally immerse myself in a creative space and around creative people. In other words heaven.

You could break it all down and analyse each aspect of the conference and I will agree with some that there were areas that could be improved upon, but overall it was an experience which has left a lasting and lingering impression on me.  Much like seeing a really good film, it stays with you for much longer than the time spent in the cinema.

Thank you Hannerie and Peet for organising such an inspiring event, I look forward to next year and pretty much anything else you guys put together in between.

views through the windows

The highlight of the week end was the ‘secret home dinner’, where each delegate was allocated a dinner venue and a meal prepared by a well known Cape Town foodie. How often in life do we get surprises? Each and every dinner was special and unique, and I only heard rave reviews about the evening from everyone that attended theirs.

My ‘secret dinner’ was prepared by Kobus van der Merwe from Oep ve Koep in Paternoster. He also writes a fabulous food blog called ‘Sardines on Toast‘ which I adore, so I was totally delighted to finally meet him, AND eat one of his magical meals.

The theme of our dinner was ‘Urban’ and as a well know food forager, Kobus had foraged around 80% of all our ingredients from in and around the city, including salad leaves from a random persons garden in Higgovale. How exciting is this? Kobus prepared the meal and presented seven beautiful tasting courses to us.

The added bonus about the evening was sitting around the table with 8 other people I hadn’t met, and having a fabulous time.

secret dinner with kobus van der merwe from oep ve koep
gauva ice cream dessert

I was deeply inspired by Eloise Alemany from Argentina.  She writes and publishes the most creative cook books and it felt like everything she said spoke directly to my soul.

ana trapido presenting her book ‘a hunger for freedom’ the story of food in the life of nelson mandela

Ana Trapido presented a highly informative and enjoyable talk which took us through snippets from her book ‘Hunger for Freedom’. We worked our way through 19 food samples, each representing a significant moment or time in Nelson Mandela’s life.  Reminding us that our food memories and culture shape who we are, and bringing to life a few experiences through food of this great man.

SAB, one of the main sponsors of the event brewed a limited edition toffie flavoured beer called ‘Toffo Cream Ale’, which was amazing.

Renata Coetzee, a Gourmand World Cookbook Award winner, presented some background to her book ‘Kukukmakranka’ which explores the Khoi-Khoi cooking, culture and customs.

Julie Powell spoke a little around food trends in the USA and more specifically in New York.  She read a few exerts from her new book ‘Cleaving’ which shed some light as to why she chose to train to be butcher.

there was a small food exhibition by local produces
there was a beer hall with many different types of beer, a wall made out of salad, a cook book shop and spier presented their new 21 gables wine

Another highlight for me was the Pinata exhibition which was a room filed with an art installation made of colourful pinata’s and streamers.  At the end of the conference and after lunch, delegates all gathered in the room to smash them and unleash an explosion of Lindt Lindor balls.

Simply magical.



  1. Loved your blog as always Sam. Brilliant photo styling.

  2. Stunning Sam! It looks like an absolute dream. What a great idea for the venue too.
    Lovely shots. Can’t wait to move to the Cape. xx

  3. Hi Sam. I’m ashamed to say that when I saw the price of the tickets I stupidly decided to boycott… in retrospect I can see that I cut my nose to spite my face! I will absolutely be there next year and look forward to it immensely – especially after reading your review. Bern

  4. Sam

    Bern, yes it was on the pricey side of life and I am sure the organisers have realised this, but if you think about the cost of conference’s internationally, I think the experience was so worthwhile.

  5. What a wonderful array of photos and great post – you so succinctly mention all the good points and give good constructive feedback. I am sure there will be many people, producers and speakers who wish to participate at the next Toffie Food Festival.

  6. Sam

    Thanks Lisa and your stand was the most beautiful at the festival. I hope you got a lot of exposure from it all.

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