I visited the quaint seaside town of Saldanha Bay for the first time last weekend and by Sunday I realized I needed another trip to do all the things I missed. I was invited to attend the first Saldanha Experience; an epicurean event designed to showcases the food of this West Coast Town. Comprising of two long table gatherings and a boat trip into the bay, it was wonderful and delicious. It also included a stay at The Blue Bay Lodge & Resort, which is right on the beach and going to sleep with the sea below my window was a real treat.
Saldanha Bay is an hour and a half drive from Cape Town and a place where thriving industry cohabitates with tourism activities. Home to the largest natural harbour in South Africa and the famous steel mill, the bay is also the perfect habitat for oysters & mussels to grow. I had been curious to see how these two worlds work with each other and they just kind of do. Every effort is being made to balance the ecologically sensitive region with the industry that takes place here. Pretty beach houses and hotels look over a turquoise coloured sea while ships pass by and the factory lights up at night.
Our Friday night dinner in a private dining room at the Blue Bay Lodge was curated and prepared by Luke and Katie Wonnacott from Table Seven in Cape Town. The inspired menu and incredible flavour combinations blew me away. Served family style to the table with top-notch Groote Post wines to pair with each course, the evening was festive and convivial. It was also the first time I had encountered Luke and Table Seven and it definitely won’t be my last.
This is what our delicious meal and wine looked like:
A really large Saldanha Bay Oyster garnished lemon Seaweed ice, watercress pesto and ocean jelly
Groote Post Brut Rose MCC.
Wood fired seaweed bread from Manna served with smoked mussel butter, with tarragon & parsley.
Olives marinated in orange, rosemary, chilli & fennel.
Artichoke hummus with buchu oil, sunflower seeds and cumin
Groote Post 2017 Unwooded Chardonnay
Flame grilled octopus with lemon olive oil & sea salt
West Coast Perlemoen with garlic & parsley
Groote Post 2017 Kapokberg Sauvignon Blanc
Red Roman en papillotte & Provencal vegetables
Whole roasted cauliflower, cashew nut and sultana burnt butter
Gnocchi, wild asparagus, samphire & lemon vinaigrette
Groote Post 2017 Kapokberg Chardonnay
Lavender crème Catalan with mascarpone ice cream & honeycomb
Groote Post 2017 Riesling
After a leisurely breakfast, we were ferried on a little fishing boat into the bay to see the Blue Sapphire Pearl oyster and mussel farm which was utterly fascinating. We docked on a mussel processing raft and were schooled in how to perfectly shuck an oyster by Kevin Ruck – the owner of the farm. Eating the freshest oysters while sipping West Coast MCC from Darling Cellars in the middle of an oyster farm was an experience I will never forget.
It was then onto our final soirée and a seafood lunch prepared by Kyle Dods from the Mussel Monger & Oyster Bar (they have branches in Stellenbosch & Sea Point). Long white tables in a seaside warehouse of Saldanha Bay Oysters made for the perfect location to enjoy this simple feast.
The lunch looked like this:
Large Saldanha Bay Oysters served as simply as possible.
Saldanha Bay Mussels coated in an emulsion of sautéed leek, carrot, celery, onion and garlic, served with a dash of cream and a hint of white wine, Italian parsley, lemon juice and mini vetkoek.
Lemon meringue cupcakes for dessert from Cup of Cake.
Served with Darling Cellars MCC Blanc de Blanc Brut and Sauvignon Blanc
I can highly recommend this culinary event that gives you a unique insight into Saldanha Bay, some of its food and people. Follow them on Instagram & Facebook to find out when the next event will be held.
*I was invited as a guest of The SaldanhaExperiencee & Blue Bay Lodge
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