More cheese please

South African Cheese Festival

Last weekend Tom and I ventured to Sandringham for the annual SA Cheese Festival. We were expecting to contend with a fair number of people, but were mildly taken aback when we saw the vast number of cars spanning across the fields. We meandered our way past the cows to the gates and passed through into the meadows, where a bunch of makeshift tents had been erected, along with seating surrounding a girl and her guitar. The whole place buzzed with energy with pods of people swarming by like schools of fish under the sea. With brightly dressed families, frolicking kids, green fields, tents, food trucks and true-blue sky, it made for rather a picturesque scene.

South African Cheese FestivalSouth African Cheese Festival

We made our way to the media tent where we were greeted by a table generously laid out with food, coupled with a bar with limitless wine. Having loaded our plates and glasses, we sat outside in the sun and watched people drifting by, enjoying the ambiance and vistas of little ones running after ladybird-shaped balloons and couples strolling hand-in-hand.

South African Cheese FestivalSouth African Cheese Festival

Duly fortified, we headed for the first tent – a magnificent selection of Cape-made produce. I darted between stalls, tucking into various toffees and titbits, while Thomas made a bee-line for the biltong and quickly had a brown paper bag full of salty, meaty snacks.  I couldn’t resist the most delicious gluten-free, orange chocolate brownie, which I proudly brought home in a cute little box (and my sneaky boy ate without permission later – I am still owed a brownie). Following the Alternate produce and Agri-expo tents, we wandered past the Checkers Theatre, which was unfortunately already in session so we missed the cooking demonstration. The Cheese Tent was next on the agenda and the undoubted star of the event. I shuffled past queues of people to forage for scrumptious sample cheeses, and I don’t even know how many variations of goats cheese I tried! I do remember the Montagu Cheeses in particular being extremely more-ish, quite possibly also because the owner of the stall was so friendly and claimed his kaas was the best in the land.

A few shots of youngberry liquor later, and we returned to the media tent for one more round of delicious springrolls and Brie stuffed with berries, nuts and other sumptuous things. Following that, we paid our respects to the resident jersey cow (she was such a flirt with her big eyes and long eyelashes), bought a spotty doggy-shaped balloon from the SPCA (it’s the closest I’m going to come to convincing Tom to get us a real pet), and chatted to the goats (well Tom did; I’m terrified of them).

And that was the end of our wonderful Sandringham adventure – a delightful excursion of curds and whey, accompanied by sensational wines. Not a bad Sunday at all – we’ll be back next year!

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