The Stellenbosch winelands outside Cape Town may be famous for their fine wines, but in late-April each year the top local producers join cheese-makers from across the country in a festival of curds and whey.
The festival is divided up into a number of zones, with over 400 local cheeses available for tasting in the Dairy Square and Checkers Cheese Emporium. This is the heart of the festival, with both artisanal and commercial cheeseries showcasing their produce to a hungry audience.
The Checkers Market Theatre is also a hit, with local foodie-celebrities such as singer-songwriter and cooking show host Nataniël, and the “Giggling Gourmet”, Jenny Morris, whipping up cheese-focused dishes. There are more food presentations available at The Afrox Cooking Pot, where local chefs showcase the region’s fabulous fresh produce paired with local wines.
Tables and chairs spill out onto the grass at Carnival Park, where you can and enjoy the produce from the food stalls in Gourmet Lane.
The South African Cheese Festival is a highlight of the winelands foodie calendar, and draws a big crowd. It’s best to get there early to avoid the worst of the crush.