Anybody blindfolded and flown around the country before being dropped off at the Jazzy Boozy Cheezy Affaire would have been excused if they guessed their destination to be somewhere in the Cape Winelands after seeing what was around them. They would have been very wrong though. The JBC wasn't taking place in the Cape Wineland. Far from it. It took place just outside Addo at Africanos Country Estate in the Sundays River Valley of the Eastern Cape.
The JBC Affaire wasn't just another event with music and stalls. It was something slightly different and brought to the Sundays River Valley some of the Western Cape's top wine estates, specialty food stalls ranging from cheese and cold meats to olives, oysters, chocolate and biltong as well as a craft brewer and PE coffee roasters Mastertons. These were all bound together with live jazz performances on stage and the most amazing food, flower and fragrance pairing demonstration.
The Damselfly and I left the KidZ with friends and headed out into the Addo countryside nice and early on a perfect spring Saturday morning. The beauty of the valley this time of year is the striking fragrance of citrus blossoms in the air and one just can't help but to pull over and suck in lungs full of it. We arrived at Africanos just after the doors opened and before the crowds started coming in which gave me a chance to have a look at all the food stalls and take some pics.
The wine section of an event like this is always a huge attraction and the glass we received at the door came in very handy when wanting to taste some of the wines on offer. Wine estates on offer included Calitzdorp Cellar, Ken Forrester, Simonsig, Beyerskloof, Cape Point Vineyards, La Motte and a couple more so there was something for everybody.
The program on stage started at 10 am with a different band going on every hour. While we were there there were some excellent performances by Khanyiso, the John Edwards Trio and Cosa Nostra with a few more that we didn't get to see. I'm not one who can sit and listen to Jazz all the time but the music on stage was the perfect backdrop for enjoying the food and wine on offer. I even caught myself bobbing along with the beat at one stage.
As I have said already, there was really something for every taste on offer at the JBC. Claus the Cheeseman from Knysna had a great variety of cheeses, cold meats, salami and artisan breads while those who like their meat dried could pop by Kirkwood's Famous Karoo Butchery's stand.
People went to the Laharna stand to try their olives, chillies, sundried tomatoes and herbs and most enjoyed it so much that they came away with tubs of olives and other goodies.
The Sundays River Valley is famous for elephants and oranges and oysters couldn't be further removed from what the area has to offer, but oysters turned out to be one of the most popular treats at the JBC. I always thought that the first dude to dare throw a raw oyster down his throat must either have been very hungry, very stupid or very brave. He must have known something cause as we know oysters are regarded a delicacy by many today. Some even believe it to be an aphrodisiac. Whatever you think, the Oyster Bar did a roaring trade of both the traditional raw oysters as well as a yummy deep fried one that I got to try.
The coffee and chocolate lovers wouldn't have felt left out with what was on offer. Sjukla's hand-made Belgium chocolates are delectable, especially those with a hint of citrus in them. Right next to their stand Mastertons' barista was waving his magic coffee wand for those in need of a caffeine fix or some chocolate covered coffee beans.
Not everybody are into wine, but the organisers had thought of that as well. They also had craft beer on tap brought to the valley by the Dragon Brewing Co as well as craft ciders by Everson's.
... while the flower arrangements were done by PE based German Master Floral-Designer Fayette Scherwinski who is a floral magician.
Flowers decorations and topped up glasses were the order of the day
The one hour session, done at 11 am and 2 pm on both days, didn't just involve us sitting and watching a cooking and flower demonstration. It involved interaction as well where all six senses with us getting to see, touch, taste and smell the food, flowers and perfumes; and of cause listening to the experts.
While the demonstrations were on the ladies were encouraged to try out the DKNY scents on display while one lucky lady from the audience also got to have a makeover. Wine glasses got topped up and taste buds were tantalised. Some of the delicacies Mynhardt and his assistant dished up was an instant meringue with citrus rind, a quick sticks cheesecake with lavender flowers in it and various spreads and dips (sorry, but at a loss for a proper description for it) that went with the proper meringues and fresh fruit that also went onto the table.
One of Fayette's table decorations
Once the food and flower demonstration was done the final products were used to set the table in the middle of the hall. It wasn't just a case of dishing everything up on plates. It goes straight onto the table.
Then it was our turn and spoons were dished out - excuse the pun - and we were invited to tuck in straight from the table. We were encouraged to try different combinations and to even try some of the flower petals with the food. Truly a very unique experience and very well presented.
All in all the Jazzy Boozy Cheezy Affaire was an absolute breath of fresh air. There are a lot of artisans and country markets all over the show these days, but there is definitely a market out there for something like this. Something a little more sophisticated combining good food, wine and music in a controlled environment. When I first heard about the JBC, I have to admit, I had my doubts. Those doubts vanished like mist in front of the sun after visiting and seeing what they had to offer and I am sure that next year will be even bigger and better.
Disclosure: We received tickets to visit the Jazzy Boozy Cheezy Affaire from the organisers and visited on the first day of the event. Our transport and all other costs were for our own account.