The winners of this year’s Eat In DStv Food Network Produce Awards were announced at a special market at the Stellenbosch Slowmarket on Saturday 24 March. The Awards aim to acknowledge and celebrate South African producers for putting South Africa on the international food map. These are producers that deliver a consistently high quality product that is SA grown or developed using primary produce from SA. Due care and consideration for both the environment and workforce are essential criteria.
The 18 winners comprise a host of delicious produce from across the country – including jam from the Free State, cheese from the Western Cape and duck from KZN. They are all outstanding, independent South African producers and outlets that demonstrate integrity, passion and innovation. All awards, apart from the Best Local Food Blog (voted by readers), were judged over an extensive two-day tasting by a panel of expert judges. The panel included Anna Trapido – author of Hunger for Freedonm- The Story of Food in the Life of Nelson mandela; Peter Goffe-Wood – Kitchen Cowboy and Masterchef Judge; Jackie Cameron – Head Chef at Hartford House.
Debbie Hayes of Dargle Dealer (enthusiastic supporter and stockist of Dargle produce) quiped excitedly “Dargle deliciousness has been confirmed in the Cape!” Of course, we all know how lucky we are already to have so much good food so close by.
Food Bloggers, Deni and Carlin from Food with a Story could hardly believe their luck that they arrived in the Dargle this week to write about and film artisanal food producers. They have spent time at all three outlets and have really fallen in love with Dargle. Check out their blog sometime: www.foodwithastory.co.za
Ian and Cassie Rayner who run the farm stall at Piggly Wiggly, won the ‘Best Outlet in the Eastern region’. Ian was thrilled, saying “We are firm believers in supporting local suppliers. Having so many exceptional food producers in the area has made it very easy for us to do this”. Along with their extended family, Cassie and Ian are great supporters of the Dargle Local Living initiative, buying and bartering for local goods and services as much as possible.
Dean de Chazal is crazy about his ducks – watching them gambol under the sprinkler on a hot day is a real joy, as is observing their excitement when they venture outside amongst the greens he has grown especially for them, or try out their swimming skills on the dam during Summer. “They are the happiest ducks you’ll ever see”, he quips. They are delectable too, once roasted, which is the reason Jackie Cameron, Head Chef at Hartford House, nominated them for the Awards. Dargle Duck won Best Producer in the Paddock category and naturally, supply all the best restaurants in the Midlands and Durban.
Jackie also nominated Croft Farm Chickens in the Free range/Organic category. After taking over the chicken operation in 2008, Chris and Kandy Slater have been keeping it as natural as possible (vitamins rather than anti-biotics), making sure there is more space for the hens to flap their wings and outside areas to soak up a little sunshine. They are renowned for their chicken speciality products – kebabs, spatchcocks, delicate sausages and deboned thighs stuffed with variety of fillings. “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award.” said Chris.
“A clean sweep for Dargle! It’s very surreal.” Dean de Chazal. Congratulations to our local food heroes. Remember that Dean always dishes up delicious duck egg and breast rolls at the Dargle Local Market and you can stock up on Croft Farm chicken products (their thighs stuffed with spinach and feta are particularly fabulous) while at the Market. Don’t forget some of their minced chicken for your pets too… See you on Sunday!