One week after Overstrand Hermanus was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, a full programme of new events has already been confirmed, beginning this December.

Anton Verhoogt (left), owner/head chef of Barefoot Cook Restaurant in Hermanus, treated Darryl David to an eight-course tasting menu for lunch last week, exposing him to delicacies such as lamb brains on toast and calves tongue on a mustard risotto. Chef Anton has also agreed to host a “Dinner With…” next year.

“Cape Whale Coast Tourism would like to celebrate the Overstrand’s UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy award by adding extra creative flair to our outdoor markets – the hubs of local fare. We want to focus on the personalities who work so hard at pleasing the palates of locals and visitors. On Saturday 14 December, we would greatly appreciate it if the market organisers can ask their traders to add something more, something even more gastronomic, something in UNESCO blue to their presentations,” said Frieda Lloyd, Cape Whale Coast Tourism Manager. “Maybe cupcakes with blue icing or cappuccinos with a ‘U’ stencilled on… the traders can go wild with their ideas.”

In February, once the new school year is underway, a competition with cash prizes will be held to come up with a logo that the Overstrand can use to highlight its UNESCO designation.

“This will be a great opportunity to educate young people about UNESCO but also provide a platform for informing parents as well,” says Darryl Earl David, Director of the Overstrand UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, whose vision sparked the idea to apply for the recognition.

“In everything we do, it is important that we bring it down to the level of the ordinary man and woman,” adds Darryl.

From 28 – 31 May 2020, Stanford Tourism will be hosting their inaugural Stanford Culinary festival, an event designed to showcase all that is best in the culinary arena in the Stanford area. It will include restaurants, wine estates, food producers and all those involved with food who choose to be part of the activities.

Some of the planned events include a fresh produce market, a progressive dinner and ‘Dine with a Local’ for those home chefs who wish to open up their homes and host a group.

Hangklip-Kleinmond will host the first Ceramics and Porcelain Festival from 24 – 28 June 2020. “Our aim is to showcase the relationship between food and ceramics while also highlighting the artists of the Hangklip area,” says festival organiser, Deon Brits, who is also the vice-chair of the Hangklip-Kleinmond Business Forum. “Our relationship to eating and drinking… from our first cup of coffee in the morning, through all nuances of simple meals, to elaborate family celebrations is richly informed by ceramics.”

The Festival will include a series of 15 interactive workshops, exposing children and adults to working with clay, master classes, exhibitions, talks, a market and community tables.

While the exact dates have not been confirmed, the Overberg Hermanus Padkos Festival will also take place next year. This festival aims to highlight two of the three things that the Overberg is famous for – fine food and scenic drives. The aim of the festival is to democratise the word gastronomy by reaching out to the farm stalls dotted around the Overberg that make a road trip through this agricultural heartland all the more memorable. Everyone will be given the chance to be a part of the gastronomy scene by selling delicious food at farmers’ markets.

Although the Stanford and Hangklip-Kleinmond festivals were not included in the original application, Darryl says, “UNESCO doesn’t hold you to each and everything. You are allowed to make changes, given the dynamics of the city and changing circumstances.”

In partnership with The Village NEWS and the local restaurants in the Overstrand, a ‘Dinner With…’ series will begin in mid-January, with 24 restaurants, including those in the suburbs of Zwelihle and Hawston, hosting a guest and a journalist from The Village NEWS for dinner every two weeks throughout 2020. Guests will include young people, chefs, those involved in sustainability or creativity and locals who are well-known for their home cooking skills. Along with an article in the newspaper, on the website and social media, a 5-minute podcast will also be produced.

In order to help him gain a better understanding of the restaurants in the Overstrand, Darryl, who recently moved to Stellenbosch from KwaZulu-Natal for his new teaching post at the University of the Western Cape, will select the restaurants.

“Our role is to promote the region and not specific businesses or restaurants,” says Darryl. “The Dinner With… series will help to profile the range and quality of restaurants to build the reputation of the Overstrand as a gastronomic hub.”

A stand-alone website will be developed that will specifically highlight all the UNESCO initiatives launched in the Overstrand.

Hermanus Tourism has also employed Kyle Bonorchis, an 18-year-old who is completing his matric at Hermanus High School, on a one-month contract to run their Instagram page with the aim of increasing the engagement levels.

“As a local who also studied tourism, I want to share images of my hometown that inspire not only tourists but also locals. I want to show how much there is for everyone to experience here,” says Kyle.

These activities will be in addition to those featured in other events such as the FynArts Festival and Pinot Noir Celebration that already form part of the Overstrand calendar and were included in the UNESCO application bid.

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