The South African Season is well underway in France. Between May and December 2013, over 1,000 artists, cultural heritage practitioners, academics and sportsmen from South Africa will have travelled to France to take part in a multi-faceted collaboration between the two countries.
The aim of the Season is to strengthen people-to-people contact between France and South Africa.
Included in the Season is a focus on gastronomy, which begins in September. For the next four months, six of South Africa’s home-grown chefs will share their culinary skills with a hungry French audience. Chefs include Kelvin Joel, Mphume Mqwebu, Christiaan Campbell, Shaun Schoeman, Benny Masekwameng, and Tanja Kruger.
The Season’s gastronomic activities include various food events and festivals that will take place across a number of French cities including Marseille, Paris, Calais, Reims and Djion. South African gastronomy has its roots in Europe, India, Indonesia and Malaysia; and the melting pot of flavours perfectly reflects the country’s creative, vibrant and dynamic image.
South African cuisine is becoming a firm global favourite and is impossible to ignore, thanks to the variety and creativity expressed in the offerings. The Rainbow Nation has set itself apart, due to its remarkable regions that offer products of a rare quality. Its exceptional meats, notably Karoo Lamb, Springbok and Kudu, have paved the way for culinary delights that are enjoyed by many.
The myriad of fish farmed off SA shores, such as Kingklip, Yellow Tail, Snoek, Cape Salmon and Cabillaud Musselcracker, are often unique and always exceptional. Exquisite fruits and vegetables, not to mention extraordinary vines, add to the uniqueness of the country’s cuisine.
South African gastronomy is also characterised by the revival of sustainable development initiatives by its chefs. While intensive farming and animal breeding is still widespread, many chefs are hand-growing and cultivating produce in gardens next to their restaurants. It is these products and practices that are forging, little by little, a unique and original identity for SA cuisine.
The Season is the occasion to highlight the different facets of SA cuisine and to discover – or rediscover – its marvellous wines. It will bring together fine-dining specialists and the general public through the conviviality of braaing and the creative effervescence that its cuisine represents.
The resident chefs, who have been invited over the months to come, will present tastings, food workshops, festive dinners and much more, rich in intercultural inventiveness.
Commissioner-General, Mr Bongani Tembe said: “The Season aims to share the energy of a new South Africa by showcasing various developments, including its gastronomy offerings. We anticipate that the French public will continue to fully engage with the South African Season and enjoy all that we have to offer.”
The Season will include 250 dance and theatre performances, 100 musical concerts, 50 films, 40 residencies, 35 workshops, 30 exhibitions, and 150 South African wines will be available for the French to taste.