Mother Earth in the Mother City

December 16, 2009

Past Events

terramadre_1smlSlow Food Mother City’s ‘soft launch’ at Kwalapa on 10 December was one of over 1000 events in 120 countries celebrating Slow Food’s Terra Madre (Mother Earth) Day. More than 50 people interested in Cape Town’s new convivium gathered under the huge New Zealand Christmas tree growing in the heart of Kwalapa, a new organic shop and café at the Montebello Centre in Newlands.

Guests feasted on breads by Paulo (of Quensh Organic Deli in Observatory), cheese by Dalewood, and wines by Avondale. Mother City Cape Town’s own Louise Johnson made an Italy-meets-South Africa caponata, substituting the traditional eggplant with our own traditional butternut — delicious! Dalewood’s amazing nutty Huguenot cheese was a hit (3kgs were swiftly dispatched by the crowd), and it looks like Avondale’s gorgeous naturally fermented chenin blanc will be on many Christmas lunch tables this year, judging from our guests’ approving comments.

terramadre_3Dax Villaneuva gave us an overview of Terra Madre Day and the tenets of Slow Food, and Michelle Matthews described a visit to Dalewood, where every cow is cared for and the cheeses are made by hand.

Producer Jonathan Grieve of Avondale in nearby Paarl spoke about his ‘bio-logic’ farming and wine-making approach and guests particularly enjoyed his description of Avondale’s snail-hoovering ducks, working their way methodically down the vineyards like so many little white tractors.

Slow Food Mother City also used the opportunity to see what people would be interested in doing with us when we officially launch in the new year. Our sophisticated voting system (some large pieces of paper stuck up on the walls and some coloured chalk) has revealed that activities such as picnics, fishing trips and a mushroom walk were most popular.

By request, we will be encouraging children on some of these trips, so that they can also learn about good, clean food. Pick-your-own (strawberries, cherries, etc) and the various tasting workshops were also well subscribed (especially cheese and coffee).

We’re thinking of creating some associated sub-groups: we’ve got people interested in veggie gardening and preserving/jam-making. Cape Malay and Durban Curry meals also had some keen takers. Drop us an email at if you have any further suggestions, or would like to express your own enthusiasm for any of these!

We had a fantastic Terra Madre Day and look forward to our official full launch early in 2010.

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