From coffee and cheese to bread and beef, these Cape-based producers are music to our taste buds.
Usana Farm: Pierre Winshaw Driving down the muddy track towards Usana Farm outside Stellenbosch, it’s easy to see why Pierre Winshaw calls himself a grass, not beef, farmer. A stream runs through pastures shinhigh with lush grass and sturdy hens peck between the fence posts. The farm ridgebacks bark a warning and then adopt me as their guest.
Pierre’s family have farmed here for four generations, always keeping cows for their own kitchen. “We thought, if this is the kind of quality we’re getting compared to what’s in the supermarkets, why can’t we do this on a slightly larger scale?” says Pierre, a business graduate. “We really just want to show people the difference between pasture-fed beef and feedlot beef.”
It’s still a small operation, with Pierre aiming to raise around 300 cows a year, but it’s about quality, not quantity, when it comes to cattle. Truly free-range eggs are the other string to the Usana bow, with 1 000 chickens roosting and laying
in mobile henhouses.
“Most of the eggs go to local restaurants such as Guardian Peak and De Oude Bank Bakkerij. We’re hoping to add another 500 hens this year, and we’re also planning to branch out into broiler chickens.”
www.usana.co.za 084 449 1164
Deluxe Coffeeworks: Carl Wessels, Judd Francis
It’s not easy to find the latest outpost of Deluxe Coffeeworks. There are no signs and there’s no parking. WhenI step inside there’s no food and no Wi-Fi. Just coffee: roasting, brewing and being enjoyed. “Ja, I suppose we don’t really play by the rules,” laughs Carl Wessels. “But then, what are the rules? We just didwhat felt right.”
The ever-laconic Carl is – along with New Zealander Judd Francis and “another silent partner” – one of the owners of this boutique coffee roastery that has built a cult following in Cape Town. And from running a five-kilo roaster in Carl’s backyard in 2009, the threesome has come a long way.
Their second shop in the Mother City (the first is in Church Street) is buzzing, a Joburg outlet is in the pipeline and they’re consulting in Istanbul and Saudi Arabia; teaching Arabs and Turks to make coffee. Locally, restaurants like Tokara and Fork will only buy their beans from Deluxe. “Our beans are no different or more special than other coffee roasters; we buy from the same local importer,” drawls Carl. “The secret at Deluxe is our bulletproof blend of coffees. It’s a mix of Brazil, Guatemala and Ethiopia that took us seven months to get right.” Judging by the crowds of coffeeloving Capetonians that drink nothing but Deluxe, it was worth the wait.
www.deluxecoffeeworks.co.za; 072 569 9579
De Oude Bank Bakkerij: Fritz Schoon
Fritz Schoon is not a man in a hurry. Yes, his De Oude Bank Bakkerij in historic Stellenbosch has gathered a cult following in little more than two years, but when I ask Fritz the secret behind his delicious dark rye, baguettes and
ciabatta, the answer is quite simple. “The most important thing is time.
With bread, time equals taste,” says Fritz. “From slow fermentation with natural yeasts to folding the dough by hand, you have to give good bread time. Even though it’s only four simple ingredients, not many people are willing to spend the
time getting it right.”
In Fritz’s case he’s in the bakery at 3am some mornings, and spent two years honing his craft under Markus
Farbinger at Knysna’s Île de Païn, where he learnt the art of wood-fired ovens. “A wood-fired oven is so important. It gives a crisp crust with a moist flavoursome crumb,” explains Fritz. “And stone-ground flour – we use Eureka – is essential for good bread.”
7 Church Street, Stellenbosch; 021-883-2187; [email protected].
CocoáFair: Antonino Allegra
If you want to feel the wrath of a Sicilian, call Antonino Allegra a chocolatier. “No, I am a chocolate-maker,” explains
the man behind the bars and beans of CocoáFair in Cape Town’s Biscuit Mill complex. “We buy the raw beans from
the farmer, we roast them, then we grind them with sugar to make chocolate to our own recipe. After that the chocolatemaker’s work is finished, and the chocolatier takes over.”
It’s a simple formula, but one that this globetrotting pastry chef takes seriously. CocoáFair’s organic sugar comes from Brazil, organic milk powder from Holland, and organic cocoa beans from South America and Africa. There are also plans afoot for sourcing beans direct from Ugandan growers. “By buying direct we’ll get higher quality beans and pay less, and farmers will receive more for their produce. We’ll not only control from bean to bar, but from farming to bar. That’s what the big companies do, and that’s our vision.”
373 – 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock; 021-447-7355; www.cocoafair.com.
Smoking Cheeses: Mark Springhorn
After a decade cheffing in restaurant kitchens, Mark Springhorn decided in early 2012 that enough was enough. So he tossed in the longhours of the pass and stepped outside for a nice long smoke – with cheese, oak chips and a double-door smoker converted in his garage at home, that is.
Today, using organic cheese from a dairy farm in the Overberg, Mark turns out 250kg of smoked mozzarella, Cheddar, Camembert and Brie a month, with a Gouda in the pipeline. “We smoke the mozzarella for two days because it’s quite a dense cheese,” explains Mark, showing me the oak chips that he soaks for 24 hours before smoking. “The Cheddar is already matured for three months, and we’ve crafted it so that it has good flavour and a creamy aftertaste before it goes into the smoker. That gets smoked for a full day. “The mozzarella is for quiches, pizza or pasta. The Cheddar I want you to enjoy on its own; throw it on a cheese board, or serve it with a glass of wine.”
@smokingcheesesa; 082 669 9660