We caught up with Andre Swanepoel, director of Baconfest South Africa, to get some succulently mouthwatering details about his upcoming event in the wake of the processed meat controversy of earlier this week.
What inspired you to start the Baconfest?
There are many Bacon festivals in the USA that inspired me, and I was looking for a niche food event that we could grow over time.
How long has the festival been running in Cape Town and what has the response been from the public?
This event will be our third Baconfest in two years. The response has been overwhelming, all tickets sold out in two weeks at the last one, with 4,000 people wanting to attend the previous event as well. So all in all, it seems South Africans are as crazy about bacon as Americans.
What are the top three reasons to attend Baconfest?
The food, the people, and the vibe!
How do you respond to the debate around the health risks of eating bacon?
There have been a few articles lately on processed meats (especially bacon and biltong), saying it causes cancer and is not good for you. It is 2015 already, and only now they say it’s unhealthy? People have been eating bacon for generations; it’s firmly entrenched in many cultures all over the world. Did you know that preserving and salting pork bellies has been around since 1500 BC? The Chinese were the first, and later, the Greeks and Romans continued the tradition. Many things in the world are unhealthy, but it’s a personal choice. I am providing people with what they want, so let’s give it to them. I have seen many happy customers at Baconfest.
Baconfest has been protested. What is your response to those Capetonians who apparently don’t want the event?
I have no problem with Baconfest being protested. People have their beliefs, and it’s their constitutional right to protest in South Africa. Ironically, though, they have helped spread the word about Baconfest even further, and that has increased ticket sales. – Guess there really is no such thing as bad press?
Where is the bacon used in the festival sourced?
It’s from Lynca Meats, in Vereeniging.
There are nine different bacon dishes on offer at the festival; which is your favourite?
Candied bacon, It’s crispy, sweet and salty. People just can’t get enough!
Streaky bacon or back bacon for you?
Streaky for the win! Back bacon is a bit lean, and I love a bit of fat on my food. It also adds a lot of crispness to all the dishes.
Photography courtesy Baconfest