Last weekend the SA Cheese festival took place in Stellenbosch. And judging by the tweets, it looked like an incredible mix of dairy products, craft liquor, music and good ol’ family fun.
Last weekend another cheese and wine event also took place – but this one was a vegan extravaganza of cheese and wine organised by Vegilicious, the not for profit organisation whose aim is to inspire a shift towards cruelty-free, conscious and sustainable living through foodie events. And if Friday’s sold out wine and cheese evening was anything to go by, they’re doing a pretty good job, too.
The space looked more like an art gallery on the night of an exhibition opening – definitely more hipster than hippie – with tables and chairs cleared to give way to buffet tables and a bar, creating a sophisticated feel, enhanced by the art adorning the walls. After a short introduction by a Vegilicious spokesman, countless different cheeses (all non-dairy) were brought out and quickly pounced on by the eagerly awaiting guests. Bread, toast, crackers, olives, gherkins and grapes accompanied cheeses like herbed cashew boursin, macadamia nut boerekase, tofu cottage cheese, tofu feta and almond cheddar.
Accompanying the cheeses were a selection of four vegan wines. Firstly – let’s explain what vegan wine means. Surely all wine is vegan, given it’s made of fruit, you might ask. Not really. Some wines use animal by-products in the production of wine: fining agents like milk protein, gelatin or egg whites are used. Even though they don’t make it into the final wine, the wine is still not strictly vegan.
Thelema’s MCC Brut kicked off proceedings. Usually not a fan of bubbly, I loved this Blanc de Blancs (that basically means only white grapes were used, this time in Chardonnay). It was crisp and light with the cleanest of finishes. Next was a Chenin Blanc from Vondeling (a tad insipid and lifeless) and Fairview’s Chardonnay – decent enough, but not one I’ll probably buy. And finally, Eikendal’s Shiraz was a very agreeable, soft tannined and pleasant red to wash down the delicious fare.
The vibe was great, the event well organised and the cheese and wine were all delicious. It was a wonderful way to showcase vegan produce and show vegan-sceptics (not that there were many there!) that delicious food does not require the abuse and killing of animals (the production of dairy is just as cruel as the production of meat). More, please, Vegilicious!
Check out the Vegilicious website for more vegan foodie events and information on the vegan challenge.
Look out for my vlog about this event, up next week on my YouTube channel.