The Best food festivals In South Africa

In a country with such plentiful natural bounty, from internationally acclaimed wine to fantastic fruits and fresh fish, we can understand why food festivals are an ever-expanding trend. Here’s our selection of some of the best food festivals SA has to offer. Which festival is on your foodie bucket list?

food festivals in SA

Autumn

Lamberts Bay Crayfish & Cultural Festival

When: 22-24 March 2015
Where: Lamberts Bay, Western Cape
Lamberts Bay Crayfish & Cultural Festival

This sleepy sea side village comes alive once a year in true celebration of their main attraction. Yep, crayfish, but not just any crayfish. Incredibly affordable crayfish prepared in true West Coast style. The festival is comprised of around 80 weird and wonderful food and craft stalls as well as jewellery, clothing and fun things to do with the kids. Some of the activities include paintball, quad biking and even Robin Hood-esque bow and arrow shooting. The little ones can have their faces painted and leap for joy on a jumping castle.

Pick n Pay Taste Festival

When:  11-14 April 2015
Where: Cape Town

When: 26-28 July 2015
Where: Durban

When: 26-29 September 2015
Where: Johannesburg

Pick n Pay Taste Festival

Calling all food lovers. The Taste Festivals are a great occasion to sample signature dishes, freshly prepared in starter sizes, with the finest ingredients, by some of South Africa’s best chefs, while exploring a variety of culinary delights, drinks, music and entertainment. Watch food demonstrations as you sip on award-winning wines. Consider putting this festival in your diary.

food shots from the Pick 'n Pay Festival of Taste

South African Cheese Festival

When: 26-28 April 2015
Where: Stellenbosch, Western Cape
South African Cheese Festival

Say cheese, if you please. For friends of the great fromage, the South African Cheese festival is for you. Sample more than 200 different cheeses accompanied by other fancy delectables while meeting the passionate cheese masters from around the country who prepare their cheeses with the utmost care and patience. You may even change your perception of cheese, from a humble snack to a gourmet experience.

South African cheese festival

Prince Albert Town and Olive Festival

When: 27-28 April 2015
Where: Prince Albert, Western Cape
Prince Albert Town and Olive Festival

Come through to the serene and majestic town that is Prince Albert to celebrate the outdoors with a feast and festivity. The Prince Albert Town and Olive Festival is alive with games and activities, unusual shops, arts and crafts. Browse art galleries and gardens or sit and listen for a moment to local storytellers who entertain with tales, fables and legends from the past. Watch the fire dancers, stroll around the beautiful flower displays and participate in the Miss and Master Olive pageant. Local food will be on sale such as organic vegetables, Karoo lamb and fruit and, of course, olives and olive oils –  all to be enjoyed, wine glass in hand or even on a tour of the dairy farm where award-winning cheeses are made.

Kiwi Festival

When: 27-28 April 2015
Where: Haenertsburg, Limpopo
Kiwi Festival

Like the kiwi fruit? You’ll love this festival. Celebrate the succulent green fruit in the quaint village of Haenertsburg. Take part in guided tours of the kiwi fruit farm, enjoy tastings and informative talks discussing the origin and history of this green little gem. They even hold cooking competitons where participants need to use kiwi fruit in their dish. Tours of other local farms such as the raspberry farm are also open to the public, where you can take your pickof the fruit while the local market showcases kiwi-based delicacies and jams. Kids entertainment is also aplenty, so bring them along.

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images from the Kiwi Festival

Riebeek Valley Olive Festival

When: 5-6 May 2015
Where: Riebeek-Kasteel, Western Cape
Riebeek Valley Olive Festival

Voted one of the best food festivals in the Western Cape, the Riebeek Valley Olive Festival offers not only olives but beautiful wines, cheeses, pickles, jams and wholesome breads. Soak up the local character while having a most memorable feast.

Winter

Wacky Wine Weekend

When: 6-9 June
Where: Robertson, Western Cape
Wacky Wine Weekend

This one is a goodie, boasting four days of vinous celebrations, each with a unique wine theme in order to cater for all palates. There will be close on 50 wineries showcasing their wines while visitors embrace a full line-up of fun-filled activities such as tractor trips, river cruises, cheese and olive tastings, live music, a farmers market and a fireworks display. With food in abundance, you can take your pick from oysters and sushi to picnics, Italian cuisine and potjiekos. Kids can take part in activities such as fishing, feeding farm animals, pony rides, face-painting and some colourful paintball. The Robertson Wine Valley is committed to ensuring a safe festival and visitors are encouraged to register for the Designated Driver Programme upon which they will receive complementary coffee, soft drinks, coupons and special deals. Good thinking.

Wacky Wine Festival

Cook Franschhoek

When: 14-16 June 2015
Where: Franschhoek, Western Cape
Cook Franschhoek

Food and wine enthusiasts join some of the valley’s highly acclaimed chefs and winemakers as they give hands-on demonstrations. Each demonstration caters for between 8 and 30 people in order to focus on exclusivity and personal engagement. Most of the demonstrations also include a 3-course meal paired with wines. If learning to make sushi from an expert who lived in Japan for 15 years or mastering the art of making a perfect risotto sounds like a fabulous foodie vacation, then this festival is where you want to go.

learning culinary skills at Cook Franschhoek

Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival

When: 28-7 July 2015
Where: Knysna, Western Cape
Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival

This one is a national attraction – it’s the country’s longest-running sports and lifestyle festival. From marathons to adventure racing and great parties, the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival has people coming back year after year. There are plenty of activities to get kids involved while you enjoy oysters and perhaps a glass of bubbly. Oyster-related events include oyster shucking and even an oyster eating competition.

enjoying oysters at the P'nP Knysna Oyster Festival

Bastille Festival

When: 12-14 July
Where: Franschhoek, Western Cape
Bastille Festival

Join in with the locals and fellow visitors to celebrate the Franschhoek valley’s centuries old French Huguenot heritage. Enjoy French inspired meals prepared by the valley’s highly acclaimed chefs while sipping on wine from some award-winning estates. Do all this and more in the marquee where friends meet and catch up, embracing other traditionally French attractions such as boules, the parade and the famous barrel-rolling contest. A farmers market and craft market as well as the ambiance of busking musicians fill this scenic valley with joie de vivre.

Events at the Franschoek Bastille Festival

Good Food and Wine Show

When: 23-26 May 2015
Where: Cape Town

When: 8-11 August 2015
Where: Durban

When: 21-24 September
Where: Johannesburg

Good Food and Wine Show

Now here’s a premium South African lifestyle exhibition to prep you with everything a cook could ever need to be the king or queen of the dinner party, kitchen or wine cellar. Rub shoulders with some international chefs, learn about the latest global trends and induldge in the finest cuisine. Even the kids are catered for with specially designed cooking classes educating them on healthy eating. A champ of a show.

enjoying wine at the Hermanus food and wine festival

Hermanus Food and Wine Fair

When: 9 – 11 August 2015 (to be confirmed)
Where: Hermanus, Western Cape
Hermanus Food and Wine Fair

The Hermanus Food and Wine Fair has been nominated as one of the 10 best wine festivals in South Africa. Fifty local wineries offer tastings accompanied with delectables such as cheese, olives and sushi. Gourmet meals are also on offer. Speciality food stalls are in abundance and all wines tasted will be available for purchase – the only festival in South Africa where you are able to taste and take home your wine immediately. Children are welcome and catered for.

Hermanus Food and Wine festival images

Spring

Franschhoek Uncorked Festival

When: 14-15 September 2015
Where: Franschhoek, Western Cape
Franschhoek Uncorked Festival

It’s a festival celebrating wine. Need we say more? This annual wine festival, allows visitors to enjoy the Franschhoek wineries surrounding the beautiful valley. Be sure to plan your journey as there are breathtaking farms to visit along the way and some great live entertainment. Aside from the delicious culinary treats and food stalls to choose from, you can also participate in activities ranging from vineyard tours, food and wine pairings, art exhibitions as well as a fresh food market.

Uncorked festival activities in Franschhoek

Whiskey Live Festival

When: 3-5 October
Where: Cape Town

When:  1-2 November
Where: Durban

When: 7-9 November
Where: Johannesburg

Whiskey Live Festival

If there’s something for the wine lovers you can be sure this is for the whiskey lovers. It’s the world’s largest whiskey festival showcasing more than 180 brands under one roof. With loads of tasting workshops to chose from, you can expand your knowledge on whiskey whether you’re a beginner or a connoisseur, as long as you’re over 18, of course.

Ficksburg Cherry Festival

When: 21-23 November
Where: Ficksburg, Eastern Free State
Ficksburg Cherry Festival

Come join in the fun at the oldest crop festival in South Africa, held annually during the third week in November. Situated in the scenic Eastern Free State, Ficksburg lies on the banks of the Caledon River showing off magnificent views where you can participate in activites such as cherry tours, golf, marathon, competitions and the like. Aside from the ample food and wine stalls to explore, you can even take part in a cherry baking competition. Live entertainment is always on the agenda and the festival is usually hosted by a national celebrity. Nice.

cherry stalls at the Ficksburg cherry festival

Cape Town Festival of Beer

When: 23-25 November
Where: Cape Town
Cape Town Festival of Beer

Come celebrate the brewing heritage and craft both nationally and internationally at the largest beer festival in the Southern Hemisphere. There will be great entertainment for the whole family including a variety of beer, food, music and even some rugby. The kids even get their own entertainment area. Why not take a guided tour with the pros, meet the brewers and participate in blind tastings? To add to the fun there will be a beer judging competition, lucky draws, raffles, fusbal and even Beerlympics, yes, you heard right. For the rugby fans, you dont have to miss out as you are able to watch the rugby live on Saturday on big screens around the festival. Local is lekker.

Enjoying beer in the sunshine at the CT festival of beer

Summer

Delheim Start of Harvest Festival

When: 26 January  (to be confirmed)
Where: Stellenbosch, Western Cape

Termed ‘The most famous grape stomp’, the Delheim Harvest Festival sets out to find the team who can produce the most juice. The festival includes a guided vineyard tour and a cellar tour, all while being entertained by a jazz band. The little ones are welcome and can join in on the various activities such as stomping, barrel-rolling and grape-grabbing. Food such as paninis will be available on the day or you could even pre-book one of Delheim’s scrumptious picnics. How about it? Tickets are limited to the first 100 bookings.

Clarens Craft Beer Festival

When: 22 -24 February
Where: Clarens Village Square, Clarens, Eastern Free State
Clarens Craft Beer Festival

What is great beer if it’s not served in a beautiful and picturesque village? The Craft Beer Festival celebrates more than 50 different craft beers and ciders from across the country. A variety of great food stalls, live music entertainment and a kiddies play area make this a festival the adults will love and the kids will remember.

The Constantia Beer Craft Project

When: 23-24 February
Where: False Bay Rugby Club, Western Cape
The Constantia Beer Craft Project

This festival will present 15 local and international craft brewers accompanied by slow food stalls offering delicious snacks and meals as well as local wineries. The picnic-like atmosphere on the lawn, lined with arts and craft stalls as well as live entertainment makes for a pretty relaxing afternoon. The dedicated, supervised area for kids also offers a wide range of activities such as pony rides.

Hands on Harvest festival

Hands-on-Harvest Festival

When: 22-24 February
Where: Robertson, Western Cape
Hands-on-Harvest Festival

This boutique event is being run for the second time and offers wine aficionados and budding enthusiasts a chance to experience the magic of harvest for one day. Activities on offer include grape picking, sorting, stomping and tasting as well as tractor rides, horse and cart rides aplenty. Groups are kept small to ensure the best hands-on experience and all activities need to be pre-booked.

Dining below the trees at the Hands on Harvest festival

Before heading to any of these festivals, check the dates and times with the organisers, as they can change from year to year.

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