OUT OF OFFICE | Leriba
by Samantha Barnes
The Harvest Festival Promises a Grape-stomping Good Time
South Africans are blessed with world-class wine farms situated mainly in the Western Cape. The Harvest Festival, taking place from 1 to 3 May, will showcase the best of these farms, but in the heart of Centurion.
The Harvest Festival/Die Oesfees is bringing over 30 leading wine estates to Centurion, Gauteng. The Festival also presents the opportunity to sample, and dine on, gourmet food prepared by some of South Africa’s finest chefs and two-award winning restaurants, Chapters and Hemingways.
The award-winning Leriba Hotel and Spa in Centurion is the setting for the Harvest Festival. Situated on 13 hectares of indigenous woodland on the banks of the Hennops River, the event is a wonderful opportunity for families to enjoy a relaxing day together.
“Good food and wine are at the heart of the Festival,” says Peet du Preez, CEO and owner of the Leriba Hotel Group. Top wine farms will be showcasing their best wines. Guests can taste the wines and purchase them at trade prices. Wine farms will also be offering wine courses for the duration of the Festival. The courses will cover everything from wine making to wine appreciation.
These days ‘foodies’ speak of wine pairing. With this in mind, the Harvest Festival will also be showcasing Fair Trade-accredited farmers and suppliers such as olive, nut and cheese farmers, as well as chocolate suppliers. They will be presenting and selling their tasty wares.
Leading retailer, Exclusive Books, will have a selection of books for sale on good food, wines and herbs. Herbs can make the difference between a so-so dish and a stand-out one. Herbs will be available at low prices with explanations of how herbs spice up your food.
Leading chefs will offer interactive demonstrations on food preparation. Chefs from the SA Chefs Association, Prue Leith Chefs Academy and Capital Hotel School will demonstrate how to prepare fresh and honest food. Scholars from three high schools will also participate. Johan Badenhorst of Voetspore will also showcase his culinary skills on the occasion, sharing his secret food skills learned on his African adventures.
Some audience members will get the chance to brush up on their cooking skills. Volunteer chefs will be plucked from the audience to cook alongside their favourite chef. Watching chefs preparing delicious meals always whets the appetite. Fittingly, Chapters Restaurant and Hemingways, a multiple winner of the Best Dining Restaurant in South Africa, will present a menu including gourmet braai food (a South African staple), ciabattas and cheesy platters.
Chef Jan de Wet Botha and his team are also producing picnic baskets. They will be filled with a delectable assortment of breads, cheeses and cold meats. Guests can enjoy this under the shade of the trees in the park-like surroundings.
Other treats are in store for Festival-goers, with some special prizes up for grabs! Leriba Hotel and Spa will be giving away prizes worth over R50 000 to lucky ticket holders. The hotel is also donating indigenous trees in celebration of winning the Imvelo Award for Sustainable Tourism.
As a prelude to the Harvest Festival, on Thursday, 30 April, Leriba Hotel and Spa will host a Grape Stomping Team Building Event in conjunction with L’Avenir Wine Estates. Corporate teams will stomp their own grapes, design their own labels and receive a bottle of their crafted wine. Not surprisingly, the grape-stomping event was sold out within two days!
During the grape-stomping event, Leriba Hotel and Spa is hoping to raise up to R500 000 for Cansa and SANParks (Rhino Project). Signed editions of magnum wine bottles from different wine farms will be auctioned. In keeping with the philanthropic theme, Cansa, SANParks and Fair Trade will exhibit throughout the Harvest Festival.
Parents are welcome to bring their children along to the festival. Children can enjoy a game of archery and laser adventure games, all of which are included in the price of their ticket. Don’t miss out! Purchase Harvest Festival tickets at Computicket at R130 per adult, and at R90 per person for pensioners and children. The cost of the ticket includes a wine glass.
Opening hours are from 9h00 to 17h00 daily. As the name suggests, the Harvest Festival represents a delicious selection of food, wine and other goodies – and all of this in peaceful surroundings which the whole family can enjoy together. What more could you ask for!