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  • Lisa Martus

FOODIE ROUTE HAENERTSBURG TO HOEDSPRUIT

The Slow Food, Farm to Fork, and Buy Local movements have gained momentum globally in recent years because of their focus on promoting local, sustainable, and ethically-produced food to support good health, reduce environmental impact, and support local economies. The Slow Food Movement was founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini, an Italian journalist and food activist, in response to the opening of a McDonald's restaurant in the historic Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Petrini organized a protest against the opening of the fast-food chain, arguing that it was a threat to Italy's rich culinary heritage and the country's food culture.

The Slow Food Movement quickly gained momentum because of the emphasis on using locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients, a mindful and conscious approach to food consumption as well as promoting food traditions rather than a fast-food culture. Over the years, Slow Food has grown into a global movement, with chapters in over 160 countries and has prompted a range of related initiatives, such as the Terra Madre network, which brings together small-scale farmers and food producers from around the world to promote sustainable food practices and address food-related challenges.


Magoebaskloof and the quaint village of Haenertsburg, have become well known for the 'local is lekker' culture of the mountain folk who call it home as well as the organic produce from the growers, producers, farmers, restaurants and chefs in the area. Magoebaskloof offers a range of unique food experiences that showcase the region's natural bounty and visitors to the area can also sample fresh, locally grown produce at many of the restaurants and accommodation venues.


CHEESE TOUR / FARM TO FORK EXPERIENCE

Wegraakbosch is an off-grid fourth-generation farm which attracts city-dwellers visiting the countryside who stop in to enjoy the rustic farm setting, the peaceful lifestyle, slow-food ethos and a Ploughman’s platter under the wisteria. You can see the process of cheesemaking with Francisco Huo who has had more than 32 years’ experience of this specialised process, or go on a farm tour with Gloria Mashaba in the morning when the cows come in from their pastures. You can even learn how to take their seasonal produce from the field to your fork with flavourful dishes created by Laaiksfood. While you are at Wegraakbosch, stock up on the jams, cheeses and chorizo you would need for a picnic in the area. Book for the Cheese Tour at 10.00 at Wegraakbosch Farm or order in advance for a Ploughman’s platter on the stoep outside the dairy. Wegraakbosch Organic Farm: 072 361 0664 or 072 370 1886.

Farm to Fork and other Foodie Experiences: laaiksfood@gmail.com


BEER-TASTING AT ZWAKALA

In addition to its local food offerings, Magoebaskloof is also well known for its Craft Brewery on Cheerio Road. Zwakala Brewery offers tasting experiences of their award-winning beers, giving visitors a taste sensation as they savour the rich golden ale or the cloudy Weekend Special infused with lemongrass. 073 874 8651 | www.zwakalabrewery.com


TRADITIONAL FOOD EXPERIENCE

Experience the warm hospitality of village life at Ga-Malahlela near Houtbosdorp and tantalize your tastebuds with the flavours of Limpopo. You will be welcomed into the heart of a Bapedi household and experience the rhythm of daily life from the perspective of a different culture by your host, Mary Ramoraswi. Here you can make and sample traditional food such as Pap, Morogo / wild spinach, mopane worms, ‘walkie-talkies', pumpkin seeds, peanuts, cow hooves, home-made bread and wash it down with a pot of traditional beer. After the rainy season, you may also be able to sample the ‘african thief ant’ harvested and fried up for a delicious, protein-rich snack. If you like, you can end your meal at the local tavern where you can sample an african beer and learn a new dance. Connect with Paul Nkhumane on 084 354-9710.


MUSHROOM FORAGING

Take a closer look into the fascinating world of fungi with local mushroom fundi, Toban McMahon. Toban has been exploring the forests of The Mountain’ his whole life, learning about mushrooms from the edible to the poisonous and is very enthusiastic to share his knowledge. The family-friendly workshop consists of a 3 km walk (about 3.5 hours) which traverses the different biomes from indigenous grasslands to pine plantations. Each mushroom found en route is carefully examined and explained in detail. Contact Toban McMahon on 079 195 9368.


If open skies, magnificent mountain scenery, immersive experiences and slow food deliciousness are enough to make your spirit soar, head off to the misty mountains of Magoebaskloof. Breathe the clean forest air… soak up the views….make friends with the mountain-folk and savour the organic, orgasmic flavours of this soulful space. You won’t be the same person when you leave. Take a look at www.mountaingetaways.co.za for foodie experiences, local restaurants, farmstalls and delis in Magoebaskloof, Haenertsburg and Tzaneen.


‘Cooking is all about people,’ says renowned American restaurateur, Guy Fieri. ‘Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.’


The flavours of your local seasonal marketplace should delight and enchant your senses with vibrant colours and delicious scents. And Limpopo is one of the best places in the country to savour slow-food, organic produce and food made with love. Whether it is the divine flavour of a ripe avocado...the heady fragrance of blossom-infused honey… the tastebuds tingle of mangos or the subtle taste of buttery macadamias...the world becomes an enchanted place when food is shared. En Route to Hoedspruit, you can scan the shelves for the local flavour of the home-crafted, eco-friendly and handmade at Stella’s Farm Deli in Haenertsburg or the Magoebaskloof Farmstall on the Magoebaskloof Pass and take a sho’t left and pick up the freshest local produce delivered that day to the roadside stalls.


The Kruger 2 Canyons (K2C) Biosphere supports the UNESCO's Gastronomic Guidelines which promote the preservation of traditional and local food cultures and emphasise the importance of sustainable and healthy eating practices with 50 cities worldwide as part of the Creative Cities Network. Overstrand in Hermanus is a South African City of Gastronomy, selected for its wine industry, gastronomic arts events, and its promotion of sustainable food production, such as creating abalone farms to ease pressure on ocean ecosystems. Green Destination accreditation, on the other hand, recognizes destinations that prioritize environmental sustainability and responsible tourism practices which may be a goal to aspire to.


160 kilometres east, on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park and the Blyde River Canyon, Hoedspruit has become a premier wildlife destination in its own right – a far cry from its humble beginnings. Hoedspruit was supposedly named for a grateful transport rider who reached the Sandspruit River and threw his hat and then himself into the welcome water. Luxury game lodges and wildlife housing estates abound, and the town is bursting at the seams with South African and international residents who want to find a wilder lifestyle challenge than the Jo’burg traffic. Apart from the wildlife and safari experiences which the area is famous for, the booming town has an amazing range of lodges, local art galleries and funky shops, as well as delicious foodie treats at the numerous laid-back restaurants.


HOEDSPRUIT FARMERS MARKET

Head to the Farm House in Hoedspruit on the first Saturday of each month where there are between 70 - 90 stalls on any given market day. You’ll find everything from fresh bread and pastries to hand-crafted items, herbs and plants, jewellery, leather goods, plants, beautiful works of art, stylish clothing, fresh produce, cheese, jams, honey, and wonderful sauces while the friendly locals make it a pleasure to be there. The market was originally started by the Hoedspruit Chamber of Commerce in 2017 and Tansy McLean was the driving force until it was taken over by Cindy Koen of Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region (K2C). Contact Cindy Koen of Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region at 071 429 7569


CAPE VULTURE PERMACULTURE TOURS

Cape Vulture Conservancy started as a collaboration between Ashley Lambert, Werner and Violanta Ruedy, who identified that education and food security are key elements for a better future for Limpopians. The Manutsa property near Hoedspruit has important fauna and flora which need to be conserved, is close to communities and provides the opportunity for education and employment. Having set up a lodge with a Permaculture farm, Cape Vulture ultimately wants to expand their reach to combine elements of conservation, education and employment in their operations. Ash is a Foodie and believes that a garden to table concept is crucial not only for sustainability for the community, but also to provide a unique food experience for visitors. Cape Vulture currently offers Permaculture Tours, particularly showcasing a diverse array of edibles and medicinal plants which are not commonly grown. and will, in the future, have a varied seasonal menu in their restaurant with a focus on food that is grown holistically in their gardens. Contact 076 362 0390 or visit www.capevulturelodge.co.za.


HOEDSPRUIT COFFEE TASTING

Coffee-lovers will be thrilled to know that Hoedspruit has its own Coffee Roastery. The young and dynamic team are waiting for delivery of their beautiful new 15kg Genio Roaster and are working with none other than South Africa’s Number 1 Barista, Stevo Kühn, to help them develop new profiles and blends. Manager Alexx Godrich offers coffee tasting and cuppings of specialty coffees, barista training, as well as coffee roasting and pairings. He says, ‘Coffee has to be seen as an art form and as such there is no exact manual as to the right recipe.’ A coffee-tasting experience is a journey of exploration across 6 countries. The heady aroma of freshly ground coffee fills the air, and the rugged table top is systematically scattered with colourful tasting cups with a selection of coffees from Rwanda to Columbia. These high-altitude, Fair Trade coffee estates from around the globe range from Brazilian beans to an earthy coffee with almond notes from Uganda. Alexx is full of interesting facts as he guides you through an amazing selection of coffees paired with specific chocolates and nougat. Contact Alexx Godrich at 078 268-3969 to find out more about Coffee Tasting at the Hoedspruit Coffee Company at the Rotique Center (Soon to move to the Kamogelo Centre).


NOURISH TRADITIONAL FOOD EXPERIENCE

Nourish, a Community Development Organisation, links rural communities to conservation and their natural heritage through holistic projects, growing resilience in wildlife communities through education, enterprise, agriculture and tourism programmes. Nourish's flagship Eco Village near Sigagule, is just 30 minutes from Kruger Park’s Orpen Gate in the beautiful K2C Biosphere region. Their tourism partner, Shik Shack, offers authentic cultural experiences which also benefit the local community. Visitors have the opportunity to visit the indigenous farm and permaculture garden to harvest local vegetables, learn how to prepare and then enjoy a traditional meal with staples like pap and marogo cooked over an open fire with the experienced gogo's (grannies) leading the way. Take a look at: www.tourism@nourishecovillage.com


GREATER KRUGER HOTEL SCHOOL

‘Hoedspruit is a small town with a big heart for tourism and agriculture, nestled in the Central Lowveld between the Kruger National Park and the Blyde River Canyon. It’s not only one of South Africa’s most sought after safari destinations, but also home to bountiful citrus and mango production. The exotic allure of the Greater Kruger Hotel School offers a unique learning experience that no other campus in South Africa can offer through experiential learning. Their vision is to create young leaders that turn workplaces into thinking environments for the delivery of unique dishes and service, served with a side of innovative ideas - cultivating and growing 21st century skills in an ever-changing job market.’ With this in mind, the Hotel School is always coming up with exciting events and experiences which are open to the public. www.gkhotelschool.co.za



FRANCINE’S NIGHT FOOD MARKET

Francine’s Farmhouse is a gorgeous accommodation and wedding venue on a working citrus farm near Hoedspruit surrounded by beautiful Drakensberg views. They wanted to create a place where friends and families can gather, enjoy good company, support local food businesses and community projects in a beautiful farm setting. This passion sprouted the idea of a monthly night market with fabulous foodie offerings from fresh Saldanha bay oysters and champagne from The Fig & Bean Café to craft G&T’s from Primos Gin. The stalls offer a variety of home cooked meals from curries to cakes as well as boutique pop-up clothing stalls and homemade leather goods but each market is a unique experience with kids entertainment, a trail night-run and often live music. It’s a place for all ages and four legged friends are welcome. The market date varies but happens monthly on a Friday or Saturday evening starting at 5pm at Francine’s Farmhouse on Chester Farm just outside Hoedspruit on Route 531. Connect with them on 065 595 6966 and follow them on Facebook for the date of the next market.


Wild about Hoedspruit has been active for over 20 years and remains a primary online directory for tourism and business services in and around Hoedspruit. The website currently lists nearly 200 accommodation establishments, 30 restaurants, 26 activities and numerous other tourism related products in the area and receives between 600 and 1000 visits per week, topping the Google listings for Hoedspruit. Check out www.hoedspruit.co.za.


The Haenertsburg to Hoedspruit Foodie Route is still being developed so the offerings described here are more of a taste-teaser than a four course spread so if you’re a producer, restaurant owner or foodie experience provider and would like be included, please contact Lisa Martus @ 072 397 9624 | Michi Thompson @ 072 370 1886 | Laaika Moosa @ 083 366 8999 | Cindy Koen @ 071 429 7569 (Hoedspruit)


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