September 7, 2011

A non-reviewing review.

I’m not a writer, a food critic, or even a blogging socialite. The latter actually scares me a bit.

Despite being none of the above, I do have an opinion and I usually like to voice it. Sometimes at times, when I should better be quiet and in a way, which is ... let’s just say... a little blunt. I guess I can still improve on my people and opinion raising skills. Though not here. This is my blog and I can bloody think and write whatever pleases me. Today it pleases me to write everything I liked about the Toffie Food Festival. You may have gathered this is not an objective review, no one is paying me to write it, so I allow myself to gush over what I think was gushable and nothing else.

It started off well with the goodie bag. Like most people I’m a sucker for goodie bags, and this one was actually very neat. If one wanted to find something to complain, it would be the fact that it was full to the brim and therefore quite heavy to schlep around all day. Poor me. As usual I was way too early and therefore my goodie bag and me had enough time to wander the halls and see all that was on show. The exhibits were slightly quirky yet informative, and the piñata room even gave good advice by spelling out: DON’T HAVE UGLY KIDS.

Toffee or not, they all looked very yummy. I still don’t understand how anyone could have mulled over the fact that there was no toffee to eat when there was so much else. Plus the toffee beer SAB offered was incredibly delicious. On Sunday I started drinking way too earlier thanks to the German (If read ‘ze German’ one more time, I will be really upset. We all get it, yes, Germans have an accent. So do Afrikaners. Ours is nicer.) I was quite proud of the fact that involuntarily or not, he got the most laughs and defied the cliché of the humourless Bavarians. The free beer might have had something to do with that though. 
So afterwards it was straight into the beer hall. I believe in the all or nothing principal, which offered me the option to continue drinking throughout the morning without feeling bad. Mind you, I also had sausage and pie and Peruvian something something fritters, which in hindsight I should have taken home too. Or not. As I may have not had enough space in my stomach for my secret dinner. I drew quite the jackpot as I went to the SAB headquarters and was spoiled by Pete Goffe-Wood, whom I started to have an unofficial crush on after the first bite of the pork terrine we had for 2nd course. The crush became somewhat more official after two more glasses of beer and the baked rice pudding.
 Obviously the whole festival wasn’t all about stuffing my face, it was about the speakers. Except maybe for Anna Trapido’s talk about her book ‘Hunger for Freedom’ as it was accompanied by a 19-piece lunch pack, each item representing a dish with importance in Mandela’s life. One wanted to be careful though with munching too fast. A guy sitting next to me took a huge bite of the prison Christmas cake, just a moment before Anna warned us about how nasty the cake was.
The guy put on a brave face and swallowed without a sound; I was quite impressed.
All speakers were a beautiful mix of – “wow, I didn’t know this”, and “wow, I need to try this”, and “wow, now I’m crying”. I walked out with a new restaurant I want to try with my Dad, a new business contact, an overall feeling of inspiration, and thanks to a goodie bag voucher 2 beautiful, decadent Le Creuset espresso cups. Not bad for a day and half of sitting on rustling, brown paper covered chairs, which surely must have cost some poor interns some nerves.

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