Last Saturday found me adventuring the back roads of Irene, a farming suburb on the outskirts of Pretoria. Sun Herbs farm was my destination, where a farm feast was being prepared… inside a custom-fitted vintage bull-nose Mercedes Benz truck.
Long-time friends Danielle and Dany are a pair of dreamers, whose notions of creating outdoor pop-up events on farm locations around Gauteng have finally come to fruition. The girls, their chef and team of helpers, along with their beautiful food truck, seek local farming communities to showcase their produce by means of a fabulous feast. This was to be their second event.
Dany & Danielle say that “the goal of Down to Earth farm feasts is not only to reconnect people to the origins of the food that we eat, but also to realize the importance of the quality of produce and appreciate and support the individuals and organizations that embrace this philosophy.”
The Big Red Barn was the venue for the day’s feast, and the most beautiful long table had been laid inside the barn in anticipation. The original plan was to feast outside next to the river, but a thunderstorm had been threatening, so the DTE team decided to go the safe route & set up indoors. We were not disappointed.
Before the feast began, we enjoyed gin cocktails under the trees, made with flowers grown on the farm and nibbled on cheese crostini with a selection of delicious pestos, again made with locally grown produce.
We soon sat down to the first course after a few words from the ladies themselves, and their gorgeous chef who introduced the first three courses of his typically Italian menu to us:
First course: A roasted vegetable salad on a butter pastry square with homemade bacon
Second course: Pulled Duck with Asian greens, Thai dressing and fresh limes
Third course: Raspberry sorbet
After the third course, we took a mini-break to refill wine glasses, smoke, and in my case, spy on the chef.
Back to dinner, the fourth course featured handmade spaghetti tossed in fresh tarragon-infused olive oil with seared brown mushrooms, finished off with pecorino shavings.
The fifth course was the meat course, and we were delighted with tender, marinated lamb loin with oven-roasted tomatoes, garlicky baby potatoes and creamy feta cheese
At this point, most of my fellow diners were doing that lean-back, adjust-the-belt-buckle, big-deep-breath thing, trying to make a little more space for the final course: a masterpiece of baked strawberry cheesecake. I may have whimpered out loud.
A thoroughly enjoyed evening of food, laughter and meeting new people. I can’t wait for the next event, though I worry that I may not secure a spot – Dany mentioned that the event was fully booked before they even sent out the invitations. If the menu and the evening (and the feature on Expresso show on February 27th) are anything to go by, I might be in more trouble than I realise.