Feasting Under An Autumn Sun

May
2013
15

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the truck

 

There’s something to be said about a sunny Highveld autumn day. On a farm. By a river. For a feast.  Tanner farm was the venue for the seventh Down to Earth Farm Feast, which is run by best friends Dany & Danielle.  The duo are responsible for a string of successful events around Gauteng, where they scout out local farms around the province, looking for beautiful venues to be the backdrops for their delightful feasts.

Tanner Farm near Lanseria has been owned by the Peters family for about 35 years and produces lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, beans and sweet corn. The farm uses both conventional and organic farming methods, and supply Pick n Pay, Checkers and other smaller outlets.

Each farm is selected because of the fresh produce they grow, and menus are crafted around what is seasonal and fresh on the day. Dany and Danielle want the focus not be placed on their pretty food truck but on provenance; they want to show people how easy it is to use what is readily available and to turn it into something completely delicious.

The food was prepared by chef Kyle Eggersglusz in a beautiful old lady, a vintage Mercedes Benz bull-nose truck, restored to her former glory and then some.  She has been fitted out with a modern kitchen, which runs on gas and a surprisingly small generator that allows her to be entirely self-sufficient, making accessing remote locations possible.

Upon arrival, we were met with melon and rum cocktails by Dany and Danielle, after which we snacked on phyllo cups with a filling of creamy broccoli, feta and mushrooms topped with caramelized onions, along with a creamy cauliflower and pistachio soup served with crisp lavosh.

Our table had been set next to the Peters’ private riverfront, which cascaded over rocks past us into a lazy weir a bit further down the bank. The bar had been set up on a ridge overlooking the river, behind which were rolling green pastures – home to a number of happy cows. We had to really make a concerted effort to avoid stepping in those dreaded cow pats.

 We sat down to a grilled chicken salad with spinach, rocket, baby corn, mange tout, orange segments, pomegranate and goat cheese labneh.  The flavours were fresh and punchy, and complimented each other so well.

Between courses we ambled down to the river with our drinks and sat lazily on the grassy ledge chatting and taking in our surroundings. One couple actually ate their entire meal here, preferring a grassy patch next to the gurgling river to a table full of noisy, delighted diners.

Main course was served a short while later and didn’t disappoint: a rustic lamb and venison pie with broccoli ‘slaw’ with red onion slivers and cranberries, finished off with a handful of micro greens.  I loved the homemade pastry and the pretty floral decoration each pie was adorned with.  The meaty richness of the pie filling was cut by the crunchy freshness of the slaw.  There was a vegetarian sitting two seats away from me and I could have sworn I saw her sneak a mouthful of pie – it was that good.

More lolling by the river, and before we knew it dessert was served: velvety yogurt panna cotta topped with a lemon and toasted almond syrup, with a butter biscuit to dunk.  I had to begrudgingly share my pudding with a few bees, who were after the sticky lemony goodness.

We stayed long after dessert was served, chatting with our fellow lunch companions. There’s something to be said about sitting at one long table next to people you’ve never met before.  I’ve attended three Farm Feasts, and each time I’ve come away with phone numbers and email addresses of some of the nicest, friendliest people. Each feast seems to bring people together, which I love. With Dany and Danielle firmly focused on more and more Farm Feasts, that notion is set to continue long into the future.

Visit the Down to Earth website to check out the girls’ next Farm Feast at NIROX.

 

* Photo credit: Phillip Santos

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