Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gifts galore @ SA Food and Wine Blogger Indaba 2014.

The highly sought after bags..... a limited edition for 2014.
Hooray!!! What can I say? I attended my first Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba on Saturday 22nd February 2014. What a treat for the senses, the mind, the heart and soul and the sense of humour!

Being just slightly sceptical about the access and facilities, I decided to embark on a pre-Indaba check -up! Being a Paraplegic and having a beautiful Service Dog at my side, I decided that it would be wise to make sure that we were both welcome at the Upper Eastside Hotel.
So, I gallantly invaded the team at Upper Eastside busy setting up for another event prior to our Indaba....I was welcomed and happily taken on a tour of the required facilities for both myself and Sweet Olivia....a dog also needs a place to relieve herself at an all day long Indaba!

Oh how we all LOVE this bag!

.....and so the excitement mounted....all the posts of the Goodie Bag contents kept on tempting those of us who had already registered for the Indaba.....we could not wait to get our grubby paws.....yes, Olivia as well, on the delightful and tempting goodie bags!
I have to say that Olivia was after the Cookie Letter press, as Mom always bakes her homemade cookies.......well, that was just to tempt Sweet Olivia to join me! Special thanks to Yuppiechef for sponsoring this item. We will be baking loads of cookies in the future!

Sweet Olivia enjoying the tea break with a cool bowl of water and ice blocks!

On this note I have to mention that the reason I was made aware of this year's Indaba was because of a post on SA Guide - Dogs Association for the Blind's site about the event. SAGA was to be the charity to benefit from the charity auction at the end of the day. What a delight !
We registered immediately and waited for the spectacular day to arrive!

Time to get creative...... Easter baking is around the corner. Watch this space!
And so we arrived.....early enough, found a suitable and accessible the lift and we were ready for the big day.
We found our name tags....none for Olivia though, well next time! Only joking! 
The foyer area was humming with anticipation.......the mood was palpable.......when were we going to begin???? Where were the goodie bags?????

And so to the welcome and introductions....thanks to Paul Raphaely from NoMU for his linguistic skills......
and sense of humour. ..... I am happy to say this thread continued throughout the day....more later.

The challenge of the day began, fitting all the speakers and workshops into the allocated time slots! Well done to all for the strict time was quite like being back at lectures!
Discipline....something we all need!

I realised that I would never become a commercial blogger...I am not sure that I have the energy required to face the music every day. The guest speakers involved in the panel discussions made this all clear. The challenges of the real business is not easy!

I enjoyed the enthusiasm and jovial atmosphere created from the start of proceedings, especially from Fritz Brandt of Men can Cook. The thread of being enticed to advertise items you do not subscribe to hit home....I think the doiley thread continued throughout the day! I loved the sense of humour attached to this!

We were forced to break for lunch.....oh, for me it was first a visit to the watering spot for Olivia.....we loved the herb garden at Upper Eastside!
Lunch was a delightful spread from the buffet.....standing in line was obligatory, Olivia!

And so to lunch.....well, a drink for myself and snacks and more ice for Olivia. Only a dog lover will appreciate this image! Classic!
By now we were digging for Victory......and ready for the workshop, thanks to Matt Allison from Planting Thoughts. It was great to hear the theory behind this theme and to prepare ourselves for the activity.
Upper Eastside Hotel has a dedicated area for the cultivation of herbs, so it was a natural area for us all to congregate for the workshop. Olivia was delighted to have an active play area!
We planned and planted.....the rest was left for Upper Eastside to cultivate!

The rooftop herb garden at Upper Eastside.
Matt Allison working his magic in the rich, earthworm enriched soil.

The afternoon sessions were looming and we were all waiting for the grand finale.......I really enjoyed all the tips and theory shared at the photographic workshop by Christine Meintjes in the afternoon.  We all love and live for our special day where we say "I do" and enjoy the creative home making time thereafter. Thanks for all your inspiration ....beyond wedding photography. 

Beautifully styled settings for the photographic workshop.

Our minds were bulging with geeky  theory and photographic information.....the choice of writing recipe books or being likeable on Social media. What to do? Who knows?
Only us.....we have the choice to make it or not?

Olivia enjoying more attention......
But still we have not reached our Goodie Bags......first the auction for South African Guide - Dogs  Association for the Blind. My Sweet Olivia and I were delighted to be present at the event to represent SAGA . My Sweet Olivia is a Service Dog trained by SAGA .  
I was astounded at the generosity of all the sponsors of the hampers and vouchers for the auction, as well as the response and availability of cash from the delegates. Thanks to everyone who helped raise the astonishing amount of R 30 000.00 . It will go a long way to assist in the training of a future Guide or Service Dog.
To get back to the jovial atmosphere and entertaining thread that ran through the was those beloved "gold doyleys" that Fritz started the day with during the morning panel discussion....well they crept up at the evening auction as well. Had to love the laughter.....thanks Fritz Brand.   
All the action at the auction......oh what a show!
So the time arrived for us to depart as Sweet Olivia was tired of munching on a few Hills Science Diet pellets to keep her going.......time for supper! May I also mention that Hills Science Diet sponsor Olivia's food. Special thanks to them for their continued support.

Some of the delightful goods in our goodie bags.
...... and the information to accompany the goodies.
Thank you Pesto Princess..... we love your products!
Magazines to indulge in.......

Goodie Bag time had arrived....the waiting was over. Thanks to ALL the generous sponsors for filling our bulging much so that the handles came adrift! We waited patiently in line as everyone was excited and ready to head off home with their delightful, heavily laden "WTF" designer bags by Obbligato! Dare I attempt to mention ALL the sponsors, starting with wine from Spier, cheese from Fairview, pesto from PestoPrincess, jelly from First Choice. NoMu, Yuppiechef for the delightful Cookie Letterpress set, ORYX  for the desert salt, Nicoletta  Fair Cape, Cecilia's Farm
Inspired Foods,ClemenGold, Tuffy, Sir Juice, Nouvelle Mushrooms, Rio Largo for the Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Visi and TASTE for the magazines.Last, but not least I have to mention a bit of sweetness from Sweet Temptations Toffees...... yum......Thanks to everyone.

Should I have omitted any sponsors....please accept my humble apologies. Special thanks to Colleen and her team at Food and Wine Blogger Indaba for ALL their hard work. They have hearts of GOLD!

And so to end on an international note. My gift of Oryx Kalahari Basin Salt managed to wing its way to my special friend in France. This is the cosy kitchen in a small town Lods, where my lifelong friend Tina lives. Happy cooking Tina! 


  1. Really cool post!
    I am still so jealous I didn't get to go too!

  2. Thank you so much for a wonderfully informative and well written review of Indaba 2014 Heidi. You certainly captured all the atmosphere and excitement! It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and beautiful Olivia. What an awesome companion! We all loved her to bits. Keep well xx

  3. Oh Heidi - what a great post!! Sorry that it took me so long to find and read it. A good friend of mine has a dog trained by SAGA and when it came to choosing a charity, I did not hesitate to suggest SAGA. Reading your words I know we made the right decision :) Thanks again for your support and enthusiasm!