Spilling the Beans
Taste your way around these fab food markets
Spring brings with it fairs and festivals and, as always, the annual Hartiwood Food and Film Festival is one of the best. This year it's a night market on September 16, from 5pm to 10pm.
As Hartbeespoort is a great local cinematic success story (Hartiwood films), as well as being an area of huge agricultural abundance, the food and fliek combo has, logically, remained the constant. This year the market is set in the Pretville movie's set: a faux (but madly authentic) tiny 1950s town.
The list of food and drink at the festival is beyond stupendous: on the sweet side alone, winers and diners will be able to savour everything from perfect macaroons, choux puffs, home-made marmalade and Die Ou Pastorie's organic nougat, to virtuous Banting buns and more.
Celebrity chefs are in attendance too: James Diack from Coobs restaurant will be making pâtés and terrines from properly reared meat, and there are amazing cheeses, Penny Zeffert's famed sourdough bread, marog and pap, and even falafel and braai snoek.
Liquids are just as impressive: there are fine wines, glorious artisan gins, craft beers and cocktails on tap, plus moerkoffie to sort out the effects of the booze.
On the film and entertainment side, punters can take in a selection of vintage, silent movie comedy shorts.
Serious film buffs will adore the documentary festival which focuses on local heroes such as avant-garde artist Beezy Bailey and poet Eugene Marais. Tickets are available at the gate. R50 adults, R30 children.
A food outing on a much smaller scale is the Melville Farmer's Market. What started on the rooftop of the Bamboo Centre and migrated to the tennis court scrap-land, keeps going because for all that it's microscopic, it's both useful and charming.
On a Saturday morning, from dawn's crack until lunchtime, you'll find free-range duck, beef and chicken pies, eggs, raw milk, cream, yoghurt and smoothies, pestos and chilli sauces, and an array of organically grown vegetables and fruit. There's bread too, but you need to get it in the first hour or it's impossibly hard.
On the non-edible side, there are especially beautiful succulents, plus wooden vegetable and plant containers.
Once people discover it, they tend to become long-term regulars. It doesn't hurt that it's a stone's throw from one of the most concentratedly good shopping blocks in Johannesburg, which includes the pure genius of Ella Buter's clothing design at Superella, Service Station's top-quality food and Love Books' perfectly edited range.
The Melville Farmer's Market is on Carlow Road, and you can park a zucchini's length from the stalls.
• This article was originally published in The Times.