The Whole Food Almanac, written by Michelle Matthews (Cookie Not Cheffy), is a handy guide for anyone looking to explore the extraordinary culinary delights of the Western Cape region.
More than that, though, the book explains why it’s so much better to eat fresh, local food – and how important it is to know where our food comes from (and what can happen to it between farm and plate).
I recently received a review copy from the publishers, and read it, from cover to cover, within a single day. I drooled unceremoniously the whole way through it, and can’t wait to try some of the places and products that I haven’t yet encountered on my culinary travels.
Prepare to salivate as you find out where to get the best artisan breads, organic free range eggs, goats cheeses made from lovingly tended herds, biodynamically raised lamb and of course the freshest, healthiest naturally grown fruit and vegetables around.
The book is neatly divided into sections covering the different kinds of foodstuffs – everything from ‘breads, grains and pulses’ to ‘meat and poultry’ – and covers important subjects like ‘how do I know it’s organic’ and ‘where our food comes from’.
A section on local markets covers some, though not all, of our local fresh produce markets, with tips on market-shopping in general, as well as a description of what you’re likely to find at each one. Also included in this section is a brief rundown of a few of the bigger foodie festivals in the Western Cape.
And then the fun stuff: the scoop on local organic wines, fairtrade and organic coffees, naturally brewed beers and ciders and of course ever so tasty (yet wholesome) condiments and nibbly bits (Von Gesau’s rose geranium milk chocolate in particular sounds dangerously delicious).
Plus, towards the end of the book, several chapters describe the best shops and delis for natural produce, restaurants and cafes with wholesome healthy meals and even an overview of farmstall on major routes out of the city.
The book is informative, extensively researched, and well-written and I for one will be toting it around with me at all times, ready to whip out whenever a foraging mission is on the cards!
The Whole Food Almanac was officially launched earlier this month at the Book Lounge, and is available there and in other major bookstores – or, you can buy it online at Kalahari.net (R106.25 at time of writing this).