Saturday, March 12, 2011

~ Local is Lekker ~

You probably know by now that I really like to cook, but not only cooking, I like to research where food comes from, what the reason is behind that particular dish. How food has evolved, how food in different countries have the the same kind of dishes just using their local ingredients, but the basics are the same. These kind of things intrigue me, I love that part about food and I read a lot of cookbooks, I look at a lot of shows. For me it is not only about cooking a quick dinner to satisfy those hungry bellies... NO there is so much more to it.

And I like to use local produce, luckily that trend is coming up everywhere these days more and more you see farmer's markets, local bakers, butchers are popping up everywhere and I love this kind of shopping. Browsing around on markets, tasting new kind of cheeses, spices... you can say I am a localvore (one who eats food grown locally wherever possible). Although I would like to even MORE explore this here in SA. By drawing from local resources we can reduce our carbon footprints.

And Local = Lekker! (this is a SA expression, but we use it in Holland as well.... lekker = delicious!)

More and more I am going back to our roots and remembering what our grandparents did seems to be the way forward. Those old-fashioned recipes I suddenly crave for, but then in a new way... with a twist. But those flavors were good in the olden days.. honest and pure. That's how I like to cook these days. But you need GOOD ingredients, fresh from the field, straight from the butcher or bakery... not 3 day old from the supermarket which has been on a truck or even worse on a plane to get in my local supermarket.. that is not the way I like to shop. I want local stuff and more and more am I sourcing this out.

Then there is another reason why this should be on all peoples mind: Obesity in children is no longer accepted. Schools and parents are becoming more aware of feeding their young ones correctly.

Food is traditionally about nourishment and a cultural connection. When we cook and eat our food, I try to involve the girls into the food we are eating. Not only do they really want to help me in the kitchen but I am also telling them each time where the dish comes from. Since we are eating very international at home I always tell them this is from so and so country, so your friend so and so eats this kind of food a lot. It gives them a connection with a friend in their class and they get more excited about it, to know and realize that other children eat different foods. It also helps a lot when they think they don't like it before they have even tried it. If they know their friend so and so eats it all the time, it probably will taste good.

Food and everything around is in also an IN thing! Food shows, blogs about food, cooking classes are popping up more and more. People are interested in food around the world, and with the internet you can virtually travel and cook your way around the world! Which is fantastic... I LOVE that part! Before the internet I bought wherever I traveled a new cookbook from that region, but my bookcases are piling out and most of them are still in boxes in my garage these days... a shame really! But now with the internet and just a few clicks away I can find my recipe I am looking for, compare a few sites and voila I have my recipe that I like to make that day.

And for my local friends here in SA who read my blog and also like to find the best produce around, here are a few local suppliers. I know a few of them, but there are others I definitely want to check out! Another project is born :-)

For all those gadget crazy people, I suggest going onto Yuppie chef ( They offer free delivery, on all orders, anywhere in South Africa. A foodie person's paradise, such innovative and exciting items from cookware, tools, knives, appliances, bake ware, to books, home keeping gadgets and kiddie's appliances.

Pretoria Boeremark: The only Gauteng farmer's market from 5.30-8.30 am every Saturday. See the blog entry for more details. Contact the organiser Johan van Wyk on 082-416-3900 for more info.

Braeside Butchers in 4th Ave Parkhurst are now stocking grass fed beef from a small farm in KZN (as well as making some great sausages like Merguez & Italian veal & pork). Tel: 011-788-3613.

Rio Douro fishery ~ Wholesalers direct to the public, specialising in seafood, and continental delicacies used in Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisine ~

Heartwood Smokehouse: Fantastic naturally smoked bacon, trout, ham, cheese. Info Roy Gibbs 076-480-6190 /

Visit Conscious Seafood Consumer website: or text 079 499 8795 with fish in question.

Dargle Valley Pork (the best streaky bacon, sliced Gammon and Pork Pies) - Caz 0332344159.

Swissland Goat's Cheese (World class Goat's Cheese - my favourite is the Ash Chevin and Drakensburg) - Fran 033 2344042.

La Petite France (Best Camembert in the country) - Gerè 033 3433487.

Chrissie's Cheese (Electric traditional Cheddar - Beetroot and Sage is delicious) - Chrissie 031 7811791.

Erwin's (Flavoursome Parma ham styled meats and salamis) - Erwin 033 2632275.

Hatting's Sausages (Gourmet Sausages-hormone, steroid and antibiotic free. Try Honey, Ale Mustard - YUM!) - Jarrod 033 343 4135.

Wayfarer Trout (Pin boned smoked or fresh Trout - stunning quality) - Sue 033 2344665.

Romesco Olives (Campfire Olives are my choice always) - Claire 033 3308345.

Dargle Ducks (Portioned Duck is available so if you are wanting to confit a few thighs you can. Another bonus they sell Duck fat.) - Dean 033 2344227.

Local Rabbits (New Zealand White Rabbits) - Ziggy 033 2632528.

Cookbooks Emporium: Over 3000 new & used cookbooks in Parktown North, Johannesburg.

Next time more about the local farmers and other food markets, since there are plenty here!!

So what do you think about food, is this a big part of your life, do you buy local? Do you use the ingredients of the season, do you visit farmers markets and local cheese makers, or butchers and bakeries, or are you an one-stop kind of gal?

Have a wonderful weekend!


Maci Miller said...

Great post! Sadly, I am more of a one-stop shopper. Hard to make a bunch of trips with a toddler in tow. Even a pretty well behaved one! Still, I do love local food, produce, etc. At our grocer they sell some local and organic so I try to shop there. In the summer, produce is's right in the backyard! My neighbor grows many veggies in a garden on our property. We let him use the land, he grows it and shares the organic produce. Win- win! I go to an Italian specialty shop down the road for home made pasta. So good and so fresh that it's really hard to go back to boxed pasta after that! In the summer, I make my own marinara but our little shop's version is so good I pick it up often and saves me the effort!

Mireille said...

I know what you mean Jen! It is hard shopping with a toddler, and I used to be a one-stop shopper as well while the kids are so young. But now they are full-time in school I tend to look for other sources. It is so fun BUT time consuming!!

I am thinking of growing my own veggies, but need to make a huge cage around it since we have rabbits walking in our garden, and the girls are not ready to loose them. I am hooked on Jamie at Home, where he gets him produce from his own garden, it always looks so inviting and yummy!

Mireille said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
plantagenet said...

Great Post! I'd wish that all intelligent consumers would consider the thought of local food and local produce and care about ingredients.
Therefore information is the most important. Of course, the food industry likes to inform consumers, but its always to be questioned and better to inform oneself. If more people would buy local food and organic food, the agriculture and production would have to change. what is the reason for not following this logic? Laziness? disinformation? carelessness? I wonder!

plantagenet said...

Oh, Mireille, if you think about growing veggies and you consider your rabbits. Make 'Hochbeet'... (couldn't find an English expression) means build an elevated bed. You built a 'box' fill it with branches, leaves and rising natural material then on top about 40 cm soil. The whole thing is about 60 - 80 cam high. Also very pleasant for your back!!!I see if I can find you some links how to built one.
there you can see some pictures how its meant to be... good luck, I guess you'll find some per internet in english.

Mireille said...

@Ginster, I already have a higher up bed with flowers, but the rabbits can jump up to 1 meter high, so even that I have to fence in, since they walk into this bed with plants everyday...


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