Mossel Bay to host Food Expo in 2013

Mossel Bay – famous for its seafood for 164 000 years – will present its first annual Food indaba from the 28th of February to the 3rd of March next year.

‘Proe Mosselbaai: Kos en die lekker lewe / Food and the good life’ is the brainchild and responsibility of local resident Nelma Ruschioni, who is well-known amongst foodies and in the publishing world.

“We’re planning to attract celebrity chefs, the authors and publishers of cookbooks, food editors, and food bloggers, who’ll take part in talks about food, the kitchen and the table; who’ll present shows and exhibitions; and who’ll launch and promote food products and cookbooks.

“A number of big names have already confirmed that they’ll be here,” said Ms. Ruschioni.

“Proe Mosselbaai will be endorsed by the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs South Africa, and supported by the local Fynproewersgilde,” she said.

“Our media sponsor, RSG, will start marketing in December during their very popular Huiskok Glanskok programme, and when the event gets under way, presenters François Ferreira and Errieda du Toit will broadcast live from Mossel Bay.”

Ms. Ruschioni said that Proe Mosselbaai will benefit at least two local charities.

“We’ve asked the Mayor to nominate two organisations which she thinks deserve our support, and event organisers and businesspeople will be asked to ‘Adopt-a-charity’ for the period of the Indaba,” she said.

A Food Route featuring the restaurants of the greater Mossel Bay area, an Art/Lifestyle Route, safari food tours, and tour packages for visitors from up-country will form important attractions for locals and visitors alike.

“The weather’s fantastic in March, so it’s an excellent time of year for a celebration,” said Ms. Ruschioni.

As befits a town which is so intimately associated with the Portuguese seafarers of the 15th and 16th Centuries (Bartolomeu Dias and the first rounding of the Cape; Pedro de Ataide and the Post Office Tree), Proe Mosselbaai will be branded in the red and green of the Portuguese flag.

Ms. Ruschioni said that the idea for Proe Mosselbaai came out of a local economic development study (participatory assessment of competitive advantage – the PACA process) which the Municipality commissioned and completed earlier this year.

“I spent 25 years in publishing at Human & Rousseau, specializing in cookbooks.

“’Kook en Geniet,’ ‘Huisgenoot Wenresepte,’ Nataniël’s first two cookbooks, and cookery titles by famous foodies like Ina Paarman, Peter Veldsman, and Annette Kesler were all part of my list.

“So when the Municipality called for proposals for festivals and events that would bring visitors into town, it sparked an idea that has now grown into a very exciting event – and I’ve received tremendous support from everyone concerned from day one.”

Ms. Ruschioni said that everyone would be catered for.

“So far, fifteen local restaurants have indicated that they’ll feature special menus or events during the week-end.

“The Food Indaba will be centered in the Santos Beach area, but food, art, and lifestyle events will take place all around Mossel Bay – from The Point area to the Mossel Bay Mall, Hartenbos and Great Brak River, and at Jakkalsvlei near Herbertsdale, and Stoepsit near Boggomsbaai.

“There’ll also be cabaret, cookbook signings, interviews with visiting foodies, art and photo exhibitions, tours of historic Mossel Bay, whiskey tastings, art house movies, and many other things to do.”

Mossel Bay councillor, Alderman Emil Scheepers, who serves as a member of the board of Mossel Bay Tourism, welcomed the announcement of Proe Mosselbaai.

“Food plays a vital role in our lives, and, as the Mossel Bay Archaeology Project has shown, Mossel Bay is the birthplace of modern human behaviour – because it was when our ancient forefathers started harvesting seafood systematically along this part of the coast 164,000 years ago that we began taking in the omega-3s which we needed for the development of our powerful modern human brains.

“So since Mossel Bay is the place where it all began, it’s appropriate that we should celebrate our culinary heritage,” he said.

“Mossel Bay Tourism believes that Proe Mosselbaai is destined to become an iconic event that will attract large numbers of visitors – and once again place the town on the map as a significant culinary destination.

“We invite everyone to come and taste some of our famous wild oysters – the same ones which nourished those old folks – and to share a glass of one of our locally grown wines (and yes, Mossel Bay does produce very fine, award-winning wines),” said Ald. Scheepers.

The final programme will be announced closer to the opening.

“We’re hoping that a lot more people will come forward with new ideas for events that they can organise themselves,” said Ms. Ruschioni. “They’ll be very welcome.”

The Proe Mosselbaai web site is presently under construction. For information – or to take part as a sponsor, exhibitor, or event organiser – please contact Nelma Ruschioni on nelmar@vodamail.co.za, or 082 9707 213.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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