Fermented foods to the fore

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The world of artisanal food and craft cooking has blossomed over the past few years, leading to a point where now, under the dim candlelight of Sin + Tax in Rosebank, JHB a group of some twenty people met to pair gin and chocolate and discuss their favourite subject “Fermented foods”.

The fermented foods movement has been growing in leaps and bounds as more people discover the health benefits of these connected food types. Everything from cheeses to hot sauces, kimchis and beers fall under the category and through their pairing events, Fermented.co.za has become a central hub for everyone from homebrewers to professional chefs.

This most recent event saw the distiller Six Dogs bring their top-level Karoo based gins to Joburg to be paired with the Belgian tradition inspired Von Geusau’s chocolates in a series of four tastings, all of which were covered in the ticket price.

The two gins on display, a tidy Karoo based botanical and a novel blue gin infused with rose pelargonium, were neatly matched with smooth, creamy chocolates that brought out subtle essences in the gins themselves.

The guests sat in comfortable leather armchairs, while in the background bearded cocktail barman mixed a series of traditional and exotic cocktails for the Thursday night crowd.

Six dogs representative Gerrit Visser detailed the stories behind the gin and gave an insight into the processes that lead to each pairing.

“You know why most gin companies stuff their drinks with fruit and herbs? It’s bad gin,” he laughed at one point.

It was a very different feel to Fermented’s Beer vs Wine pairing done the month before at Mad Giant brewery in Newtown, where attendees alternated between courses of a meal each paired with either a beer or a glass of wine.  The event was a pairing between Mad Giant Brewing Company, Waterkloof wines and Klein River Cheese and involved a sit-down meal under lights, while the craftsmen and women behind the companies filled in with added detail for the tastings.

Fermented is the brainchild of Murray Slater who explains he wanted to create a space for local producers, small businesses and entrepreneurs to shine, while also exposing the wonderful fermented world to those who may not have had a chance to discover it yet.

“I noticed that many of my favourite things were fermented and that there were many niche communities with the same passion and drive. I decided that cross-pollinating these communities into one large community in a battle against industrialized and bland food benefiting faceless shareholders,” he says.

The 2020 calendar of Fermented events is not out just yet, but Murray hints the next will most likely be a Rooibos Brandy Pairing, and he suggests people look out for the Kombucha Workshops as well.

In the meantime, guests can join the Fermented community for discounts on ticket prices, the blog, and community membership and further specials from the partner companies.