For chefs, restaurants, and hotels to compete with the buying and marketing power of mega discount stores and fast food chains, they need an edge. Food and beverage expos provide a marketplace of vendors with the innovative and new ideas in dining and hospitality. It’s a place to swap ideas, make deals and make sales. Non-industry people who just love food can also benefit from these expos.
Some African food and beverage expos and exhibitions attract thousands of food lovers, who book plane tickets and hotel rooms just to indulge in local South African culinary treats. Here are 8 unique South African food and beverage expos worth traveling for.
In 2015, the South African Cheese Festival broke a record for the largest amount of space occupied by cheese exhibitors. The event has been happening for 15 years; each year, this three-day event attracts hundreds of cheesemakers, both local and international, to fairgrounds in Sandringham not far from Cape Town. The event hosts cheesemaking competitions, recipe classes, and all things cheese, as well as musical acts. It’s become so popular that tickets cannot be purchased at the door, according to Cheesefestival.co.za.
The Coffee & Chocolate Expo KwaZulu-Natal takes place in Durban, and welcomes foodies to taste chocolate and coffee paired with whiskey, wine, and other gourmet items. It also hosts fun, coffee and chocolate-centric contests, like a barista challenge where coffee fiends show off their skills with an espresso maker. Areas are dedicated to showing off new and trendy chocolate, coffee and alcohol. If a chocolate coffee whiskytini sounds appealing, you can purchase tickets at Coffeechoc.co.za.
Africa’s Big Seven is the continent’s largest food and beverage industry trade exposition. The seven stands for seven sectors of hospitality represented at the expo including fresh produce and ingredients, manufacturing technologies, processing and packaging equipment, retail-ready products, hospitality, retail and international catering, according to Exhibitionsafrica.com. Vendors from all these arenas fight for spots at this well-attended event, where trade buyers from over 50 countries go to shop.
The Knysna Oyster Festival takes place in the summer and features over 100 sporting and lifestyle events during a 10 day period in Knysna South Africa. In spite of its name, the festival actually centers on marathons like cycling, running and swimming, but hosts incredible food vendors at each event. Throughout the festival, visitors can enjoy live music acts, standup comedy, traditional braais, and the popular Bubbly, Oysters & Chocolate experience. A full lineup of events can be found on Oysterfestvial.co.za.
The Good Food & Wine Show makes a stop in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban where attendees can enjoy celebrity chef demonstrations, food and wine tastings and the chance to buy some of the continent’s best gourmet items like olive oil, chocolate and whiskey. The event has been running for 12 years with no signs of stopping, according to Sleeping-out.co.za.
The Pretoria Homemakers Expo takes place at the Parkview Shopping Centre. The Expo hosts vendors showing off the latest designs and technology in home appliances, decor, gardening and more. But what makes it part of the food and beverage expo lineup is its kitchen section. Vendors feature all the equipment you could want to build a gorgeous home bar, in-house deli, or state-of-the-art braai, along with interior decorating professionals. A full list of categories represented at the expo can be found at Homemakersonline.co.za.
The Foodtech Africa Expo is an international trade fair where visitors can indulge in various cuisines and delicacies, but the expo is part of an initiative with an aim larger than entertaining. Vendors show products like additives, flavorings and new processing technologies. Foodtech Africa is a public-private initiative combining the strengths of Dutch agro-food companies, knowledge institutes and governmental agencies to improve food security, says Foodtechafrica.com.
The Halal World Expo allows anyone working in the halal marketplace to find vendors and make contacts. Booths at the expo feature everything from frozen food and spices to Islamic arts and crafts as well as Islamic financial services. The expo aims to provide international halal industry players information on the business opportunities available in the global halal market, says 10times.com.