Midlands Long Table Lunch

Misty Wine, and Sparkly Salads …Slowly…

Host:  Erica Brown      Venue:  Solfood in Karkloof KZN Midlands  by Nikki Brighton
The mist settled on our wine glasses and made the salads sparkle at the Long Table Lunch hosted by Erica Brown of Sōlfood in Karkloof last weekend. A light drizzle was not enough to deter enthusiastic foodies from enjoying her vegetarian feast surrounded by verdant hills, with a beautiful valley view of Albert Falls Dam.

Erica (a member of the Slow Food movement) believes in good, clean, fair food, in showcasing produce that is in season and supporting local farmers. Her Pop-Up Long Table (cleverly created from discarded wooden pallets) epitomised these principles.

In the time of the Gaul’s, the the end of summer – harvest time – was always marked by communities around long tables set up in sheds or farmyards,” she told us, “so this feast is about sharing, celebrating the abundance of the area.” There certainly is an abundance of good food at this time of year.

From a tiny camp kitchen in a tent under the trees, platters and bowls arrived miraculously at the colourful table. We feasted on artisan bread with red pepper hummus, spicy black bean soup that made the most of all the tomatoes available right now, beautiful piles of micro greens grown in Curry’s Post, free range egg filled spinach frittata, aubergine and courgette, Hubbard squash, grain filled roasted green peppers.

Everyone made a new friend and caught up with some old ones while passing plates along the table to share. Convivial conversation included ideas on planting your own garden, where to find organic and traditional produce, the importance of supporting small-scale local farmers, how to make the most of seasonal excess and naturally, the weather! After polishing off platters of artisan cheese, the gluten-free chocolate brownies with hot coffee were a real hit with damp diners.

the first of many Long Table Lunches that celebrate community, season produce and Erica’s great cooking. Photo: Keran Ducasse

In the African tradition, rain is auspicious on special occasions. So, we all hope that this will be the first of many Long Table Lunches that celebrate community, season produce and Erica’s great cooking, whatever the weather.