Bringing Italy to South Africa at Ayama
I have always wanted to live in Italy for a year or two, and with the exchange rate as it is, this seems less and less likely.
However, all is not lost, as Italians Michela and Attilio Dalpiaz and friends, who bought Ayama Wine Farm on the Agter Perdeberg in 2005,  are bringing Italy to us.
Italians have a epicurian tradition of celebrating their wholesome produce with festivals. Every town in Italy has their own food which they celebrate, and today we were lucky enough to celebrate Ayama's artichoke season with them - a first for South Africa I think - An Artichoke Festival!
Michela and Attilio have planted all the delicious Italian foods on the farm; olives, artichokes, broad beans and of course vineyards which produce great wines, including a classic Italian variety; Vermentino. They have also just imported a cute little wooden mill from Austria, which looks like a beautiful toy but in fact mills their durum wheat produced by their neighbours so that we can have authentic Italian wheat and flour.
The Italian community of Cape Town and the winelands flocked to Ayama today for their Artichoke Festival and to experience true Italy.  Warm hearts, delicious artichokes prepared in a number of ways; great wine and congeniality was the order of the day.  The Don, Giorgio dalla Cia, is a great mentor and friend of the Dalpiaz family and we were delighted to bump into old friends and familiar faces in the winelands, viz Ayama neighbours Willie and Tania de Waal from Scali wine farm. which whom we played boules in the Winelands League many years ago.

This event is clearly going to be an unmissable one on Italians and other artichoke-lovers' calendars. I have definitely been inspired and keen to see what I can do with the lovely fresh artichokes I purchased, having been lucky enough to get the last packet of the day!

If you missed this festival - don't panic - the next one is their Broad Bean Festival on 11 Nov!  Book now - very limited spots available.