Ayama Wine Farm will be hosting their first Artichoke Festival in the Voor Paardeberg on Sunday, 14 October, open to all #AyamaFantics.
What started off as a small project, planting vegetables for the family’s personal use, Michela and Attilio, founders of Ayama Wines and owners of Slent Farm, found that the idyllic mountainous slopes of Slent Farm provided the perfect conditions allowing full-blossomed fruit and vegetables to grow. This saw the birth of the Ayama Market Place project which offers a vegetable boutique where visitors can also learn how to harvest, clean, cook and preserve extraordinary Italian food.
“When we first moved to South Africa, finding the perfect Italian flavors was a challenge,” explains Michela. “We took the bull by the horns and decided to plant our own.” The farm’s offering includes various kinds of wheat flours, olives, and other seasonal vegetables in addition to the 65 hectares of vineyards used to produce Ayama Wines.
Slent Farm’s seasonal yield is the exquisite artichokes. What started as a joint venture with Italian restaurant owner, Giuseppe La Gattuta, the first harvest took place in 2016, producing high-quality artichokes is now an established project at Ayama. Planted at end of January and harvested between August and October 2018 marks the third harvest of Sicilian Artichokes at Slent Farm. Not only do artichokes carry a unique and distinct flavor, but they also carry a number of health benefits which includes cancer prevention, aiding liver function, improved digestion and defense against cholesterol.
When it comes to cooking with artichokes, the notion can be relatively new. Here are a few tips for preparing artichokes:
- Make sure to trim off any sharp leaf tips and the stem before cooking.
- Opening the leaves allows for more effective cooking.
- Whether you boil or steam your artichoke, you can tell it’s done when the petal near the center pulls out easily.
- Don’t worry, the artichoke is one of the only foods where it is both proper and polite to eat with your fingers.
- Artichokes can be served hot or cold. To eat, just pull out the outer petals one at a time. Dip it in your favorite sauce and pull the leaves through your teeth, removing the soft pulpy portion. Discard the remaining portion of the leaf. Continue this until all the petals have been removed. Use a spoon and remove the fuzzy center at the base of the artichoke and discard it. What remains is the heart of the artichoke and it is entirely edible.
- When the artichokes are cut, they tend to become dark immediately as contact with the air oxidizes them very quickly. To avoid this, prepare a large bowl containing water and lemon slices, soak the artichokes in the water as soon as you have cut them.
- A good tip is to wash your hands with lemon juice to prevent them from becoming black.
Tickets are limited to 250 guests and are available here. Adults pay R 250, R150 for children aged between 7-11 and include Fritella Di Carciofi, Caponata Di Carciofi, Carciofi Fritti, Pasta Sebisa and a tasting glass of Ayama Vermentino 2017.