No more shushing and hushing. The Secret is out. Hallelujah. We can talk. And tell you everything we know and love about it.

The Secret Festival is a weekend-long fest offering insight into food, wine and arts trends.

But the real reason we’re showing this to you (our little secret) is that we think the poster art for the Festival kicks makhula butt.

So before we launch into the press release, let’s have a round of applause for the Festival posters. Thank you.

Here’s a little taste of some of the inventiveness you can expect from participants in the Festival.

(left) Bramble pop-up cafe, Super Natural, London, September 2010 (right)Banana partyinstallazione, Designersblock, Piscina Argelati, Milano
B.Q. interactive dinner Museo Marino Marini, Firenze, March 2009
Image courtesy of Arabeschi di Latte
So what’s the big Secret? It’s about the Toffie Food people and Spier joining forces to throw a two-day food gig on Spier wine farm in Stellenbosch – from 27 to 28 October. In proper Toffie style, local and international speakers will reveal fresh perspectives on food and wine through talks, presentations, workshops, tastings and food art installations.

This year a key focus will be natural, organic and biodynamic principles in the production of food and wine.

Besides talks on trends, top chefs and food news bearers will share secret ingredients and recipes, assembling unforgettable dining experiences. Chenin Blanc, South Africa’s best-kept wine secret, will be explored and put on its rightful pedestal. An expo showcasing the diverse styles of Chenin will be hosted by the Chenin Blanc Association, and the varietal’s secrets will be explored by wine experts.

Conference speakers include:

  • Bompas & Parr: Britain’s Jellymongers. This eccentric pair of designers work on architectural scale with cutting edge technology, exploring how the taste of food is altered by synaesthesia, performance and setting
  • Isabelle Legeron: the only French woman with a Master of Wine degree. Named Wine Woman of the Year 2009 in Paris, and Time Out lists a wine tasting with her as one of their top ‘1000 things to do in London’. Isabelle is the co-founder of The Natural Wine Fair that is held in Borough Market. She has a TV series on the Travel Channel about her quest to make a difference to wine around the world
  • OFF MENU: a Spanish collective of graphic designers, food artists, wine makers and bio food dealers
  • Angus McIntosh: South African biodynamic farmer who supplies ethically-reared produce to some of the leading restaurants in the region

Secret fest will include the popular Secret Home Dinners in association with Woolworths Taste magazine. Attendees will receive an invitation to one of 25 dinners held in private homes around Stellenbosch. The weekend also includes a mini cookbook fair, a Saturday food and wine market which is open to the public, and a Sunday braai-off in association with Eat Out magazine.

“The Toffie Food Festival is going to the farm!” says Peet Pienaar, Creative Director at The President. “We are excited about this year’s festival as there will be more opportunity for outdoor and hands-on activities, plus the added wine focus through our partnership with Spier offers a new dimension.”

“We are delighted to team up with the Toffie Food Festival team, and proud to showcase Chenin Blanc particularly,” says Spier Cellar Master Frans Smit. “Chenin Blanc is one South Africa’s best-kept secrets, and we believe that it will become our country’s flagship varietal in the years to come. Besides the famed Loire Valley in France, and a handful of wineries in Australia, we are the only country producing fine wine Chenin Blanc.”

Spier Wine farm

Conference tickets for two days cost R1,500, allowing you to access everything. Bookings through Computicket. Accommodation at the Spier Hotel is available at a special rate of R900 per room per night for ticket holders and can be booked at or 021 809 1100.

The Saturday market will be open to all at R70 per ticket for the day and includes a wine tasting glass and five tasting vouchers. Children under 12 enter for free.

Follow developments on or Twitter @SpierSecret.

For further information, please contact Hannerie Visser at or 082 782 6707.

– Posted by Inge van der Merwe & Jenny Mason