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South Africa, Riebeek Kasteel, May 2011; SET ASIDE 7 and 8 May this year as a weekend to indulge your senses. The 11th Riebeek Valley Olive Festival in conjunction with Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) will be held over this weekend, showcasing the very best of the food and wine, art and music of the twin Swartland towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West.

THE RIEBEEK VALLEY, nestled at the foot of the impressive Kasteelberg – an hour’s easy drive from Cape Town, is a popular weekend destination for urbanites looking for a taste of relaxed country living.

And you’ll get more than just a taste – the Riebeek Valley Olive Festival, while indeed celebrating that hallowed fruit, invites visitors to explore much more, and with all their senses. It’s a weekend carnival of food and wine, art and music, activities and events.

The twin towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West pull out all the stops on 7 and 8 May 2011, when the colourful village characters join forces with local farmers to put on one of the most popular festivals in the Western Cape. It’s with good reason that this festival – an official event on Cape Town Tourism’s ‘Cape of Great Events’ Calendar – was named last year’s winner of the West Coast Tourism Awards in the ‘tourism event’ category.

Join the thousands of visitors who flock to the valley to sample the very best of the region’s food, wines and creativity – including, of course, olives in every shape and form.

Olive oil takes on a whole new twist when flavoured with lemon, basil, chillies or truffles. Or you can stick to the basics and take home a bottle of the unadulterated variety. The fruit itself comes in too many delicious forms to count: black and green olives in a huge variety of marinades, from rosemary and garlic to lime and blueberry; smoked olives, dried olives, olive-chocolate salami, jams and tapenades; and – a nod to the premium wine of the valley – olives infused in Shiraz.

And once your taste buds have been satisfied, you can treat your skin: olives form the basis for a sweeping selection of beauty products, from skin scrubs and lip balms to soaps and massage oils. Lovingly prepared and beautifully packaged, these are the perfect gifts for someone special.

The Valley is also known for its wines, and the estates and cellars will be bringing out their best: white and red (and white from red), wooded, bush vine, sparkling, sweet and dry, everyday-drinking blends and lay-down-and-keep treasures. There will be wine-tastings aplenty, with opportunities to talk to the winemakers and cellar masters.

Now firmly on the map as a foodies’ favourite, the Riebeek Valley’s eateries will also be showcasing their fabulous offerings. Go upmarket with French haut cuisine; relax in a leafy courtyard while nibbling on tantalising tapas, or fill up on crusty pizzas with seasonal toppings. Stalls will offer food-on-the-move, from the Valley’s now-famous ‘babbelas burgers’ (breakfast in a bun) to fresh-fried samoosas, and home-baked sweet treats like koeksisters and cakes to country-style pies with a variety of fillings – and much more.

With taste and smell satisfied, the other senses are equally indulged. This artists’ haven has grown to encompass painters, sculptors, performance artists, musicians, dancers and actors, and their myriad talents will be on show at formal and informal performances running throughout the weekend.

For visitors who want to stay over, the Riebeek Valley offers a range of accommodation to suit every taste and pocket, from self-catering cottages on the surrounding farms to B&Bs in the towns, and two grand old-world hotels.

With something for everyone, this is one festival not to be missed.

For further information and opportunities for sponsorship, contact festival organiser Nichola Hodgson on 082 896 5022 or nichola@phatcatz.co.za. Accommodation and restaurant information can be found at http://www.riebeekvalley.info.



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