A year ago, we were lucky enough to step aboard the maiden voyage of Noble Vice – a one-day, all-inclusive boutique wine and food festival that took place at the Old Biscuit Mill. Not quite sure of what to expect, by the end of the day, we were blown away by the curated selection of some of South Africa’s finest winemakers and equally tickled by the veritable cornucopia of culinary treats and sweets. So it should come as no surprise that despite being two of the world’s most indecisive people, it took us less than a minute to decide that we would definitely be attending this year’s event. And that’s saying a lot, as we are two full-time working humans who don’t have too much time to dedicate to our passion project these days. But this one was a pretty easy choice.
AN ORCHESTRATED AFFAIR
There is little that can go wrong in this seamlessly orchestrated affair. With six iconic chefs all under one roof making delicious, showcase tapas-style items from their restaurant, this year’s food offering showcased the landmark chefs of Cape Town’s current culinary scene. At the entrance, you are given a card with 6 icons on a card, and as you go around the restaurant stands, the icons are marked off and you get handed a bamboo boat of beautiful. There’s no money exchanged at the event, which is also refreshing and neatly streamlined as the ticket covers the whole shabang. And naturally, the chefs are some of the best the Cape has to offer. Think along the likes of Wesley Randles from the super popular Shortmarket Club and Chris Erasmus from Foliage. It’s one of the rare times all these talents are together in one space, and if you’re someone like us who wants to have it ALL, here’s your chance. We were particularly impressed with Thali’s vegetarian offering, and enamoured by Cape Malay-inspired dessert from the upcoming restaurant Upper Bloem.
THE THIRSTY THIRTY
That’s not even to mention the thirsty thirty hand-picked winemakers who come together to create an unrivalled tasting experience. You’ll be lucky to rub shoulders with celebrated greats like Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, Sadie Family Wines, David and Nadia Sadie, Luddite and AA Badenhorst pouring wine directly from their bottle to your glass. In general, there is an impressive roundup of pioneers of a new movement in winemaking – the renegades of the Western Cape’s wine industry. Like who you ask? Off the top of our head, think: Sijnn. Fram. JH Meyer and Mother Rock.Fable. Hogan Family Wines. Storm Wines. Restless River. Reyneke. And the list goes on, but not for too long. After all, the goal is for this to be do-able in an afternoon. And spittoons are provided – this is a classy affair folks, not to be misconstrued for a reason to get crunk on your Sunday. That said, live music and lush flowers fill the space with a festive, spring-like atmosphere, and the day happily lends itself to wine-fuelled babble and speak amongst friends and acquaintances.
NOT EASY ON THE POCKET, BUT GOOD FOR THE PALATE
The only down side is the rather high price point of over R790 per person. However, our suggestion is that if you really want to go, save up – it is truly a great access point for a selection of wines and chefs you are unlikely to find under one high-ceilinged roof at any other point in time. On top of that, the event is strictly capped at 500 tickets, meaning it isn’t an intense, hustle-bustle-push-and-rustle kind of experience. There is space to sit and enjoy your food, space to have a conversation, time to chat to the winemaker one-on-one and space to enjoy it. It’s probably one of the few times that the Old Biscuit Mill is this approachable (a flashback to 10 years ago when you could actually move around the market on the Saturday morning without being stuck in a stampede, Lion King-style).
As we walked away at closing time (5pm), there was little doubt in our minds that Noble Vice is one of our favourite wine and food events of the year. So the question stands: what’s your vice?
Ours is definitely Noble Vice.