Debut Mzansi Food & Drink Show is a resounding success

by Tia

South Africans love all things food and drink as evidenced by the resounding success of the debut Mzansi Food & Drink Show which took place at the Kyalami International Convention Centre over the long weekend of 15 to 17 June that included Father’s Day (June 16) and Youth Day (June 17).

There were more than 250 vendors and exhibitors many of whom showcased the latest in food and kitchen trends. The three-day event featured six shows under the Mzansi Food & Drink Show umbrella – the Fire & Feast Meat Festival, the Coffee & Chocolate Expo, the Fine Food & Wine Show, the Bar & Good Spirits Showcase, the Mzansi Food Market and the Ring of Fire Chilli Festival.

Highlights of the show included the South African Chef of the Year 2024 regional cook-off which was won by Melusi Twala, who will now compete for The South African Chef of the Year 2024 title and the prestigious Presidents Cup, and a spectacular seven-course fine dining event hosted by SA Tourism for visiting international and local media.

Some of the country’s top chefs and cooks were in action including celebrity chef Lorna Maseko; Chef Aiden Pienaar, author of the best-selling cook book Mexico in Mzansi; Olympic culinary bronze winner Chef Pieter Malan and Chef Zana Alvarado, Vice Chair for the SA Chefs Gauteng Committee and a brand ambassador for WWF SASSI.

Ekurhuleni entrepreneur Thobile Sibeko says she was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to promote and create further awareness for her business Tobs Wraps when she was invited to be part of the Mzansi Food & Drink Show. Sibeko was included as an exhibitor as part of the organisers’ investment in women-owned businesses in the food sector, and she showcased her delicious and healthy wraps which have become a best-seller.

Urban Foods, Tiger Brands and Polofields Spar came on board as pantry sponsors while other big name exhibitors included Windhoek Beer, Amarula, Six Gun Grill, Roots Butchery and Egoli Gin.

Exhibitors and attendees were well pleased with the festival and gave positive feedback.

  • “It was a perfect Highveld winters’ day when I visited the Mzansi Food & Wine show on the Saturday it first opened. Teeming with people on the Kyalami Racetrack concourse they were  soaking up the atmosphere, the music and of course all the tastings of food and different wines. From the heat of the chilli section at one end which featured a large array of interesting sauces, spices, savouries – and even chilli sweets – there were tastings galore so impressive for the lovers of hot stuff, we raced off in search of something cool to dampen the heat and headed to the  large Windhoek Beer pavilion offering entertainment, food and, of course, ice cold beers.

It was a real treat.” – Hilary Biller, Sunday Times Food Editor.

  • “The Mzansi Food & Drink Show was an unforgettable three days of delicious food, amazing memories and most importantly, #100Real people. We’re proud to have hosted guests and vendors alike at the Windhoek Sip & Sit and Chef’s Table experiences, and we hope that our guests felt at home with us. Thank you Mzansi.” – Windhoek Beer.
  • “The event was phenomenal, well organised and I walked away with business opportunities from several visitors.” – Thobile Sibeko, owner and founder of Tobs Wraps.
  • “It was a lovely show and the coffee stands were great. I hope to see more artisanal chocolates and nougat next time.” – Neeta Raga-D, blogger, food writer and influencer.
  • “The Mzansi Food & Drink Show has set a strong foundation for future events, demonstrating the potential for a multifaceted food and beverage exhibition. The Barista Battle Royale, in particular, showed promise and can be developed further to become a flagship competition. This event, the first of its kind to host multiple shows simultaneously under one expansive venue, provided unique insights into audience engagement on a large scale.” – Quincy Hlongwane, organiser of the Barista Battle Royale Challenge.
  • “A huge thank you to the Mzansi Food & Drink Show for allowing us to think creatively and operate outside the norm. The show has set a new standard for all our events going forward.” – BraaiBoy (aka Gareth Daniell).

Says Hanli Goncalves, Portfolio Director of the Mzansi Food & Drink Show and RX Africa: “We’d like to thank all our sponsors, activation partners, exhibitors and – most importantly – the visitors who made this year’s debut show such a success. We want to ensure it becomes the most anticipated annual event of the year and a gastronomical experience for future years. We are already hard at work planning next year’s event!”

See The Mzansi Food & Drink Show website.

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