Aah summer. A good word that conjures up much good stuff, like holidays, Christmas and fun summer festivals. We take a look at a collection of fun photography taken at a recent festival, with some rather happy, insanely creative people.
The winelands already has its fair share of summer festivals, with tribes of tranceheads and rockers tripping and moshing in deep valleys on distant farms, but Littlegig has brought something quite different to the mix. It ticks all the boxes for partying, art and music, but adds a heavy emphasis on the taste buds. Rejecting the normal festival approach of treating food as an after-thought, Littlegig organisers put as much effort into their lineup of chefs as they do their bands and DJs. If grub is important to you, it’s a game-changer as far as festivals go.
In keeping with the festival’s forest setting, Chef Chris Erasmus of Foliage restaurant (listed in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants) was one of three chefs serving festival goers. An expert forager based in the celebrated foodie enclave of Franschhoek, Erasmus produced dishes that spoke of the land, fields and sea – like wild caught langoustine, lime and ginger koeksisters with charred corn and burnt cucumber salad. His dessert option was buchu and wild dagga (marijuana) marshmallows with honeycomb, charcoal beetroot and hazelnut rocks.
Lilley the baker, served up a Caprese Focaccia with local Buffalo Ridge mozzarella, marinated beef tomatoes and fresh basil, as well as a whey brine pastrami and a spicy tropical piccalilli sourdough sandwich.
Completing the trilogy of opening acts was the BBQ expert, PJ Vadas of The Hoghouse Barbeque who made smoked pork belly buns with hoisin pineapple kimchi and then an aged beef sirloin with ale pickled onions and watercress and sesame soy dressing.
Befitting a headline act, celebrated 25 year-old Danish chef prodigy Rasmus Munk flew in a day before the festival started. His brief was to make a 12-course dinner for 40 guests for the Saturday night at Littlegig, but he also threw in a couple of numbers for the rest of the festival-goers. For a man who trained at The Fat Duck and is used to serving 45 course meals to guests at his 15 seat restaurant Alchemist in Copenhagen, this was child’s play. His dishes included a lamb brain mousse and a photo-realistic leek and potato ash tray.
“We started using lamb brains at Alchemist about a year ago. Brains need to be used 24 hours after slaughter. We make a mousse, which is very similar to foie gras, but we make it with lemon thyme.”
Perhaps aiming to tap into the hedonism of festival-goers, Munk’s next dish, The Ash Tray, was inspired by his grandmother’s lung cancer. Served in an ash tray, it was made with different kinds of potatoes and caramelized leeks and dehydrated tomatoes cooked and designed to resemble a heaped pile of ash and glowing embers.
As unappealing as a dish to someone’s dead grandmother’s lung cancer sounds, it was the stand out dish of the festival. Dark, theatrical and challenging in appearance and concept yet undeniably delicious and layered, like any festival missed out on, there’s at least one of those “you had to be there” moments that cannot really be explained. This was it.
Words: Tudor Caradoc-Davis
Photography: Micky Hoyle