Ayama Wine Farm Slent Farm Cape Winelands, Slent Farm
Ayama Wines is on Slent Farm

Ayama Wine Farm will host their first Artichoke Festival in the Voor Paardeberg on Sunday, 14 October, 2018. The event is open to all #AyamaFantics with a love of good food and healthy artichokes cooked by the farm’s founder Attilio Dalpiaz, friends and Italian chefs.

What started off as a small project planting vegetables for the family’s personal use, Michela and Attilio Dalpiaz, the owners of Slent Farm, found that the slopes of Slent Farm provided the perfect conditions allowing full-blossomed fruit and vegetables to grow.

This saw the birth of the Ayama Market Place project, which offers a vegetable boutique where visitors can also learn how to harvest, clean, cook and preserve Italian food.

“When we first moved to South Africa, finding the perfect Italian flavours was a challenge,” explains Michela. “We took the bull by the horns and decided to plant our own.” The farm’s offering includes various kinds of wheat flours, olives and other seasonal vegetables in addition to the 65 hectares of vineyards used to produce Ayama Wines.

Slent Farm’s seasonal yield is the artichokes. What started as a joint venture with Italian restaurant owner, Giuseppe La Gattuta, the first harvest took place in 2016, producing high-quality artichokes is now an established project at Ayama.

Planted at end of January and harvested between August and October, 2018 marks the third harvest of Sicilian Artichokes at Slent Farm. Not only do artichokes carry a unique and distinct flavour, they also carry a number of health benefits which includes cancer prevention, aiding liver function, improved digestion and defence against cholesterol.

Ayama Artichoke Festival
Enjoy gorgeous artichokes at Ayama’s Artichoke Festival

Tips for preparing artichokes

Trim off any sharp leaf tips and the stem before cooking.
Open the leaves to allow for more effective cooking.
Whether you boil or steam your artichoke, you can tell it’s done when the petal near the centre pulls out easily.
Note: It is proper to eat artichoke with your fingers.
Artichokes can be served hot or cold. To eat, pull out the outer petals one at a time. Dip it in your favourite sauce and pull the leaves through your teeth, removing the soft pulpy portion.
Discard the remaining portion of the leaf. Continue until all the petals have been removed. Use a spoon, remove the fuzzy centre at the base, discard it. What remains is the edible heart of the artichoke.
When the artichokes are cut, they tend to become dark immediately as contact with the air oxidises them. To avoid this, prepare a large bowl containing water and lemon slices, soak the artichokes in the water as soon as you have cut them.
A good tip is to wash your hands with lemon juice to prevent them from becoming black.

Tickets are limited to 250 guests, and includes Fritella Di Carciofi, Caponata Di Carciofi, Carciofi Fritti, Pasta Sebisa and a tasting glass of Ayama Vermentino 2017.

Look out for more Ayama events!

What: Ayama Artichoke Festival in the Voor Paardeberg Cape, South Africa
When: Sunday, 14 October 2018, 11am – 5pm
Ayama Wine  Farm, Voor Paardeberg, Cape
Tickets: R250 adults, R 150 for children 7 – 11, http://ayamateca.co.za/product-category/from-vegetable-garden/
Bookings: http://ayamateca.co.za/product-category/from-vegetable-garden/