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Foodies drive gourmet market boom in S. Africa

[ 2012-02-29 10:59]     字号 [] [] []  
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The crush of people inches past the tables of slow-brewed coffee, homemade ice-cream rippled with fennel pollen and peach swirls.

The former Cape Town biscuit factory, reworked into a shabby-chic urban setting, is just one of the gourmet markets that have popped up in South Africa for foodies seeking handcrafted goods over mass-produced products.

"There's been an explosion of markets taking place, not only in Cape Town but around the country people are jumping into the idea," said Cameron Munro of the buzzing Neighborgoods Market which opened six years ago.

The decidedly hip market draws up to 5,000 people every Saturday and expanded last year to Johannesburg with similar weekend fetes across Africa's biggest economy offering an alternative to the supermarket shelves.

"We were totally blown away by the response that Cape Town gave us," said Munro whose market has sparked a knock-on of galleries, delis and vintage shops in its gritty location.

South Africa's passion for fast food and shopping malls still dwarves the trend toward Finnish-rye bread or slow-fermented beer with orange peel and coriander, despite a push by big retailers toward organic foods.

But it's become an important trend within South Africa's $34.8 billion food and drinks-making industry. Local analysis company Flux Trends named the artisanal eater as one of its top 10 trends for 2012. People want things that are simpler, slower, purer and have a bit of personality in a plugged-in digital world, said Johannesburg-based trend forecaster Dion Chang, adding that shoppers are becoming more ethical about what they eat.

"It's not one or the other because word about these artisanal markets, or organic markets or food markets, rely on social media so your online and offline is going to live very happily together," said Chang.

But while the artisanal push reflects a desire to bounce out of the cyber world, social media plays a key role in what Flux Trends says is "a sense of global nostalgia for idyllic rural life".

Twitter, Facebook, blogs and websites are used for flavor updates, give-aways, date reminders and to post photos and videos.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Foodies drive gourmet market boom in S. Africa

About the broadcaster:

Foodies drive gourmet market boom in S. Africa

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.