The artichoke offers a one-of-a-kind epicurean experience. A culinary delicacy since the time of ancient Rome, the giant flower bud makes a wonderfully healthy and flavourful addition to one’s plate.

Delighting in this vegetable’s huge appeal, Ayama Wine Farm hosted their first Artichoke Festival in the Voor Paardeberg on Sunday, 14 October. Hosted by Slent Farm’s Michela and Attilio Dalpiaz, the owners of Ayama Wines, the event put the spotlight on the farm’s production of high-quality artichokes. Celebrating their first harvest in 2016, in what started as a joint venture with Italian restaurateur Giuseppe La Gattuta, 2018 now marks the third harvest of Sicilian artichokes at Slent Farm.

Taking centre stage at this festive family day in the Cape winelands was the farm’s ‘artichoke of aristocrats’ - Violetta. Attilio explains, “In Italy there are hundreds of local varieties. Italy is the biggest artichoke producer it the world, and every region has its own variety. In South Africa the globe variety is the most common, but at Ayama we grow Violetta artichokes from Sicily.”

The artichoke is a versatile and delicious vegetable that is widely appreciated in many culinary traditions, but for the uninitiated it can still be a slightly daunting vegetable. With its distinctive mild flavour, its light taste is often likened to celery, or asparagus with a slightly lemony taste.  

Mouth-watering Violetta has its own specific allure: “This one is quite sweet, whereas in Italy it’s not so sweet. I think the climate and soil here make the artichokes sweeter,” adds Attilio. The best way to enjoy the farm’s harvest is with Ayama Wines’ South African Vermentino, from the vines of Vermentino di Gallura. “Bubbly works with artichokes because they can give you a metallic taste, but Vermentino is good for the palate.”

Guests at The Artichoke Festival were treated to a tasting glass of Ayama Vermentino 2017, paired with Caponata Di Carciofi – usually served with eggplant, but here featuring artichokes with onion, olives celery and capers; Pasta Sebisa with ricotta and pecorino cheese; Carciofi Fritti deep fried artichokes; and Frittella Di Carciofi with artichokes, garlic, broad beans and peas.

With Ayama’s Tasting Room, Ayamateca Farm Store, tractor rides and marquees overlooking the valley, The Artichoke Festival provided a wonderful experience of the Voor Paardeberg area. Following the showcase of this gourmet delicacy will be Slent Farm’s A Taste of Italy N.1 celebration on 28 October 2018, from 10:00 - 16:00. The day will highlight the Dalpiaz’s passion for good wine with a special Italian Ayamateca collection tasting.

Grappa and coffee will close the tasting of Italian wines and food. Special Masters of Ceremonies will lead the tasting and inform on the wines and Grappa.

R550,00 all inclusive. Limited to 50 people.

For more information, contact: +27 (0)21 8698313,, see

Jade Allen