For me nothing spells a romantic evening quite like good food, a wonderful movie and of course melt in your mouth chocolate and it was just such ingredients that made up the opening night of the Plett Food and Film Festival. It was a gorgeous evening with a wonderful vibe as people gathered around Karen Dudley’s table covered in a variety of delicious ingredients allowing us a peek into what a lunch time stop at The Kitchen, Karen’s own restaurant in Woodstock Cape Town, would look like. An incredible women with a passionate love for both food and people, she had the crowd enthralled with her stories of past taste experiences and the different things that have inspired her on her own food journey. Having been a huge fan of Karen’s since the release of her first cookbook I was incredibly moved by the depth of passion and love I heard in her opening speech. She had me laughing along with her as she recounted family memories and tearing up when she shared how she had cried over her first meal in Istanbul because she had come to realize she would never taste this again. It was awe inspiring to hear such a love for food and life.
A few lucky audience members, myself included, even had the opportunity to join Karen on stage where through a series of question and suggestions Karen would build a plate for the person picking from the many bits and pieces found on her table. This was a demonstration of a truth she had shared with the audience earlier on in the evening which simply put is- If you really want to get to know someone…find out what they like to eat! And speaking from my own plating experience, she got me spot on and I thoroughly enjoyed snacking on my plate….her hummus being the most divine I have tasted…I even took my fingers to the plate to make sure I had every morsel…truly a knee weakening experience.
The film of the night was a delightful French film by the name of Les Emotifs Anonymes. The story of a chocolate factory owner with a fear of everything and a timid but gifted chocolate maker who find love in a Small French chocolate factory, this film was beautifully crafted and had the audience captured from the first scene. We laughed, cheered, believed, struggled and loved with the characters and sat wishing for even the smallest taste of the chocolate so loving produced in the film. A movie about love conquering all…even the worst cases of social awkwardness it left all smiling. As someone who suffers from her own varying degree of social awkwardness and also a hopeless romantic at heart I was transported and was incredibly touched and challenged by this light hearted but serious film. I left the theater giddy with happiness, which always happens after I witness a happy ending, only to realize the best part of the evening must truly have been left for last!
While we had all sat happily enjoying our glorious film the White House Team had been hard at work transforming the outside patio into a wonderland. Warm candle light set everything a glow as tables of delicious deserts were presented to us. The soft sounds of an accordion playing music from the film filled the room as people buzzed around the various treats on offer. The Hot Chocolate Cafe had a truffle selection to die for with incredible flavors such as Champagne and Dark Chocolate Whiskey. The White House presented a selection of the most picture perfect cakes as well as many chocolaty delights and if neither of these tickled your fancy then you could always have an ice cream at the Ice Cream Stand run by the wonderful team from Ice Cream Plazo. It truly was the most perfect end to such an incredibly beautiful and romantic evening! I sampled as much as I could and everything was exquisite. A truly decadent experience. If this is only the start my heart truly cannot wait to experience Tuesday nights film and see what the amazing team from Plett Tourism has lined up for us then.
Written by Olivia Lederle, photos by Sharyn Hodges.