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I had such a fun Saturday at an Artisan Bread Baking workshop with Woolworths TASTE magazine and Glacier by Sanlam. Three brilliant local artisan food-producers were invited to come and tell us about their craft and let us sample some of their wares: Master Backer Graeme Taute, the Standeaven Brewery and Chick and Bob’s Charcuterie. This was the first time the workshop has been held in Durban and it was such a success that TASTE has promised to host some more in the future, so I would recommend keeping your eyes peeled and signing up for the next one as soon as you can as this one was sold out in three days. It’s such a treat for Durban to have these kinds of events and I was so grateful to have been able to attend. The best way to find out about the workshops is obviously to buy TASTE magazine and also to sign up for their newsletter by clicking here

Let me tell you a bit more about it before you rush off to the TASTE website, though!

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Our tutor in the fine art of bread baking was Graeme Taute, a master baker whose breads are enormously popular at the Karkloof and Shongweni Farmers markets. He proved to be as good a raconteur as he is a baker, regaling us with anecdotes about bread making and describing the “dramatic” processes in colourful terms which kept us engrossed and entertained as our dough was resting in between stages. Lots of laughter was enjoyed by all as we stretched and folded and kneaded (there was a lot less kneading that you might expect) and I felt quite proud as I left my little loaf to be baked.

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The second half of the morning was spent tasting beer and sausages. Now, I must admit that I am not a beer drinker at the best of times, let alone on a Saturday morning but I was most pleasantly surprised at the fact that the beers provided by the Standeaven Brewery were quite drinkable and there was a Cranberry beer which was a revelation – a delicious, delicate drink that I will definitely seek out again. I will also be making an effort to get hold of Chuck and Bob’s sausages soon. I particularly enjoyed a tasty English Breakfast sausage. Shaun from Standeaven and Simon from Chuck and Bob’s both gave us great insight into their creative processes and told us why they do things the way they do which made tasting their produce even more enjoyable. To find out more about The Standeaven Brewery, visit www.thestandeavenbrewery.co.za and find Chuck and Bob’s at www.chuckandbobs.com. Both businesses do stock local supermarkets so look out for their products.

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After the second session we were treated to starters so good-looking they seemed straight off the pages of TASTE at La Storia restaurant which is adjacent to the International Hotel School which was our venue for the day. Platters of gorgeous bread, meats and cheese nestled in verdant green rocket were polished off and we all enjoyed the experience of lining up to receive our main course from Afro*s Braai’d Chick’n which was delish! The sweet ending to a delicious day was creme brulee from La Storia.

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Throughout the day, we had been encouraged to tweet using the hashtag #tasteglacier and there were prizes for the most tweets and tweet of the day. The best loaves also won their bakers great prizes and the winners were delighted. The rest of us did not leave empty handed, though. We were each given a truly fabulous gift bag to take home. A genius touch was providing us with goodies to go with our bread for dinner that evening. How lovely it was to have dinner sorted after a busy day and to know that I had baked the bread we were having was a really good feeling. My hubby was extremely impressed with my talents as a baker and devoured my bread with relish. Obviously, he is already asking for more, and as I now know that baking bread is a simple, rewarding process I will certainly be stretching and folding again this weekend.

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The day was sponsored by Glacier by Sanlam, which seems a rather odd match for bread-baking, doesn’t it? In their own words, it’s a match made in heaven though: “We like to think that, like a master bread maker, we at Glacier are calm, patient and experienced – and can transform the ordinary to the extraordinary. Our financial services take international best practices and diverse financial solutions and blend them into a world-class wealth-creation and preservation offering.” I like companies that think outside the box and found it interesting to hear more about Glacier. If you would like to know more, as I did, see the Glacier website www.glacier.co.za Thank you so much again to TASTE and Glacier for inviting me – the day was as professional as it was enjoyable and I will be the first in line to sign up for your next Durban workshop!

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