Wild Cinema, South Africa

IN

Our South African team and 70 invited guests got together in Cape Town last month for an outdoor screening of our Wild – A State of Mind mini films series. It had been a day of gale force winds which thankfully quieted down towards evening. It is Spring there; the season, if you are a forager, that is “all flowers”.  Almost to the week, it is the same time of year that we were there for the making of one of the films in the series with Roushanna Gray

The setting for the screening was the amphitheatre in the gardens of the Norval Foundation, an arts museum with a leading C20th South African collection focused on increasing accessibility. Sitting between Cape Point and Tokai, in a suburb of Cape Town, the hills that can be seen in the background there are a part of Ou Kaapse Weg, of which The Silvermine Nature Reserve is a part. It’s where the road rises out of the metropolis, towards the open country and dramatic coastlines of the Southern Cape. It’s a road we got to know well when filming, as it’s the way to Goodhope Garden Nurseries, Roushanna’s home and wellspring.

Pelargonium season

A specially created menu of original snacks, and drinks inspired by edible flowers and local flavours

Roushanna is an independent and artistically talented person, who taught herself about the plants that surround her so as to be able to use them in her cooking. So it was fitting that while the audience watched her on the big screen, they snacked on popcorn flavoured with foraged ‘buchu’ salt, made from the aromatic herb family indigenous to the fynbos, and adorned their drinks with a beautiful array of edible local flowers. A specially created menu using produce from the garden by Skotnes at the Norval included stuffed Nasturtium “dolmades”, seared beef in num num berry paste, pine-needle salt cured market fish,  tomato & Botanist Gin consume, and wild sage & white chocolate cookies.

Two seasonal cocktails were created by our own Caitlin Hill and team. ‘Flower Power’ comprised Botanist Gin, lemon juice, basil, pelargonium and foraged flower syrup. ‘Lemon Rosa’ comprised Botanist gin, lime, and wild soda (made of lemon pelargonium, lemongrass, rose, and hibiscus). G&T’s were served with a choice of tonic by local company Chincona. Garnishes foraged by Roushanna for the occasion included nasturtiums, cornflowers, a range of pelargonium varietals (rose, peppermint, nutmeg, lemon), wild dagga, confetti bush, Kapokbos, Spekbom, and Searsia pendulinam, a tree in the mango family.

Ice balls/spheres were made for the evening’s refreshments which had foraged pelargonium (leaves and flowers) frozen into them… “a treat for the eyes!” says Caitlin. Musical entertainment was provided by Acoustic Elements.

Roushanna and fellow foragers hit the big screen

The stars of the short films have come to us from literally the four corners of the world. They all have different educational and social backgrounds and found their own ways into closer contact with wild plants and flavours. Roushanna has worked with us in South Africa since 2015. She, husband Tom, and friend Megan, with whom she co-founded Five for Fynbos, were among the audience of media, bar professionals, influential types, and members of our South African office who were treated to this atmospheric screening. At the end of the evening, they were all presented with Botanist picnic blankets created from recycled plastic bottles, designed, in Caitlin Hill’s words, “to encourage them to get out into the wild ;) ”

It’s our sincerest hope that, experienced in this sort of context, the evocative stories in the Wild Film Series have the power to do just that.

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