Flavours of Knysna 2014

As part of my Knysna eating adventures, I was to sit on the judging panel for Flavours of Knysna - where the top restaurants in the area would each present a signature oyster dish - this year, taking the festival theme of 'naturally Knysna' into account.

Keeping in mind we went to judging straight from this lunch- the challenge was set. 12 dishes, to be judged on presentation, flavour and theme. One winner.

My personal favourite was ironically the first dish served to us - that from Conrad Pezula. : Bubbly poached Oyster, Pickled Porcini Mushroom, Potato and Amasi Foam and topped with Porcini Dust. It was a strange choice for me, as the thought of a cooked oyster normally has me running for the hills - but this was done so gently and respectfully - simply exquisite. They continued their winning streak of the best oysters I had through the entire festival. 

The combinations that we tasted varied - from passion fruit jelly, to curried oysters, oysters in pasta (hint, don't ever, ever do this) to oysters served with a mango margherita and grappa - the actual winner was Die Gieter, who served a smoked oyster pate, wrapped in seaweed with a crocodile centre. It was a delicious dish - the rich smokiness in particular, but personally, that was also its downfall. There was no way of telling what was smoked - it could have been snoek or salmon - the oyster didn't shine.

Regardless, with a combination of presentation, flavour and theme - it was the winner of the evening. It was a privilege to taste the chefs' creations - if ever you think I have an easy gig, try tasting 12 oyster dishes after a three course lunch. Goodness me.

Each restaurant also had a stand in the marquee - guests could buy tickets and then taste oysters from each stand - including burgers, soup and fish and chips - for the ridiculous price of R150 per person. Hands down the best value for money throughout the entire festival.


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