There are festivals, and then there are festivals. In Germany, you celebrate with beer, in France with wine. Trust the English to come up with a Yorkshire Pudding Festival and the Spanish with a Tomato festival – a real messy mass tomato fight in the streets of Bunol, Valencia.

While on the topic of food, although not as messy as squashed tomatoes against your forehead, ever heard of the Hantam Meat Festival in the small town of Calvinia? It is paradise for any meat lover. At the festival – which took place from 30-31 August 2019 in the heart of the Hantam district you can buy meat, taste it, “braai” (barbeque) it and then there will be enough left over to take home with you. Traditional dishes such as skaapkop and skaapstertjies are all part of a menu of meat dishes suited for everyone’s taste.

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It is a typical small Karoo town festival where there are lots to do and see and where the local community make sure you have the time of your life. From vintage cars, farm products and more meat products, to “langarm-sokkie” (dance) on the tunes of the Klipwerf orkes (band), a strong man competition and the cherry on top: Riel dancers – traditional dancers doing an energetic dance with fast feet in a circle – kicking up a lot of dust: a skillful dance that is mastered by only a few of the local Calvinians.

Although the recent drought might have a slight influence on the typical “veld” (field) taste of the meat, sheep farmers here believe the taste of their meat is superior. “It might not be what the doctor prescribed, but there is nothing as tasty as a piece of real fatty Karoo lamb chops,” said one of the visitors at this year’s festival.

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Hopefully, the meat cravings have been satisfied for now, although the word had it that the organisers are already working on an even better, bigger and meatier Hantam Meat Festival for 2020. Not to be missed!

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