Given that the majority of South Africans like nothing more than a rump steak, lamb chop, chicken kebab or piece of boerewors done to perfection on the braai, it’s no wonder that the Fire & Feast Festival has has been a popular food attraction in Gauteng.

Held in Johannesburg since 2017 (except when Covid came along), this annual event is a fusion of celebrity chefs, foodies, braai masters, butchers and industry experts showing off their skills and imparting their knowledge and experience.

It’s the quintessential, proudly South African tribute to all things meat, and showcases the hottest products from braai equipment to carving knives as well as the latest sauces, spices, rubs and marinades that turn even the plainest piece of steak into something truly delicious.

The good news is that it’s not only back this year but promises to be better and bigger than ever before following an announcement by the organisers that it will be incorporated into The Mzansi Food & Drink Show which will take place from June 15 to 17 at the Kyalami Convention Centre.

Set to be South Africa’s biggest culinary extravaganza, The Mzansi Food & Drink Show is the brainchild of RX Africa, the company behind some of the country’s premiere events, including Decorex JHB, Comic Con Africa, Africa Travel Week and FAME Week Africa.

In addition to the inclusion of Fire & Feast, the Mzansi Food & Drink Show will also incorporate the successful Coffee & Chocolate Expo, which has previously been held as a separate event, as well as new additions Fine Food & WineBar & Good Spirits and the Mzansi Food Market. In essence, five different shows all under one roof and held over a long weekend that includes Youth Day and Father’s Day.

Says Hanli Goncalves, Portfolio Director of the Mzansi Food & Drink Show: “Visitors to the show will be able to enjoy food and drink tastings, cooking demos, masterclasses, special offers and a marketplace filled with gastronomic delights. It promises to be a fun-filled event, catering for the whole family.

“In particular, the Fire & Feast Festival will be the perfect occasion for the lads and dads to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, June 16 with all things outdoor, meat and braai.”

And while there has been an increase in publicity around the health benefits of adopting a plant-based diet, the World Health Organisation cites that meat provides a number of essential nutrients that when consumed in moderation has a place in a healthy diet. The many essential nutrients found in meat include high quality protein, highly bioavailable iron and zinc, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and vitamins B6 and B12.

Further, a recent study out of Canada (Plant versus Animal Protein Foods. Why the Debate?) reports that meat provides high nutritional quality with all nine indispensable amino acids in proportions that closely match human needs, whereas plant proteins tend to have a limited amount of one or more of the indispensable (essential) amino acids. Further, it found that many plant-based proteins, particularly nuts, seeds and legumes, do not meet the conditions for any protein claim (e.g., excellent, high, source, contains) and cannot be referred to as “protein-rich” foods.

The study also discovered that plant-based protein sources are less protein-dense per serving and calorie contribution, so a 75g serving of beef has 28g of protein at 184 calories. To get this same amount of protein, you would need to eat around seven tablespoons of peanut butter at 644 calories! Two further benefits of eating were cited as being the absorption of the essential minerals iron and zinc is superior from meat compared to absorption from plant sources and meat enhances the absorption of iron from vegetable, grain and pulse sources, a phenomenon called the “meat factor”.

All of which means eating a balanced diet of meat and vegetables is as healthy a lifestyle as you can get so every reason to attend the Fire & Feast element of The Mzansi Food & Drink Show.

The line-up of Fire & Feast participants already confirmed include Braai Broekies (braai shorts made from cotton dishcloths!), Crown National/Six Gun Spice, Morgan Beef, Roots Butchery, Minnies, Roots Butchery, Williams Spice, Wildekraanz Wine Estate, Nuts about Nuts and Roots Taste of Madeira with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Mzansi Food & Drink Show

Kyalami Convention Centre

  • Saturday, 15 June, from 09h00 to 18h00
  • Sunday, 16 June (Youth Day and Father’s Day) from 09h00 to 18h00
  • Monday, 17 June from 09h00 to 17h00

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