Quieter festival dining option

Some of the students who will be staffing the Bistro at the Hilton Arts Festival. Picture by Kate Martens

THE Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College, from September 15 to 17, will offer a range of dining options for festivalgoers again this year.

There will be much from which to choose – from fabulous Steam Punk coffee, to unhurried Bistro dining with gentle music, to the lively Castle Lite SAB Beer tent with a myriad food stall options and live music, to interesting healthy vegetarian fare.

“Food and the festival go hand in hand,” says festival director Sue Clarence. “We continually reinvent our food selection and dining themes to include new options and culinary service providers.

“This year we are particularly delighted that Jackie Cameron is taking over the Bistro area to offer a full bar, interesting food and live music. It will close when the last customer leaves.”

The Hilton Arts Festival aims to offer an all-encompassing festival experience – so not only is what happens inside theatre venues a priority, but what happens outside the formal programme is important as well. To this end, the festival selection of art, crafts and food are being constantly reconsidered and repositioned to ensure a fresh new look every year.

“The Castle Lite SAB Festival Marquee – commonly referred to as the Beer Tent – is highly popular and serves as a great hub of the festival. This will continue as normal with a stage featuring a selection of bands and upbeat live music that festinos love,’ explains Sue.

Midlands-born chef Jackie Cameron will run the new Bistro at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival in September.

“However, the time has come for a quieter, more sedate spot with a ‘wine bar and jazz’ type feel. Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, based in Hilton, whose food has become a sensation in its own right, has taken on the challenge.

“The Bistro, a fully licensed eatery with gentle live music that allows conversation, will be within the Crookes Block. Fabulous Terbodore Coffee will also be part of the Bistro complex.

“For those not in the know, this is the courtyard that overlooks the Amphitheatre and the Chapel. It will be weatherproof, warm and friendly, and will offer a range of more select foods,” adds Sue.

Midlands-born Jackie Cameron and her team of 12 culinary students will be resident throughout the festival.

Cameron’s Hilton brief is threefold: to give the students hands-on real-time valuable experience; to have an opportunity for Cameron to showcase her favourite dishes and suppliers; and to feed festival guests with beautiful, quality food to keep them warm.

Cameron has set a challenge to her students: they will be given key ingredients such as eggs, flour and the like, and be encouraged to be creative in providing dishes with these ingredients as focal points.

So those students who have eggs as their ingredients may choose to offer an all-day breakfast menu; those with flour will be creative with cakes, baked- goods and tea time treats, etc.

Cameron is delighted to be paired with Midlands Free Range Eggs who will be providing their farm fresh eggs for this project. Also on board are Champagne Valley Stonemill Flour, Oryx Salt, Blue Orange Chickens and Gourmet Greek.

There will be two live music options for diners to enjoy some live vibes while they eat and drink: The Bistro will have a full line-up of schmoozey music. It will feature Rowan Stuart,  Beat-Route, George Mari and John Ellis, among others.

The Beer Tent stage will feature The Bifocals, the much-loved Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters, and a drumline and jazz band.

Yummy fare headed for the Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College.

Scattered on the campus at regular intervals will be a selection of refreshment stations for easy bites in-between shows. Festival newcomer, the Midlands’s own Steam Punk coffee, will be percolating their own signature brew, and other coffee options will also be available on campus.

Out to Lunch – the cosy, distinctive, painted, fairy-lit caravan – will offer wholesome and healthy vegetarian options; and in the Beer Tent food stalls will offer eats from pizzas to curry, pancakes to burgers. Many of these stalls are run by volunteers from Midlands and Maritzburg charities, and NGOs, as part of their fund-raising initiatives.

The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Times Media Group, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee, DWR, PWC,  Bidvest Car Rental, Indwe Risk Services, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi, Redlands Hotel,  Zultrans, KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, BASA,  Castle Lite, Maritzburg Sun and Caxton.

For more information visit www.hiltonfestival.co.za or contact the festival office at (033) 383 0127.




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