Hermanus has applied to become South Africa’s first Unesco City of Gastronomy.
The bid is led by former head of Afrikaans at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Darryl David, who believes the town has the potential to win. In 2017, he also led the bid which garnered the status of South Africa’s first Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) City of Literature to Durban.
According to David, this is where the bug first bit, and then he decided to tackle gastronomy. He said the first three towns that came to mind were Stellenbosch, Paarl and Hermanus, but decided the latter is the perfect candidate for its wide variety of food, wine and scenic beauty, “even on a cloudy day”. He added that if Hermanus were to win, it would be a first for this Unesco status for the African continent, joining other gastronomy cities San Antonio in Texas, USA and Phuket in Thailand, among others.
David explained that Hermanus ticks many of the boxes that qualify a city or town to apply to be a Unesco City of Gastronomy. The United Nations agency does not only want cities with fine restaurants but also regions with a rich agricultural heritage. “Hermanus is a city on the rise in terms of culinary heritage, and has a great tourism impact,” David said. According to Frieda Lloyd, Whale Coast Tourism Manager, recognition as a Creative City of Gastronomy integrates Hermanus’s culinary element with other local tourism focuses, such as arts, adventure and nature. She said: “Becoming part of the Unesco network provides an opportunity to leverage international cooperation.
“We have so much to offer and want to share our gems with the international audience considering sustainable holiday options. For those privileged to live here prepare the menu with the best of what the world offers”
Carolyn Martin, co-owner of Creation Wines, says Hermanus offers much to see, with great attractions. “We have Whale Watching, great food and the Hermanus wine route with its spectacular beauty and diversity,” she said. Martin explained that in combining the dedication of local farmers with the highest quality standards, with the imaginative foraging of ingredients indigenous to the area “We believe that Hermanus offers the finest, most varied and creative gastronomic experiences in the country”. The announcement is due to be made in the first or second week of November.