Baklava in Greece, injera in Ethiopia and bunny chows in Durban. There’s nothing like sampling a place’s food and drinks to create lasting memories of our travels. We go to restaurants, wineries and markets to find out what the locals love to eat, drink and celebrate with. And those of us who are among the growing number of consumers searching for meals that are organic, free range and ethical – meals that do not “cost the earth” – we find our happiness in cafés, craft breweries and bistros.

A recent speed marketing session at WTM Africa  showcased these gems that not only enhance travel itineraries but also look out for the well-being of local people and the planet.

Brownies & downies, Cape Town

From the outside, it may look like just another stylish Cape Town coffee shop.  Yet, Brownies & downieS is miles removed from ordinary.


Brownies & downieS Cape Town is a training centre for people with intellectual disabilities and a vessel to create change and acceptance in the South African culture. Special needs young adults are trained to be employable in the hospitality, service and retail sectors.  trainees and staff greet patrons with welcoming smiles and eagerness to serve. You can often see them jesting with each other, dancing, or making jokes amongst themselves and the patrons whilst going about their work.

The coffee shop is spacious and flooded with natural lighting.  It provides for a soothing and vibey atmosphere amongst the hustle and bustle of every-day life in Long Street.  One cannot help but to leave this extraordinary place with a warm feeling in your heart and renewed faith in the kindness of human beings.

Dear Me, Cape Town

Dear Me is an all-day brasserie, pantry and event space in the heart of Cape Town. Cosy and welcoming, it aims to accommodate many specific dietary requirements such as veganism, food intolerances and allergies, with a strong commitment to using local, ethical and sustainable produce as far as possible. Dear Me’s menu changes on a regular basis, and showcases artisanal methods and produce; special care is given to preserving as much nutrient value and flavour. The food menu presents the meal with a recommended wine pairing, and the drink menu includes a wonderful selection of freshly squeezed juices.

Our new sustainable planter boxes looking pretty in our windowsills.

Posted by Dear Me on Monday, 5 August 2013

Ingredients include free-range meat and eggs, sustainable seafood as green-listed by SASSI; only recyclable and bio-degradable packaging is used, and most of the waste is recycled.  Striving to reduce plastic, Dear Me doesn’t serve bottled water, but guests are provided with complimentary still or sparkling filtered water. For cold days, indulge in a hot cup of Fair Trade coffee or chocolate.

Fresh at Paul Cluver, Elgin

Start small. Stay local. Begin with what you know. And always involve the end user.

Fresh at Paul Cluver is passionate about offering an integrated, connected, humble dining experience. It makes intrinsic sense to us that guests are able to make a visceral, real connection with where their food comes from; that they are able to connect the dots of the tomatoes and aubergines on the vines in the garden & the wood-grilled aubergine and tomato garnish for the duck. Or the apples on the trees & the apple tart. Or the chickens and the perfect soft-boiled egg on the niçoise-style salad.

For us, this connection heightens not only the actual dining experience but also more deeply embeds the “seeds” we plant every day with each guest.  It is our continued desire that our guests are motivated, through their experience with us, to search out more sustainable ways in which to live their own lives.

An ever-changing menu is lead by the best of what is available from our magnificent gardens and from our trusted suppliers. We strive to offer beautiful food, which is simply prepared, in an informal and relaxed environment, affording a dining experience that is warm and uncomplicated, yet unforgettable. Food is our passion and we are committed to working with ingredients that are seasonal, sustainable and as far as possible, locally available.

Origin Coffee Roasting, Cape Town

From day one, our focus has been on developing a hub of coffee excellence that would service the whole of Africa – the continent where coffee was first grown and roasted.  And the continent that still provides some of the finest coffee beans known to man. At Origin you can indulge in the best coffee in the world, poured by African baristas, using beans roasted with pride in Africa.


Origin Coffee Roasting (c)

Spanning two streets and reaching three levels up, Origin’s headquarters in Cape Town’s De Waterkant holds an artisan roastery, a professional barista school, and a café serving ethically sourced food.

Artisan roasting differs from commercial roasting in that it is never done to a set formula. All of our green beans have been grown, harvested and processed by growers who have been selected for their immense passion and dedication to quality.  After being roasted to perfection, our coffees are available for tasting at Origin HQ, as well as at over 80 other venues and special events countrywide. Our wholesale clients include the finest restaurants, cafes, hotels, guest houses, and other establishments.

Pure Café, Greyton

Greyton Transition Town acknowledges two major issues about climate change – food security and intensive animal agriculture.  The World Watch report ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow’ found that 51% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture and its associated industries.  Using disproportionate amounts of water, land to grow crops and cutting back indigenous vegetation to feed animals instead of providing food directly to humans is causing food security problems worldwide.  GTT responds with a food security programme that encourages a move towards a plant-based diet.

GTT’s Pure Café sources locally grown, organic fruit and vegetables, buying in season, supporting local home bakers and food producers.  Pure Café holds regular plant-based cooking workshops for both paying guests and within the disadvantaged community.  The café lies at the centre of GTT’s food security programme which has helped school children create vegetable gardens in all six local schools plus two community gardens and inspired much private vegetable growing.


Pure Cafe, Greyton (c)

Saucisse Boutique Deli (Amanda Lewis), Cape Town

Amanda Lewis eats, sleeps and breathes food. She remembers helping her mother in the kitchen of their family home – the origin of her culinary fascination – so it was only natural that she would forge a career around her passion for food. After formalising things with a diploma from The Culinary Academy, she launched into an enviable foodie career – food-stylist, restaurant chef, private chef and currently, restaurant owner.  Inspired by the hands-on, family-run boulangeries and charcuteries she came across during her travels to Europe, Amanda opened Saucisse Boutique Deli in 2010 – proudly stocking and supporting local, artisanal producers.

Saucisse Deli

Saucisse Deli, Woodstock (c)

Five years on, the deli is still going strong. Amanda’s personal journey toward living more sustainably has manifested in the way that she runs her business. She has taken great inspiration from her two trips to Zambia where she headed NGO GreenPop’s energy-efficient, sustainable Bush Kitchen at their annual re-greening initiative. She has extended the reach of her sustainability endeavours across all areas of her business. Beyond using only local produce in the deli, she has adopted eco-conscious food wastage practices, sustainable packaging, recycling and earth-friendly cleaning regimes.

Spier, Stellenbosch

Spier offers eating experiences that are good for the planet and for the soul. We source local and natural ingredients – either from our farm, or from farmers who share our commitment to honesty and integrity. The result? Nourishing, natural and delicious food – whether it’s a picnic on the lawns, or tapas at Eight.

Fruit, vegetables and herbs are grown without chemical fertilisers, pesticides or artificial chemicals in the Spier Food Garden on the Werf and brought across the lawns to the kitchens at Eight, the Hoghouse Bakery & Café and Spier Hotel.

Spier’s Farmer Angus also supplies these outlets with pastured-reared meat and delicious eggs laid by happy hens that scratch around freely in Spier’s fields. Both the chickens and cattle are raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones.

The Larder, Cape Town

Sonja returned to Cape Town in 2011, leaving London to start her own café,  The Larder. When Block & Chisel approached her to create a dedicated in-store café she was living in London but made the immediate decision to return home.

Loving cafés with soul and places where you can feel right at home and be treated like an old friend, Sonja wanted to create a homely space – slippers and pantoffels are welcome, she says – offering the most delicious ingredients for your plate from local producers who are passionate about their products and what they do.


The Larder, Cape Town (c)

Proudly working with the seasons, the Larder’s menu changes depending on what carefully chosen farmers are harvesting and only using local and free-range, pasture-reared meats.

The food is real and honest and made on site. And naturally, with good food comes good coffee, always. Sonja doesn’t stop there: she can fill your freezer with homemade meals and treats, as well as offering a catering service.

The UpCycle Project, Cape Town

We care about food. We care about people. We feel that the respect for food is not where it maybe should be, and the waste of good, healthy food is a detriment not only to the environment through release of harmful methane gasses, but more importantly that whatever is thrown out and is still in a condition worthy of human consumption, then it should be used for human consumption! Far too many people today live in a state of chronic hunger, in this system that teaches us that natural food can or should be governed by labels & markets.


UpCycle Project (c)

The non-profit that aims to ‘intercept’ as much wasted food as possible and feed it to the underprivileged who don’t necessarily have direct access to food and adequate nutrition.  Through various ways & means, we are steadily formulating exciting and novel methods for the effective interception, preparation, and delivery of the wasted food to those that need it most.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get out there and support these eateries that make the world a kinder, better place.

Images:  Supplied by and copyright of individual eateries.

About the WTM Africa and the organisers:

About World Travel Market Africa
WTM Africa in Cape Town, South Africa attracts more than 3,000 of the most senior executives interested in the African travel industry. US$ 333 million new business was conducted at the event in 2015 between 572 exhibitors and197 hosted buyers and 418 Buyers Club Members, thanks in part to 7,600 pre-scheduled business appointments.

WTM Africa is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s WTM Portfolio of events, which also includes World Travel Market, Arabian Travel Market and World Travel Market Africa.

WTM Africa is the only tourism trade show in South Africa that has a dedicated programme of seminars and events that focus on responsible tourism.  The WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Programme is jointly organised by the Responsible Tourism Partnership and Better Tourism Africa. Browse the 2016 programme and presentations here.

The Conscious Cuisine session was organised by Better Tourism Africa, Eco Atlas, The Longtable Project and The Private Hotel School. Contact Heidi van der Watt at for more information.

Eco Atlas

Eco Atlas Ethical DirectoryEco Atlas empowers you to make better lifestyle and travel choices for the planet, your family, your business and yourself. South Africa’s all-inclusive ethical platform provides a unique search function which enables you to find places to eat, shop, stay and play according to the priorities that are important to you as a responsible traveller and conscious consumer. Food choices are integral to effecting better impacts on both people and planet and Eco Atlas allows you to specifically search for free range, local, organic, fair trade and empowerment focussed eating establishments in South Africa.

Long Table Project

Long Table ProjectLongtable Project is a social enterprise inspired by the desire to create a space that will support the Cape town restaurant industry to collaborate and become more sustainable in sourcing food, using resources and connecting with the community.

Longtable Project has been running Better Menu workshops with our founder members to support a progressive move towards a more sustainable food industry in Cape Town and identify opportunities to communicate these changes. Better menus contribute to sustainable diets within restaurants. They also influence consumers and support and contribute to alternative food systems.

A menu is devised by chefs and restaurateur to satisfy customers and produce revenue for  the establishment. A better menu will meet these objectives and help reduce environmental impacts while supporting the people who contribute to the production of the menu as farmers, producers, staff and communities.

The Private Hotel School

The Private Hotel School New LogoThe Private Hotel School (Pty) Ltd., is registered with The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and Council for Higher Education (CHE) as a private higher education institution under the Higher Education Act 1997 (registration certificate No. 2010/HE07/005). Since 2009 The Private Hotel School is located at a dedicated campus in the Vlottenburg Hamlet in Stellenbosch. Facilities include an auditorium, conference rooms, lecture rooms, a fully operational restaurant, training kitchen lab, food and beverage training area, library, computer lab, student lounge, offices and a beautiful early 1900s student house with spacious well-appointed rooms.  33 Dine hosts an on-campus cafeteria and is the perfect venue for functions, weddings and conferences where students can obtain work-integrated learning opportunities.