About Cape Treasures
Cape Treasures is a brand of Turqle Trading and Turqle has been exporting fair and ethical foods from South Africa since 1997. Up to 2009, Turqle only worked with private label, fair trading customers - it means all the Turqle products that were sold in Europe, the USA and Australia went out under the labels of our fair trading partners.
In 2009 Turqle launched its own label - Cape Treasures - a brand that would be a 'good food story' first, with a solid fair trading backstory. In all things Cape Treasures, good taste leads.
There wasn't a classic "light bulb moment" that launched Cape Treasures... It was a gradual realisation that we have some of the best products in the world right here, in our kitchens and on our development shelves; that our producers have treasured recipes (the ones they would rescue from a fire!) - recipes that have been around a long time - flavours that have been charming guests for years... In other words, the best of our best. The producers love making them (one can taste the difference!) and people enjoy eating them - so we set about creating a home for the treasures.
Most of the Cape Treasures products are largely made by hand - yes, they come out of factories with international food safety protocols in place, but they are still remarkably labour intensive. Production is limited to availablity of fresh raw materials - when the gooseberries or red peppers are finished, they're finished - until next season...
Cape Treasures are not cheap... but we would not want them to be: the quality of the ingredients, the 'people-power' in the process, the relatively limited production capacity and the fair trading roots is not a 'budget' story... but the 'home-made' flavour and wholesome goodness are worth it (not to mention the great 'people story').
Isn't it wonderful to know the products were made to be enjoyed by people who enjoyed making them?
Who make the products?
The MUSTARDS are made by Nantekara in Wellington. They first started experimenting with semi-grain mustards more than 20 years ago and in a short time perfected a technique that yields a table mustard that is popular in Europe - there are even fans in countries like Germany, where they have a well established mustard culture of their own.
SMOKED OLIVE OIL story is a wonderful tale of cooperation. In a very short time after Aphro Shack (which is on the banks of the Theewaterskloof Dam near Villiersdorp), started supplying Cape Treasures with smoked olive oil, it became clear that while they could keep up with smoking the oil, procuring the bulk oil and bottling it was beyond the capacity of their little smoke-house. Just for a start, the road leading down to the smokehouse is so steep and so narrow, no large delivery trucks can make it down the hill (without running the risk of landing up in the dam!).
So - these days the folks at Aphro Shack do what they do best - smoke the oil - and cold smoking is in the realms of the mystic culinary arts - it all happens by 'feel' and instinct (cold smoking done 'by the book' is a guarantee that it will all go wrong). The oil is 'carried' in, in 25liter drums - and the bottling and labeling and paletising and shipping happens from Nantekara where there is plenty of space to load the large shipping containers...
SMOKED SEASONING and RELISHES are made by Fynbos Foods near Malmesbury in the Swartland.
There is a very special energy in products that are made by the people who grew the ingredients and constructed the recipes. The peppers in Smoked Seasoning are grown, dried and smoked within meters of where it is eventually bottled. The same for the relishes. Perhaps it is the rich soil of the Swartland - perhaps its the heat and the sunshine and the clean air... the peppers grow redder, tastier and bigger than anywhere else... so do the aubergines and tomatoes and basil.
The Fynbos people take special pride in making products that are packed with the 'good stuff' - they do not add fillers or preservatives or colourants - every product is pure vegetable goodness through and through.
HAND HARVESTED SEA SALT comes from Khoisan Natural Salt, which is near Veldrift on the Cape West Coast - about 140km from Cape Town.
Created by the sun and wind, this is salt the way its been since the time of the first people - perfect crystals of pure Atlantic sea water.
At the salt pans, the area is vast - the horizons stretch into eternity - and mostly its just the sea and the sky and the salt pans. The air is so clean here, people feel revitalised just breathing - on windless days, the silence is so complete, one can hear the salt crackle as the crystals form and settle. There is nothing 'instant' in the process - the salt only forms when the conditions are right.
After harvesting, the process is remarkably simple: cleaning, sieving (to sort the large from the small and the fine grains), picking (to remove any bits of stone and shell that might have passed the sieves). There are no harsh mechanical processes : high heat drying ovens, crushing and grinding that destroys the natural sea minerals - each crystal stays just as it was formed: pure, perfect and complete.
FRUIT INFUSED BALSAMIC VINEGAR REDUCTIONS and FAIRTRADE RED WINE VINEGAR is made at the Speciality Division of Instant Trading in Somerset West.
Developing the first Fruit Infused Balsamic Vinegar Reductions was an act of pure love for food and good taste - and the energy that went into the very first bottles is still there today. Perhaps its in the great care that has to be taken to choose the ingredients; perhaps its in the process of 'infusing' and 'reducing' - it takes great skill and careful judgement to get it just right, every time.
There is a timelesness - a truth beyond the food fads - of the role of vinegar in good food and classic cooking. A really good wine vinegar is often one of the 'secret' ingredients great chefs use to balance a flavour, create an accent or layer the taste experience in a dish.
Great vinegar is made from good wine - there is no other way - the vinegar will always reflect its origins. Cape Treasures Red Wine Vinegar was made from the best wine by people who really know how to make good vinegar.
SEASONING SOLUTIONS are made by Cape Herb & Spice in the Westlake area of Cape Town. Right from the very beginning, Cape Herb and Spice was driven by the love of spice, a fascination with the alchemy that happens between food and spice to create sublime flavours: a true and lasting passion for all things spice... and that has not changed.
Beyond the obvious, true masters of a craft keep exploring, keep adding to their knowledge, keep working their master craft into their products - and every now and then create a blend (or two or three) that are truly inspired - that genuinely delivers what it promises : wonderful food!
Beyond great taste...
Cape Treasures is a good food story - but it is built on a solid fair trading foundation. At its heart is Turqle's commitment to transparency, sustainability and accountability; the process of fair trade and fair trading and of supporting and growing opportunities in South Africa.
At its most basic, its about playing a role to create and maintain fair trading chains - from the farm to the fork. Healthy fair trading businesses will create resilient industries, strong communities and wholesome families.
These things do not happen by accident - they cannot be bought in a kit and 'installed' - they have to be built; carefully, with much thought and cooperation, energy, commitment and time.