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Our Products can be sampled and purchased at the Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market every Saturday, but remember to come early we sell out very quickly.

 

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South Magazine Feature

http://southmagazine.co.za/articles/food-wine/cake-to-have-and-eat/
Cake to have and eat
Here’s a man who has accomplished something many people only dream about: a self-sufficient lifestyle based entirely on something he loves doing. While his Garden of Aidan goat’s cheeses have a proud reputation already, Aidan Pomario is rapidly winning over the loyalties of gastronomes countrywide with a delectable dessert that’s earned a national award.

 

There was no holding back when Eat In food directory announced this year’s winner in the Sweet – Bakery category: “The judges’ decisions are seldom unanimous from the get-go, but from the first bite of the heavenly cheesecake they knew they’d found their winner. Usually the least outspoken of all the judges, Michelle Barry, couldn’t stop raving about it’s taste and texture, exclaiming, ‘I’d drive all the way from Durban to George to buy this cheesecake. It’s sensational. Definitely the best cheesecake I’ve ever eaten.’”

 

South caught up with Aidan in front of a welcome log fire at Café Afrique in Timberlake Village, one of the places where his amazing cheesecake can be enjoyed.

 

Aidan says he took a long and roundabout route to reach the place he is at now. On completion of his schooling in Cape Town, he studied electrical engineering, but skipped out when he was meant to start practical training.
“Most of the guys that studied with me ended up opening a TV repair shop or something that you don’t need all those years of studying for.
“Then I wanted to open a coffee shop and my father suggested that, as the biggest problem is with labour, I should learn how to bake. The Department of Labour was still running courses and I went into the last course they ran, training people to go into the baking industry.”

 

After finishing the course, he baked speciality breads for a while before registering at Le Cordon Bleu School in London, where he obtained two international certificates in patisserie over six months.

 

On his return in 1995, he worked at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town for about two years until a serious injury forced a change of direction.
“I injured my back working on a fence and was bedridden for about two years. While I was lying around I did a lot of reading and decided I wanted to be on a farm, and be self sufficient. There had to be a better way of life than to be stuck in a city. As a child I’d always loved animals, but farming seemed unreachable.”

 

So when he recovered, Aidan served a two-year apprenticeship at Bloublommetjieskloof, an organic farm in Wellington which included a dairy, bakery, vegetable and fruit growing, and cattle and goats. “That is where I learnt how to make cheese.”

 

When he was ready, Aidan purchased 38 hectares of farm land at Diep Rivier near Hoekwil. “It was covered in wattle, I towed a caravan up there and started cutting wattle down… I’m still cutting wattle down.”

 

About six months later he had built a structure – “a Wendy house, not a log cabin” – followed by the arrival of six baby goats. “I like them. I think they are fantastic animals, and it was something I could do by myself. It seems that humans have an interaction with goats… I don’t know if it’s the goats’ mischievousness, but something about them rings true for us.”

 

During the year cialisvsviagra-online and a half it took the kids to mature to milking age, Aidan carried on cutting wattle and raised and sold chickens. He then bought ten pregnant female goats, which he hand milked for a year before purchasing a milking machine, and in 2006 he made his first feta, dubbing it “peasant cheese”.

 

The cheesecake, made not from goat’s milk but cream from a neighboring dairy, was baked as something he could take to the market along with his cheese.

 

“Most of the milk went to the young. I only produced just over a head (about 1kg) of feta per week, so I started baking to have more stuff to sell at the Wilderness Night Market.”

 

That was then. Now he cannot keep up with the demand for his goat’s milk cheeses, and his baking has expanded to include cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, brownies, carrot cake, choc-chip cookies and sour dough rye breads.

 

Aidan says his lifestyle “affords me a certain amount of freedom I otherwise wouldn’t have had, although it comes with a cost – I have to be there all the time. I am, however, very fortunate”.

 

Farm living does afford Aidan and his partner, jeweller Darina, more time than most with their children, 11-year-old Kei and 18-month-old Aurora.
The couple are comfortable with their diverse talents. Darina “barely cooks and I don’t help with her designs

 

– we have different skill sets”, says Aidan.
He adds that marketing – his weakest point – is the key to the success of any self-employment venture. “With good marketing, bad products can do well, and visa versa.”

 

The farm still takes most of his time. “The next step is to get pastures. I’ve started fencing, then I need cabling to get down to the river, then pumps, then piping and an irrigation system. I buy in feed at the moment, and had to downsize due to the drought.” Despite the challenges, Aidan obviously enjoys what he is doing.

 

The award winning cheesecake recipe is a secret, but Aidan reveals that it is the result of experimentation while at the Vineyard. “I had five attempts to make cheesecake ranging from terrible to good… I have an idea of what I want and try different ways to get what I taste in my mind.

 

“Like I always say, fat is where the flavour is. If you want something to taste good – add fat. The higher the quality of the ingredients, the better the end product too.

 

“All the base ingredients of the cheesecake are the best. For example, the chocolate I put in the chocolate cheesecake is imported from Belgium.”

 

Garden of Aidan products are available at Pomodoro Restaurant and Rondeview Café in Wilderness, Joplins on the N2 between Wilderness and Sedgefield, Café Afrique at Timberlake and Aidan’s popular stall at Wild Oats Market in Sedgefield every Saturday morning.

 

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