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20 foodie things to do in Stellenbosch

11 Aug

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It was Simon van der Stel who was the first settler to spot the opportunities offered by the lush area between the two branches of the Eerste Rivier for the Cape colony, setting up camp here while on a tour of inspection in 1679.The fertile valley was soon settled on by farmers who planted the region’s first vines a few short years later.

Three hundred odd years on, the valley boasts more private cellars than any other Western Cape region (with over 100 open to the public) and the country’s oldest wine route. But there’s more to Stellenbosch than wineries. This leafy student town is home to some of the country’s top restaurants and award-winning producers. Here’s our bucket list of things to sip, munch and stock up on during a gourmet holiday in Stellies.

1. Dine at an Eat Out Top 10 restaurant 
No.3 Rust en Vrede (closed from 8 June to 9 July), No. 6 Jordan Restaurant and No.7 Overture (closed from 25 August to 10 September) are all located in this neck of the woods. Make the most of your visit with one really special meal. (See the rest of the 2013 Top 10 here.)

2. Visit a food market 
Head to the Stellenbosch Slowmarket on Saturdays for a bustling market offering everything from stroopwaffels to free-range chicken. (That’s where we held our 2014 Eat Out Produce Awards.) Part of the international Slow Food movement, the producers featured at the market are dedicated to organic, seasonal, ethical production. On Sundays, the Blaauklippen Family Market features a diverse range of prepared foods like Greek confectionery, fresh pastries, Lebanese, Indian and Mexican foods, and of course, Blaauwklippen bubbly. For a treat that’s open on both Saturday and Sunday, head to Root 44, an upmarket family-friendly market that sells delicious food (from sushi to boeries), craft beer and fresh flowers.

3. Buy bread from an award-winning baker 
Fritz Schoon of Schoon De Companje took home the 2012 Eat Out Produce Award for his insanely good ciabatta, sourdough bread (sprinkled with chocolate or cinnamon), rye and breadsticks. While you’re there, shop for wine, artisan ice cream and charcuterie.

4. Eat at the winner of our best country-style restaurant 
For traditional South African, no-fuss, delicious dining, make a booking at Towerbosch on the Knorhoek Wine Farm. Meat is finished on an open braai and brought to the table on heaped platters. Melt-in-the-mouth lamb and sirloin vie for attention with roast potatoes, cinnamon butternut and French beans. Desserts are traditional and yummy: think malva pudding, rose geranium milk jelly or cheesecake. It’s no-frills fare, but you’re guaranteed freshness and a good dose of nostalgia.

5. Hit the wine route
Representing over 200 wine and grape producers, Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes are a huge draw card for the winelands. Keep up to date with the area’s events or do a tour (there’s even a bicycle tour).

6. Have a brandewyn en coke 
Top wine farms may be the cultured place to be seen, but for a true feeling of the town, join the lively scene at bars like Die Mystic BoerBohemia and The Thirsty Scarecrow and sip the unofficial beverage of the Maties student.

7. Grab some pub grub 
While you’re hanging out with the youngsters, why not sample the best youth-pleasing pizzas and burgers the village has to offer? Après Bistro and Pizzeria is a more refined student hangout with delicious pub-fare;SGT. Pepper‘s Tant Doori pizza with peri-peri chicken is a must; 5 Ryneveld has the most elaborate burger menu in town; and Basic Bistro specialises in huge gourmet burgers drenched in creative sauces (pray that the tequila burger is on the blackboard menu).

8. Go on a gourmet picnic at a wine estate (in warmer months) 
Eight at SpierHazendal (closed from 23 June until 23 July), Longridge (closed from 22 July until 22 August) and Warwick (from September) all offer gourmet picnics in leafy vineyards and on grassy riverbanks during summer months, and Waterford offers one year-round. Hillcrest Berry Orchards also offer picnics for groups of 8 or more (from November only).

9. Try South Africa’s national wine varietal 
Created in 1924 when a Stellenbosch University professor crossed hermitage with pinot noir, pinotage is a robust deep red wine with smoky flavours. Beyers Truter was the first to claim international recognition for the grape, winning the International Winemaker of the Year in 1991 with the varietal. Head to Truter’s farm, Beyerskloof, to try the varietal in every form, from the lovely liquid to the legendary pinotage burger (dripping with saucy onions cooked in pinotage), and even pinotage ice cream served with baked cheesecake.

10. Stock up on cheese at the Simonsberg factory shop  
Yes, you heard right: it’s a factory shop for cheese. A wide range of delicious and affordably priced cheeses makes this a must for anyone planning a picnic or dinner party.

11. Taste traditional African cuisine 
Situated in Khayamandi township just outside the town, Amazink Live is part theatre, part restaurant, part township tourism. Watch the musical production while you tuck into braaivleis, boerewors and bunny chow.

12. Go on a deli-crawl 
Stellenbosch locals are spoilt for choice with top quality delis. At Wild Peacock, you can pick up everything from truffle oil and quail eggs to Valrhona couverture. Pop into Joostenberg Deli for organic free-range meat and eggs, speciality cheese and killer pork pies; and Oom Samie se Winkel, an old-style trading store, has some interesting preserves and a good spice selection. The Stellenbosch branch of Melissa’s next door should be on your hit-list too.

13. Sample roosterkoek 
With an entire menu constructed out of the yeasty, braaied breads, De Stomme Jonge is the perfect place to try the traditional Afrikaans bread. They’re baked fresh twice a day on a shining red braai on the restaurant’s stoep.

14. Spend a whole day at a single wine farm 
Home to the restaurant Eight at Spier, art events, a bird of prey centre, a spa and a hotel, Spier is more than just a winery. You can also enjoy a picnic beside the dam, tour the vineyard on a segway (yes, a segway), or take one of the planned walks (one of which has a soundtrack, written by playwright Brett Bailey). Don’t miss their annual Spier Secret Festival, a weekend event with food, wine and art presentations, workshops and tastings.

15. Do a wine and dessert pairing 
Kill two vices with one stone at Waterford Estate, which offers a tasting of dark and milk chocolates paired with the winery’s shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and natural sweet wines. Lourensford Wine Estate also pairs handmade 60% cocoa chocolate with their wine, and Uitkyk does a wine and pancakes tasting on the last Saturday of every month from May to August. (Booking is essential for all.)

16. Pick your own berries 
Pick your own strawberries in summer at Mooiberge farm on the R44 and refuel at the farm’s restaurant, The Farmer’s Kitchen afterwards. If you’re after youngberries, blackberries, cherries, English gooseberries, cranberries and plumcot, then head to the Hillcrest Berry Orchard farm stall where all these and more are on sale.

17. Do a brandy and chocolate tasting 
Van Ryn’s Brandy Distillery offers brandy, coffee and chocolate pairings (12, 15 and 20 year-old reserves with Belgian chocolates and single plantation Honduran coffee) and brandy and florentine pairings.

18. Beef up on boerekos 
Grandma’s specialities and garagiste wines are the order of the day at cosy De Volkskombuis. Sister restaurant De Oewer offers an alfresco option for hot summer days.

19. Train as a chef or winemaker 
What better setting to train in all things foodie than Stellies. Top cooking school The Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA) offers 18-month to three-year diplomas, while the Elsenburg Agricultural College offers courses in Viticulture.

20. Have a feast at breakfast 
If you’re after a quieter morning, take your special someone to Café Crème, a French-style café in Ryneveld Street, for divine French toast with crispy bacon. Cyclers and outdoorsy types love to stop at the Postcard Café (closed from 29 june to 22 July) in Jonkershoek for a healthy (or hearty) breakfast on the riverbank. Have a glass of bubbly with brunch at Tokara Delicatessen overlooking the ever-changing and ever-beautiful vineyards.

For more info: http://www.eatout.co.za/article/20-foodie-things-to-do-in-stellenbosch/ 

Stellenbosch Street Soirees

16 Feb

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Wine, dine and soak up the summertime vibes with an impromptu food and vino festival in this quaint Boland town

Enjoy grapes and gourmet during the languid summer months in the Cape Winelands when the Stellenbosch Street Soirees splash onto the calendar once a month on Wednesday evenings from December 2013 until March 2014. The next event is scheduled for Wednesday, 12 February 2014.

Presented by the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, this regular pop-up wine and food tasting event transforms the lower part of the historic town’s Church Street (between Bird and Andringa streets) into a culinary haven for connoisseurs and students alike.

Participating restaurants beckon visitors to sample their unique dishes at the street stalls, while representatives from wine farms along the country’s oldest and foremost wine route offer delicious vintages to wash away those weekday blues. What’s more, live music and entertainment is scheduled to get those feet tapping as the sun settles over the town’s oak-lined roads and ways.

Events Coordinator for the Stellenbosch Wine Routes Elmarie Rabe reveals that the layout and lifestyle of the “quaint town really lends itself to street ‘kuiers’” and allows visitors to “forget about the day’s hassles and hullabaloos.”

Plus, since Stellenbosch has unseated Franschhoek as the “Gourmet Capital of South Africa” (four of the Top 10 Restaurants in the 2013 Eat Out Awards are from Stellies), the evening soirees offer food and wine lovers a top-notch epicurean experience – and one that’s as affordable as it is fun.

TICKETS FOR THE 2013-2014 STELLENBOSCH STREET SOIREES

Each week the culinary fair features a different selection of cellars and caterers, and entry to this street party is absolutely gratis, mahala… FREE. For a mere R30p/p, revelers can get a wine glass and a ticket to taste as many wines as there are on offer on that evening. Food dishes are priced individually by vendors.

The event starts at 6pm and runs until 8pm

Stellenbosch on foot

22 Aug

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Explore the “Village of the Oaks” with its shady oak avenues bordered by the water furrows of the Mill Stream.  Admire the charm and harmony of the Cape Dutch Architecture and listen to tales about the colourful inhabitants of three centuries.

Discover where Simon van der Stel set up camp in the Eerste River and why it is called the Eerste River.  Perhaps you will meet an angel at the “Angel Factory” or a ghost in the graveyard of the “Moederkerk”

Three fires destroyed the village.  Where did the fire of 1710 start and who started it? The first Christian Church building in South Africa was in Stellenbosch not in Cape Town. Today it is the site of the oldest hotel in South Africa,  d’Ouwe Werf, and not all the graves have been moved. Why did Stellenbosch’s first minister, Hercules van Loon, commit suicide?

Dorp Street, ‘the wagon way to Cape Town’ is the oldest residential street in South Africa today. It is still the wagon way to Cape Town, only the wagons have changed somewhat!

Historical buildings surround three sides of The Braak (village green). During the 1809 earth tremor people rushed out of their houses onto the Braak. It was later decided that the Braak would always remain an open area. Stellenbosch has produced many famous South Africans – Prime Ministers and Sportsmen. Rugby and Cricket was played on the Braak.  How did the Springboks get their name in 1906?  Stellenbosch, synonymous with rugby, but the first Stellenbosch Springbok – Nico Theunissen – was a cricketer.

In 1602 the VOC was established by the Here Sewentien. Four hundred years later the “Kruithuis” on the Braak proudly flies the flag of the VOC.

Rhenish Institute, the oldest girl’s boarding school in South Africa, celebrated 150 years in 2010. Rhenish was the first school to teach Domestic Science and Needlework.

I invite you to join me to hear many more interesting facts and fables about the past while experiencing the present in “The Eikestad”

Tours from 36 Market Steet:

Monday to Friday 11:00 & 15:00

By appointment 09:30

Weekends by appointment

R90 per person

For more info visit: http://www.stellenbosch.travel/what-to-do/attractions-activities/stellenbosch-on-foot

All you can eat buffet joints in Cape Town

22 Aug

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As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life” and this is never more apparent that when choosing what to eat,especially in winter.

As a Capetonian with a healthy appetite, though, I say why choose at all? This is why my favourite culinary establishments in Cape Town are restaurants with all-you-can-eat buffet options.

In the Mother City, we’re blessed with a smorgasbord oftraditional and unconventional cuisine, so be sure to try the following buffet joints this winter:

TABLE BAY HOTEL

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and with the multitude of mouth-watering delicious choices (including sushi and oysters) Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront has on offer, you’re sure to get more than your fill. The delicious buffet is both halaal and vegetarian friendly.

Location: Table Bay Hotel, V&A Waterfront
Contact: +27(0)21 406 5988
Website: www.tablebay.suninternational.com

VISTA BAR & LOUNGE

If you have more of a sweet tooth and the idea of indulging in decadent caramel and gold leaf éclairs, cream-topped scones and macaroons gets you salivating, pop into the One&Only Cape Town’s Vista Bar&Lounge for afternoon tea.

Location: Vista Bar & Lounge, One&Only Cape Town
Contact: + 27 (0)21 431 5800
Website: www.capetown.oneandonlyresorts.com

HARVEY’S AT WINCHESTER MANSIONS

If you like your brunch with a side of jazz music, you simply cannot miss Harvey’s Jazz Brunch each Sunday at  theWinchester Mansions Hotel in Sea Point.

Feast away on eggs  cooked just the way you like it,  fresh sushi, decadent desserts and a glass of complimentary bubbly.

Location: Harvey’s, Winchester Mansions Hotel, Sea Point

Contact:+27(0) 21 434 2351

Website:www.winchester.co.za

LADY BEE DEHLI DINNER

A firm family favourite, this is the lunch and dinner stop for flavoursome Eastern, Indian and Malay cuisine. Dish as much as you want of their divine curries, seafood, breyanis, roasts and pasta dishes at any of their six locations in Cape Town and pay for your food according to weight.

Location: Crawford, Epping, Mitchell’s Plain, Observatory and Zevenwacht
Contact: +27 (0)21 534 1105
Website: www.ladybee.co.za

KAPRINOS

Gorge yourself on a variety of dishes, including irresistible home-made chicken curry, paella and more at the trendy Kaprinos franchise around the Mother City.

Location: Athlone, Northgate and Mitchell’s Plain
Contact: +27 (0)78 868 8703/+27 (0)21 534 1105
Website: www.kaprinosbuffet.co.za

QUARTERDECK RESTAURANT

Take a break between all of the entertainment at the Grand West Casino and fill up on some tasty dishes at the Quarterdeck Restaurant. Whether it’s soup, roasted meat or sweet desserts you’re after, you’ll find it all and more at this fabulous eatery.

Location: Quarterdeck Restuarant, Grand West Casino & Entertainment World, Goodwood
Contact: +27 (0)21 505 7220
Website: www.suninternational.com

BLOEMENDAL

The Durbanville Winelands are alive with the smell of great food as Bloemendal restaurants lay out their best gourmet food, featuring crowd pleasers like ostrich neck potjie, chicken pie, trifle and more.

Location: Bloemendal Restaurant and Conference Centre, Durbanville
Contact: +27 (0)21 975 7575
Website: www.bloemendal.co.za

Content copied from: http://www.capetown.travel/blog/entry/all-you-can-eat-buffet-joints-in-cape-town

Babylonstoren

11 Jun

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Babylonstoren is one of the best preserved ‘werfs’ (farm yards) in the Cape Dutch tradition. The days are intentionally unscripted at Babylonstoren, leaving guests free to do as theyfounding of the farm in 1690. The Koornhuis (for storing wheat and hay) and the old cellar are exceptionally fine. An ornate fowl house, pigeon loft, leaning bell tower and historic gates embellish a traditional courtyard surrounded by a low, whitewashed wall.

or vines being pruned – depending on the season. Enjoy a walk in the remarkable fruit and vegetable garden (guided if you feel like learning, or unguided for relaxation). Pick your own salad or enjoy a meal in the superb restaurant. Perhaps a massage in the spa after lunch? Or a stroll along a clivia lined stream? Then a swim in the farm dam or a

bout in the gym, before sundowners at a picnic spot? Or rather sample some of the excellent wines grown on the slopes all around the Simonsberg, possibly the finest terroir for wine in Africa? You please. Stroll out onto the farm of 200 hectares and see fruit being picked in the orchards
Babylonstoren lies in the Drakenstein Valley between Franschhoek and Paarl. Surrounded by the Simonsberg, Du Toitskloof and Franschhoek Mountains, Babylonstoren is in the heart of the Cape Winelands. It is some 60km from the city of Cape Town and an easy 45 min drive from Cape Town International Airport. can choose. Or simply lounge and read, in summer in a hammock strung among tree trunks, in winter curled up before a fire.

http://babylonstoren.com/about/

Oude Libertas Teater

11 Jun

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You are invited to join the summer audiences who relish in the delights of a unique season of top local and international performers under the stars in the Stellenbosch original theatre of the Winelands.

Music, theatre and dance once again find the perfect setting under the southern sky of Stellenbosch. Set among tall rustling trees, the famous open-air Oude Libertas Amphitheatre this summer hosts a top line-up of entertainment in a variety of presentations. Book your seat at the theatre (021 809 7380/ 021 809 7473) or at Computicket and share in the pleasure of this summer tradition.

http://www.oudelibertas.co.za/index.htm