“Holrug gery” is one of my favourite Afrikaans phrases. It means that a subject has been discussed so many times that, if it were a horse, it would’ve had a back like Paris Hilton’s mattress – worn out and ridden till it’s hollow. Fairview might just be one of those subjects. It almost seems to be ubiquitous in the Cape winelands – you can’t but hit it somewhere along the line on a trip there. But with good reason. With a tasting room, shop and deli, restaurant, beautiful views and shady gardens and lots of room for the kids to play and goats to stare at, it is a great place to take the whole family for an afternoon.
The tasting room at Fairview is beautifully appointed with various “pods” with a dedicated host at each so that guests get loads of personal attention. For R25.00 (US$3) you can taste whatever cheeses they have available on the day plus 6 wines which you may choose from their massive selection. The Beryl Back tasting room is a beautiful, private space where, for R60.00 per person, up to 8 guests can enjoy wines paired with cheeses and olive oil. The estate has vineyards in Paarl, the Swartland, Darling and Stellenbosch, so you can get completely plastered whilst pretending that your copious consumption of all the wines is simply an attempt to compare the various terroirs.
If you are a cheesy person, then Fairview is where you should come to die. The selection on offer is just mind boggling and there are constantly new, innovative cheeses to try. Goats’ milk, cows’ milk, washed rind, white rind, blue cheese, cream cheese. It almost reads like a Dr. Seuss book. There are cheeses flavoured with dukkah, lavender, herbs, spices and everything else you could think of to add to a cheese (and some things you never would’ve thought of). The shop & deli offers a cheese only tasting for R12.00. Six to eight Jersey cows’ and goats’ milk cheeses are available for tasting and the selection varies slightly from day to day. Goatshed artisan breads which are baked daily on site, preserves, sauces and other condiments as well as various olive oils are on sale. The Lemon & Lime as well as Red Pepper jelly from Zest are utterly divine! Read the rest of this entry →
In case you hadn’t noticed, I love food. Really. The absolute best part about having to pack up our entire lives, bid farewell to friends, pets, our country and our home and move to China is because I now have an excuse to drink all our best wines and use all the lovely goodies I’ve been hoarding in my cupboard for special occasions. (Saffron omelets with cocoa nibs for breakfast anyone? Maybe not.) But even for me, dragging myself out of bed at 6:30 on a Saturday morning to get to Wild Oats in Sedgefield before all the Île de paín ciabatta is gone or the pancake queue reaches new-iPad-on-sale proportions is a bit of a schlep (a worthwhile schlep, but a schlep none the less). So I – along with every other Georgian west of York who was relieved when the Pick & Pay mini market opened because now we don’t have to drive ALL the way to the big Pick & Pay – rejoiced when the Outeniqua Farmers Market opened their doors opposite the Garden Route Mall in November.
The creators of this foodie heaven travelled the world over to ensure they created a market that would keep people coming back and they certainly succeeded. Shaded by tall oaks, almost 80 stalls sell everything a food lover could want. Locally sourced and grown meats, breads, cheese, fruit, veg, juices, ice creams, spices, seafood and more make it a one stop shop when you need to fill your grocery cupboard. Or for those days when comfort is more important than fitting into your new Levi’s there are to die for brownies (in packaging so gorgeous you need never be stuck for a gift idea again), chocolate springrolls, nougat chocolate cups (nougat chocolate cups!), koeksisters, milktart, beautifully decorated cupcakes and just about every other gut busting sweet treat you can think of. If breakfast or lunch is all you’re after you are spoiled for choice. Rolls so soft you want to lay your head down on them with fluffy scrambled eggs and crispy bacon (lay your head on the roll, not with the eggs and bacon… you know what I mean), ciabatta with various toppings toasted in little pizza ovens, Thai and Indian curries, satays, Dutch bitterballen and kroketten, gourmet burgers and wraps, falafel and all things Lebanese, samoosas, pancakes, homemade pies of every possible description or just munch on a bit of biltong and have a great cup of coffee while you sit and watch the world go by. And at this market, the world goes by! It is a bustling hive of locals greeting each other, tourists happily calculating how much their pounds can buy and even patrons of the four legged kind giving each other friendly sniffs. There is live entertainment and lots for the kids to do with pony rides, face painting, jungle gyms and lots of space to just run and play in a safe environment. At present there is also a smaller arts and crafts area which the owners hope to grow once the food stalls are perfected. From where I’m sitting, sipping my fresh iced pineapple juice and munching on a nougat cup, they’re pretty much there already.
If you’re keen to get out on the golf course a bit and practice your swing, then Glenwood Short Golf Course is the perfect place to do it without looking like a total Koos. Mainly because you’ll be surrounded with so many other hackers that you’ll almost sort of look like you know what you’re doing. Popular amongst scratch golfers and newbies alike, this course is really exceptionally well maintained for a mashie. Sure, it’s not The Links, but then you’re not paying Links prices either. At R45.00 for 9 holes and R60.00 for 18, it’s an affordable way to get your kids away from the Xbox for an afternoon. There are clubs, golf carts and pull carts for hire as well if the Wii has atrophied your muscles. It’s also a great place for a small corporate or private function, with braai facilities and a friendly bar. They have always been very accommodating when, once a year, friends of ours have a birthday bash there with, let’s say, flexible rules on the course. It really is a great place to get into the swing of things if you want to enter the big, scary world of golf.
Knysna Road, George Next door to The Pro Shop at The George Golf Academy.
I’ve never been a huge fan of game reserves that aren’t in the “real” bushveld. They’re like a bad toupee: Everyone knows it’s not genuine and even though it is accepted as an adequate alternative where the real thing no longer exists, it just never quite blends in flawlessly with the surrounds. If I can’t hear a Greenspotted Dove by day or a Scops Owl at night then I’m not buying it. That said, I would be lying if I pretended that sitting on the deck at Botlierskop near Mossel Bay, sipping on a G&T while an elephant browses in the gorge below you and Knysna louries feed in the Cheese Wood 5 feet away isn’t a rather nice way to work up an appetite for dinner.
The restaurant is distinctly African with sumptuous fabrics, thatch, wood and earthy tones of warm oranges and browns. The gorgeous ostrich shell light fittings bear testament to the fact that, in the right hands, even African kitsch can feel stylish. Depending on the number of guests, lunch and dinner is either a la carte or buffet, but always with a modern South African twist. Expect dishes such as biltong and blue cheese soufflé or waterbuck wrapped in pancetta and served with a red wine and berry jus. And if ever chocolate is going to kill you, then there can be no better way to go than their Chocolate Lava Pot. Service is friendly and efficient. Once you’ve worked your way through your meal, you can make your way back to the deck to have coffee around the massive bonfire.
The reserve offers a host of activities for both overnight guests and day visitors. There are game drives, horseback safaris, elephant rides and feeding, helicopter flights, guided walks and more.
Like tea in a fine china cup, cheese when it’s grated and chocolate on a Tuesday when you started your diet on Monday, food just tastes better when it’s shared. I feel a little cheated when we go out for dinner and I don’t have at least two bites of my husband’s food (Tip: This handy habit also decreases your chances of getting order envy). So when we were asked last Sunday to cater for breakfast at the beach, I decided to haul out my Grandad’s old Mongolian Grill and get everyone to cook their own. I used to love the evenings when we did stirfry at Oupa’s house on this splendid contraption. I would scoop up spoons full of bacon, beef and chicken and top it all with two julienned carrots and a bean sprout and declare that I was eating my veggies. Not being Chinese, no one ever got the actual stir fry just right, but that didn’t seem to matter. There was just something about the “Check hers out!” and “Bru, I don’t think it’s supposed look like that!” that somehow made the complete lack of authentic taste of the food irrelevant. It didn’t really matter what they ate, everyone just loved the competition. I was sure the same could be achieved with some batter and a bit of bacon and I was not disappointed. There will always be that one guy who puts the cheese in too early. “Bru, I don’t think it’s supposed to look like that!”.
Any other filling that takes your fancy (Feta and sundried tomatoes and a few fresh herbs would add a nice Mediterranean twist. Ooh, and salmon, cream cheese and caviar if you want to get all fancy!)
Sauce to serve. We used a creamy mushroom, but Hollandaise would be fantastic!
For the flapjack batter, whisk the eggs and sugar together.
Add ½ cup of milk and butter to the egg mixture.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the egg mixture.
Add the remaining milk and mix to a smooth batter.
If necessary, add a little water to the batter if it’s too thick.
Now oil and fire up the grill. To cook the flapjacks, each person fries whatever filling combination they like. Once cooked, you can flatten the ingredients on the grill into more or less a flat, round shape and then pour the batter over, but I found the best way is to scoop the cooked ingredients into a bowl, add the batter and cheese and then scoop spoonfuls back onto the hot griddle. When bubbles start forming on the top, flip over, cook the other side for a few moments and serve with the sauce and a fried egg.