Nestled between lush green vineyards and animal farms, the charming town of Stellenbosch is more surprising than it seems.
It was Simon van der Stel, the first settler, who first became aware of the opportunities that the small area between the two branches of the Eerste River had to offer. In 1679, this fertile valley officially became the mother of the first wines of the region and is now known worldwide for its private cellars (only 100 are open to the public) and its Wine Route, the oldest in the country.
The purpose of this chronicle will however not be dedicated to the wine tastings of the region, which in my opinion, are specific to the bling bling side of Stellenbosch; as missioner, my duty is to push my loyal readers to think outside the box. After all, what would a good wine be without the culinary delights it would marry perfectly?
The quiet little student town of Stellenbosch does not only limit itself to the many golf courses, wine estates and spas, which it abounds. There, you will find the best restaurants in the country whose dishes are prepared with local products at prices more than reasonable. Here is the ultimate ‘Gourmet List’ tested, approved and shared by the African Missioner. Enjoy!
Be amazed by the traditional menu of the best “country-side restaurant” of the year
For no-fuss, delicious dining, make a booking at Towerbosch on the Knorhoek Wine Farm. Meat is finished on an open traditional South African braai. The sirloin steak with roast potatoes, cinnamon butternut and French beans are worth a visit. Desserts are traditionnal, think malva Puding, summer fruits cheesecake or rhubarb pie. Good dose of freshness and guaranteed nostalgia. Stock up on cheese at the Simonsberg Factory Shop. A wide range of delicious and affordably priced cheeses; there will something for everyone. A must for the most diverse occasions, from picnics to dinner parties.
Visit a local food market
Head to the Stellenbosch Slowmarket every Saturday where you will have the chance to taste some treats as varied as each other. Member of the Slow Food movement, the producers featured at the market are dedicated to organic, seasonal and ethical production. On Sundays, the Blaauklippen Family Market offers a wide range of prepared foods like Greek confectionneries, Lebanese, Indian or 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 local beers, handmade jewelry … and even sushi!
Back to the student life with a brandewyn en coke
The finest vineyards may be the cultured place to be seen but the real energy of the city lies in the most lively places such as Die Mystic Boer, Bohemia or The Thirsty Scarecrow where you can dance on live music while sipping the favorite drink of Stellenbosch University students.
Pick your own berries
Want to get a good dose of vitamins? Pick your own sweet and juicy strawberries at the Mooiberge Farm for only R44 and refuel at The Farmer’s Kitchen restaurant also located on the farm. 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.
Sit down to a festive meal in one of the city pubs
What a chance to be surrounded by students! This gives you the perfect excuse to sample the best youth-pleasing pizzas and burgers the village has to offer. After Bistro is a more refined student hangout followed closely by Sgt.Pepper where the peri-peri chicken pizza is a must. 5 Rynevled has the most elaborate Burger Menu in Stellenbosch while Basic Bistro specializes in sauces (pray so the tequila Burger is available on the menu). A must, De Jonge Stomme offers salads to die for and a unique local vibe!
Taste traditional African cuisine
Situated in the middle of Khayamandi township just outside the town, AmaZink Live is part theater, restaurant, concert hall. Enjoy the vibrant energy, live performances while you tuck into some braaivleis, boerewors or bunny chow.
Have a breakfast feast
If you are looking for a gentle awakening, take your ‘special someone’ to Meraki for their divine French Toast with mascarpone and maple syrup. Nextdoor, Haaz Café is known for its quality coffee and minimalist atmosphere. For breakfast a bit more bling bling, enjoy a glass of bubbly at Tokara Delicatessen and a royal brunch while overlooking the ever-changing vineyards.
The African Missioner