Calling all Foodies
Follow the R62 to Oudtshoorn and De Rust to one of South Africa’s food-lovers paradise. After a long hot road, one deserves an ice cold beverage and there is plenty of choice around here.
Karusa Winery Craft Brewery and Orchard is family owned and managed and is located in the scenic Cango Valley bordering Oudtshoorn. This talented team produce six beer types offering visitors a thirst-quenching alternative to their wide selection of white and red wines with names like One Tree Hill Pinotage and Aloe Ridge Chardonnay. Their Reserve Collection is indeed worthy of being the named their flagship brands. As an MCC lover, my personal favourites are the Karoo Classique Chardonnay and Karoo Classique Brut, both are exceptional.
The farm also produces apricots, peaches and plums. All of which can be enjoyed on a leisurely summer’s day with a tapas platter in the farm garden.
A visit to De Krans website leaves little doubt that these award-winning wines are top drawer. Situated in Calitzdorp the Nel family make a wide variety of white, red, rose and MCC’s. What is of particular interest is their alcohol free and selection of 11 vegan wines. My understanding is that the easiest way to spot a vegan wine is to look out for the words ‘unfined’ or ‘unfiltered’ on the label. These wines contain no animal products used in fining agents such as casein, albumin or gelatin.
Generational farming thrives in the Klein Karoo and at the vineyards of Sandkoppies six generations of farmers have been producing Grundheim wines. The harvests now also include brandy, witblits, liqueurs, gin, vermouth and rum. It was in this shop that I discovered the funkiest rum label yet, unsurprisingly I left with a bottle of Rumkat and Naartjie Gin. Cocktails at mine soon for medicinal reasons you understand!
Doornkraal wines are sold at their padstal situated on the road to De Rust. The attention-grabbing sign in this water-scarce region reads “Spaar Water Drink Wyn” and is a good reason to stop and sample one of their many dry, off dry white and rose wines. For those who prefer their bubbles slightly sweet, the frivolous and pretty Tickled Pink sparkling wine holds pride of place in the padstal. Jerepigo and Sherry drinkers are also catered for here. By the way the Doornkraal website posted a few favourite South African recipes to cook at home.
What goes well with wine … olives. Naturally we found ourselves at Surval Boutique Olive Farm to sample the best garlic and rosemary olives I have eaten, no kidding I am couriering a few bottles home next week. This estate has a number of sophisticated restaurants, luxury accommodation and is a favourite wedding venue with its picturesque chapel on site.
Since we are talking olives, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention De Rustic Olive Farm in De Rust, close neighbour to Oudtshoorn. We spent a few hours here touring, tasting and learning about olive oils. Being a biblical fruit, we learnt that in the past the first pressing and purest oil was used for anointing, the second-best quality for lighting lamps and the lowest quality to make soaps. Understanding the nose, bitter and peppery quality of olive oil indicating high antioxidant levels was of particular interest to me. De Rustica’s Coratina oil won Gold in the Estate Collection: Single Cultivar competition in New York last year, a good reason to bring a bottle home wouldn’t you agree?
If you follow TripAdvisor you may have noted the high ratings for Thorny Creek Brewery and Red Bus café situated on Basilhof Farm Kleinspoort, Oudtshoorn. This microbrewery run by Rob and Olga product small batch Amber Ale, Pale Ale and Stout all available on tap, takeaway and by delivery. Red Bus Café is a rustic experience serving excellent quality hand crafted food and breads made from organically grown fruit and veggies, free range eggs and locally sourced ingredients. Here’s a returning guest’s comment describing everything about this jewel of place, “The beer… The vibe… The food… The atmosphere… The owners. It was indeed a pleasure to visit you again, we will be back!”
Oudtshoorn is famous not only for its caves but of course its ostriches and the meat of this animal is highly sought after for its health benefits. Klein Karoo is also recognized as a producer of some of the best tasting lamb, both of which are widely available in the many restaurants about town. TripAdvisor lists the top 10 restaurants in Oudtshoorn some of which are Jemima’s, Ma Belle Restaurant, Patat Restaurant, Rou Karoo, Kobus se Gat and De Kombuys Estate amongst others. Whatever your taste, there is sure to be a favourite menu nearby.
It is evident that if you are a foodie much like me, a trip into the Klein Karoo should be on your catalogue of things-to-do-food-to-eat soon, it may be prudent however to allocate a non-drinking driver!