Brought to you by the Stellenbosch Wine Festival
Over three hundred years after farmers settled and began planting vines, Stellenbosch now boasts more private cellars than any other Western Cape region (over 100 of which are 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.
Save up and plan a life-changing meal at Number 9 restaurant in the country, Overture on the Hidden Valley Wine Estate. Here you’ll get to choose between Bertus Basson’s three-course or six-course tasting menu. Even the three-course menu features a number of treats that will arrive between your chosen courses, resulting in a decadent feast that lasts for hours. Think chicken ballotine with red-wine braised snails, hearty braised lamb shoulder and perfect dry-aged sirloin. Looking for something in the town itself? Jardine Restaurant on Andringa Street is another stellar spot, which came in at number 11 at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. Or visit George Jardine’s other restaurant, Jordan Restaurant, on the beautiful Jordan Wine Estate; number 14 on our Awards list.
If you’re not heading to Overture, try one of this award-winning chef’s other unique restaurants in the area. De Vrije Burger features a single-item menu, The Deck at Hidden Valley offers laidback dining with incredible views, and Spek en Bone is perfect for a casual night of tapas and wine. (Just make sure you book somewhere nearby to stay or you’ll be rolling home!)
Head to the Stellenbosch Slowmarket on Saturdays between 9am to 2pm for a bustling market offering everything from stroopwafels to free-range chicken. Part of the international Slow Food movement, this all-weather market features over 100 producers, all dedicated to local, organic, seasonal, ethical production. On Sundays between 10am to 3pm, the Blaauwklippen Family Market features a diverse range of prepared foods like Greek confectionery, German flammkuchen, Chinese dumplings, samoosas and of course, Blaauwklippen bubbly. There’s also live music and activities to keep the kids busy. The sprawling Root 44 market, meanwhile is open Saturdays and Sundays in all weather from 10am to 4pm. Go to enjoy Audacia wines, craft beers, sweet treats, wood-fired pizzas, traditional roosterkoek and biltong, salads and sandwiches, spicy curries. Leave with armfuls of olive oil, spreads, home-baked breads, cured and smoked charcuterie products.
Boschendal at Oude Bank continues the long tradition of great breakfasts and fantastic bread at the prior site of Schoon De Companje. Soak up amazing weather at the outside tables or dine at one of the various areas inside. Also enjoy their filling lunches, if you’ve still not had enough, and make sure to stay for a wine tasting. If you leave without freshly baked croissants, you’ve missed out.
It’s time to work on that bucket list and we’re assuming that Genki’s sushi, The Fatbutcher’s steak and country-style feasting at Overgaauw Restaurant, The Table at De Meye and Towerbosch are all on there. Visit our guide to the 25 best restaurants in Stellenbosch and see what we’re raving about.
While you’re hanging out with the youngsters, why not sample the best youth-pleasing pizzas and burgers the village has to offer? Try the DOA pizza at Armory Restaurant with mince, red onion, goats cheese and fresh basil. Basic Bistro specialises in huge gourmet burgers drenched in creative sauces that come with wafer fries. (Make sure to book.) Also swing by Steam for uncomplicated food and a great vibe.
Wait for warmer weather then enjoy a picnic at the variety of restaurants and wine estates offering them, including The Bakery at Jordan, The Greenhouse at Babylonstoren, Hartenberg Estate, Spier Farm Kitchen, Warwick Gourmet Picnics, and Zevenwacht Restaurant. (Find more information here)
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, including in the legendary pinotage burger (dripping with saucy onions cooked in pinotage).
Cycle into Postcard Café 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 stunning vineyards.
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.
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. Also stock up on olive oil at Tokara Delicatessen.
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 and can be enjoyed on a charcuterie board or as a delicious sandwich.
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, take one of the planned walks, meet eagles and of course do a wine tasting.
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 Belgian chocolate with their wine. Have cupcakes with four different wines at Delheim, or go for an ice cream and wine pairing at Clos Malverne. Other options include pizza at Brenaissance Wine Estate and macarons at Blaauwklippen Vineyards. (Booking is essential for all.)
Top wine farms may be the cultured place to be seen, but for a true feeling of the town, join the lively scene at spots like Thirsty Scarecrow, The Trumpet Tree Social Café and Flame & Ash to sip the unofficial beverage of the Maties student. Also pop into Hudsons to knock back a tipple.
Pick your own strawberries in summer at Mooiberge farm on the R44 and refuel at the farm’s restaurant, The Farmer’s Daughter 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.
Quirky husband and wife team Reinée and Deon Brand reinvigorate the love for food done right from the cosy kitchen in their Stellenbosch home. Each of Tamatiestraat’s demos has its own theme, so you could leave with expertise in French cooking, Pakistani cuisine or making the perfect chicken. Oh, and the best part? You get to eat each of the three courses right after they’ve prepared it, paired with a glass of wine.
Chef PJ Vadas’s pasteis de nata are legendary. Get yours at Hoghouse at Spier. The creamy centres with caramelised tops and perfectly crispy pastry is enough to build a religion around. Trust us, you own’t be able to stop at just one.
Van Ryn’s Brandy Distillery offers brandy paired with charcuterie, Florentines, or Belgian chocolate and Brazilian coffee. Also enjoy cheese platters with brandy cocktails.
Sweet-toothed foodies can order a variety of ice creams, sorbets, vegan ice creams and banting ice creams at Cold Gold. There are normally around 70 flavours in stock at any given time, with options like cappuccino-caramel swirl, honey-and-cinnamon crunch, chocolate rocky road, salted-caramel cheesecake, and white chocolate with toasted coconut. Banting-friendly scoops, dairy-free sorbets and paleo options are also on offer.
Seriously. Meraki makes these magical crossiant-muffin hybrids that will have you obsessed. We’ll let this video convince you. Alternatively, try their gluten-free almond and ricotta cake – a next-level treat for the gluten-intolerant.
We’d never forget about the coffee lovers. Head to the Deluxe Coffee Smidswinkel or the one at De Warenmarkt for a cup of java made with hand-selected Brazilian, Guatemalan or Ethiopian coffee beans.
The Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick n Pay is back and promises to be as memorable as ever, taking place from 23 February to 25 February at the Coetzenburg Sports Grounds. The three-day event offers the crème de la crème of wine from the Stellenbosch Wine Routes as well as live music and outdoor activities, tasty artisanal food at the aptly named Gourmet Lane, and entertainment for little ones at the Momentum Health Kiddies Area. Get general entry for Friday for R150 (including a tasting glass and a card loaded with 20 free wine tastings) or premium entry for the whole weekend for R350 (including a tasting glass, access to General Wine Experience and Premium Wine Experience areas, a card loaded with 30 free wine tastings, and a complimentary charcuterie or oyster platter courtesy of Wild Peacock Deli). Tickets are available via Webtickets.