Food and wine, art, exercise in fresh air… Stellenbosch Visio‘s social editor Mirandi Nel tries them all to bring you ideas about how you can spend your summer in and around Stellenbosch.
#1: Say it with flowers
Flowers have the remarkable power to enhance the beauty of one’s surroundings, lift the mood and increase happiness.
BEBLOM: When Cara Burger opened Beblom in 2020, she knew that combining just the right colours and textures and paying attention to detail would be important. She also keeps seasonality in mind and personalises every order. Cara is ready to ‘beblom’ the Cape Winelands and provide flowers for any event imaginable. Beblom delivers to Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington and the surrounding areas.
THE BLOOM SPACE: Jeanne van Zyl’s decision to open The Bloom Space was sparked by her love for flowers and assisting with the floral arrangements at weddings. The Bloom Space started as an online shop and made many homes more beautiful – and bearable – during lockdown. The physical store is now inside the Adam & Eve Collab premises at 53 Dorp Street.
FLOWERS IN THE FOYER: A wide selection of plants, in simple bunches or more formal arrangements, bring colour to weddings and other events.
OKASIE BLOMME: Interpreting clients’ needs and exceeding their wildest floral expectations – that’s the goal at Okasie Blomme.
BLOMBOY: For serious flower inspiration, be sure to follow Stellenbosch-based creative Alwijn Burger.
#2: Support a local business
Thabo Dube, the founder of LetZ, was in a near-death motorbike accident in 2013 that resulted in one of his legs being amputated. With his other leg badly broken and a massive crack in his skull, he had to spend months in hospital and a year in a wheelchair before beginning the difficult path to recovery. ‘Live every day to the end’ became his mantra and, as an acronym, the name of the clothing and accessories brand he created: LetZ. Thabs and his team craft 100% handmade luxury products, leather jackets and caps that serve as beautiful corporate gifts, taking custom and bulk orders. “Some of the old products will be discontinued, as we are adding six new designs to our range,” says Thabs. So as to save his employees’ jobs, he gave up his large premises and is working from his garage in Kuils River again, as he did when starting up the business. In need of a special gift? There’s no better time than now to support a local business like LetZ.
#3: Join a Stellenbosch art tour
Already well known for its world-class university and wines, Stellenbosch has also more recently established itself as one of the leading art destinations in South Africa. Stellenbosch on Foot now offers Stellenbosch Art Tours, which you can join for an unforgettable ‘on-foot experience’. A qualified guide will walk with you through the three-centuries-old streets of Stellenbosch, pointing out the charm and harmony of their Cape Dutch architecture and telling you tales of the town’s interesting history. The tour will give you the opportunity not only to admire some of the best art and art galleries in South Africa, but also meet some of the artists. The cost, only R280 per person, includes the services of a professional guide and a postwalk drink. The tours take place at 10:00 and 14:00 from Mondays to Thursdays and at 10:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. The whole experience takes about two and a half hours.
#4: Preserve your memories
Let’s be honest, indulging in nostalgia is a natural way to lift your mood and for many people, spending more time at home during lockdown gave them the opportunity to ferret out long-forgotten photographs. Stellenbosch Visio editor, Francé Beyers, shared memories on her social media platforms of old print images she had collected over the years, which sparked a project to preserve in digital format all those precious memories, whether in print photographs or VCR videos. Why not take some time this holiday season to preserve your most treasured memories? It can be a laborious task, best handled by experts. Tip Africa Publishing has developed a painless way to preserve your photos and can help you put an album together. One of the benefits of digitisation is that files are easy to share with others and also make a wonderful gift.
#5: Picnics and music at Quoin Rock
Experience a picnic at Quoin Rock and you’ll enjoy a gourmet meal from the wine estate’s Gåte Restaurant in a private pergola with comfortable seating. Out in the fresh air and surrounded by nature, the picnic is the perfect option for summer and with only eight well-spaced pergolas available, it is Covid-safe, too. But this isn’t just any picnic; you can call your waiter by walkie-talkie to bring fresh ice, more wine, an espresso to round off the meal… On the afternoon of 12 December 2020, Quoin Rock is hosting a programme of African and Russian operatic music accompanied by pianist José Dias. Preceded by Quoin Rock MCC and canapés from Gåte, the concert will give artistic expression to the estate’s wine ethos: complex, well-balanced flavours
that generate even more harmonies over time. It will also bring together Quoin Rock’s African location and the Ukrainian heritage of its owner.
#6: Hike Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve
Situated in the Franschhoek Mountains, Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve is part of the Unesco Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve and definitely worth a visit. It offers spectacular views of the Franschhoek Valley, diverse plant life and more than 30km of safe, well-maintained hiking trails, ranging from two-hour walks to full-day hikes. A recent addition is the Winelands Trail, which starts at the reserve’s car park and connects with the Lower Cats se Pad Trail. The 3.5km circular route offers spectacular views of the Franschhoek Valley from start to finish. For a longer option, hikers can add on about 1.8km of the Lower Cats se Pad trail, with an ascent of 110m. Other alternatives are a 5.5km hike between the top of Reservoir Street in Franschhoek and the nature reserve’s car park, in either direction (ascent/descent 400m); or a circular 3.5km walk from the car park to the Cats se Pad monument and back (ascent 110m). Permits can be purchased online via Webtickets or at the reserve entrance, where there is ample safe parking, a public toilet and drinking water.
#7: Add flowers to your plate
We are fortunate to live in the Cape Floral Kingdom among thousands of plants, many of which, with their flowers, are edible or medicinal. This means that when you add an edible flower to your plate or glass, you are not only adding to the flavour of the dish or drink, but making it more aesthetically pleasing and perfect for that Instagram shot! Executive chef Gregory Czarnecki says that edible flowers have many culinary uses. “First, of course, is the colour they add but if you select them carefully for flavour, aroma and texture, they will also bring elegance and another dimension to the dish. Most herb flowers actually have a spicier taste than the leaves. And don’t think they’re just limited to making the plate look pretty – think pickled flowers, vinegar, jellies, spice blends, confits. Use them fresh, frozen, dried or crystallised.” As well as being versatile, many edible flowers are nutritious and contain potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that are beneficial to health. If you know about plants, why not head out into nature and forage for some delicious, healthy floral food? But take care; only eat plants that you are 100% sure are edible.
#8: Stock up your pantry
There’s nothing like fresh, wholesome food straight from Mother Earth…
FAMILIÉR: Located on Annandale Wine Farm, the Familiér farm store sources and stocks only top-quality natural products that are free of chemical pesticides, artificial preservatives, colourants and MSG. From humble beginnings – literally, the kitchen table of founders Willem and Louanne Briedenhann – the store has developed into a well-stocked shop.
KLEIN JOOSTENBERG: From fresh flowers and home-cooked meals to everyday necessities or a special gift, Klein Joostenberg offers something for everyone. Browse among organic and free-range produce and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
TOKARA DELI: The deli at Tokara stocks fresh produce and artisanal products, including the estate’s extra virgin olive oil on tap, as well as fabulous decor items for your home.
SPIER FARM CAFÉ: From chef Hennie’s hassle-free and hearty frozen meals to Vadas’s famous sourdough bread, Farmer Angus’s flavoursome beef and Spier’s acclaimed wines – when it’s time to stock up, visit the café or Spier’s online shop. Free delivery on orders over R500.
BOSCHENDAL FARM SHOP AND BUTCHERY: A collection of treats and luxury pantry items celebrate the farm’s seasonal flavours, including a range of new condiments and preserves and sweet treats like lavender shortbread. Takeaway meals are available, as well as Boschendal wines.
#9: Sample Middelvlei’s braaibroodjies and wine
No braai is complete without braaibroodjies (toasted sandwiches) and at Middelvlei Wine Estate they know how to present braaibroodjies in style, with a wine pairing. The farm, at the foot of Devon Valley and overlooking the Bottelary Hills, provides a rustic atmosphere in which you can try either its gourmet braaibroodjie and wine pairings or its tapas and wine pairings. The gourmet braaibroodjie offering comprises snoek and cottage cheese paired with Middelvlei Unoaked Chardonnay; boerewors and mozzarella with Middelvlei Free-run Pinotage; and fig and Brie with Middelvlei Shiraz. Chardonnay also features in the tapas option, pairing with potbrood and snoek pâté, along with a biltong and mozzarella braaibroodjie with Middelvlei Rooster Merlot, and a cocktail boerewors sosatie with Middelvlei Pinotage. The Boerebraai Restaurant offers another truly South African flavour experience in the form of a traditional braai lunch every day.
#10: Explore Stellenbosch by bike
Cycling is a favourite activity among locals and visitors alike, and Adventure Shop offers tours of Stellenbosch and its vineyards on either a normal bike or, if you prefer a little assistance, an e-bike. Stellenbosch-specific tours combine beautiful scenery, historical sites, wine pairings and even the option of a chocolate and wine tasting en route. Spending an active day outdoors with friends or family has never been this easy. One of the favourite routes is a ride from Stellenbosch to Boschendal via the new Idas Valley and Banhoek Conservancy trails, finishing off with a re-energising breakfast at Boschendal. And if you need some help with navigation, a guide can always be organised.