Eleven of us headed out from the Cape Town International Airport headed to the Hemel en Aarde Valley. We took the coast route – so very beautiful and scenic and many remarks were heard about the stunning city we all live in!
Our first stop was the 365 Bistro in Pringle Bay where we were ushered upstairs into a private dining room and treated royally. A delicious lunchtime menu was offered and Ronnie who had enjoyed his birthday on Sunday 15th November treated us all to drinks before lunch. Everyone was feeling in good spirits but the weather was turning a bit bad! Grey clouds with a drizzle en route to Hermanus. After 2 ‘stop-and-goes’ we eventually arrived at High Season Farm just before 3.00 pm!
Traveltime hired 5 houses on this farm – Pine Tree Cottage where Barbi, Mel, Bridget and Jenny were staying; Oak Tree Cottage where Elaine and Theresa shared; Lemon Tree Cottage which housed Trixie and Charmian; Agapanthus Cottage where Marie and Ronnie stayed and Protea Cottage which was Carol’s (& Brian’s) home for the time of the tour! Brian only slept on the farm for one night and it was very special that he came to prepare a wonderful braai for us. We started the evening with dips courtesy of Woolworths; A Beef Fillet with Mushroom sauce and some delicious chicken kebabs grilled to perfection by Brian; a root vegetable bake; potato bake; green salad with 2 desserts & ice cream to round off a perfect evening, all provided by Dre Johnson, who lives in the area and does part-time catering.
Each Cottage had chance to host a meal – Pine Tree Cottage did the first evening. Oak Tree Cottage lovingly set the table for a light breakfast at 08h15 the next morning. We were heading almost 100km for a brunch at 12h00, so yoghurt/fruit/toast filled a gap before we headed out to Sanity Farm – owned by Sue and Mike Preece. Mike presented Sue with a sausage filler machine for her birthday in 2009 and her passion for experimenting with such tasty sausages; bacon to-die-for; scotch eggs (oh my goodness you need to taste these); the list goes-on-and-on!!
Sue prepared a brunch par excellence served with delicious orange juice and champers. We enjoyed artisan bread to start; followed by Sue’s sausages; mushroom sauce; potatoes; tomatoes; and eggs ……oh my goodness a lovely few hours spent trying to gain SANITY on this farm!
En route to Sanity Farm we had stopped in at Jenny’s Handelhuis (Jenny was in Bredasdorp) but her husband entertained us admirably and even stood in our group photo outside the shop. After Sanity Farm we took the newly graded road through Elim and eventually ended in in Baardskeerdersbos (or as the locals say B’Bos), a haven for artists at present and very close to Gansbaai. Arriving back at High Season Farm we had an hour to rest before we headed back into Hermanus to the Just Pure Bistro for dinner. What a delightful dinner we all enjoyed! Much laughter and merriment and by 09h30 our driver Sabrie was on hand to drive us all safely back to our farm!
Thursday morning dawned and we were ready to shop, after breakfast at the Burgundy Restaurant which is notorious for its views of the harbour! The ladies found TIGI (Dress shop) and were delighted! Oh my goodness all the purchases were loaded in the coach and we headed back to Stanford to Kleine Rivier Cheeses for a bit more retail therapy! Cheese and biscuits were purchased just in case we were all hungry after Marianas!
We all enjoyed a long languid lunch with Peter and Mariana at their delightful restaurant (Marianas) in Stanford. Starting lunch at 12h45 and only leaving the restaurant at 4.30pm and even then we could all have sat for a good while longer. Spirits were high that day and as our table was the largest in the restaurant we somehow seemed to be the centre-of-attraction. It was lovely to talk to others in the restaurant and find out where they were from! The lunch was really delicious!
That evening we all met at 6.15 for a light cheese and biscuit meal hosted by the Lemon Tree Cottage ladies! Great fun and talking well after 9.00 pm when we all called-it-a-day and hit-the-sack!
Friday morning we all headed just down the road to Die Plaaskombuis! What a delightful restaurant this is – their service is good; an excellent choice for breakfast; and another plus a shop full of interesting things to buy. Barbi had the buy of the day – a scarf that matched what she was wearing and she was only charged R20 for it – Bargain of the Day!! Die Plaaskombuis is to be recommended – what a fun breakfast we all enjoyed!
Next stop was Nouvelle Mushrooms along the Hemel en Aarde Valley road. Here Schalk had us all don hair nets and also had to cover our shoes. We were then taught introduced to the top class mushrooms they cultivate. Definitely a place to go to when in the Hemel en Aarde Valley.
Creation Wines was our next stop, where we could choose to do a cheese pairing or a charcuterie pairing – this occupied at least 2 hours of our day – amazing how long you can take if you are enjoying the company of others.
Next stop was Hemelrand where Hans and Mary-Ann Evenhuis warmly welcomed us to their farm! They grow and produce top quality olive oil as well as lavender products to-die-for! Their newly created shop which was finished in time for our visit, had its roof well and truly wet!! The ladies purchases olive oil / lavender and then some!! What a treat.
It was then time for a short rest back at High Season Farm before we headed out to Stanford Harvest for their Friday music evening. They have a local musician singing along and offer easy food – on the menu tonight was Mutton Curry and Rice served in a lovely, very large coffee mug, or Bobotie – also equally delicious!
Stanford Harvest was celebrating their FIRST year in business by inviting people who had supported them over the past year. Good to be in on the celebrations by default. Traveltime wishes Stanford Harvest all success in the years ahead!
By 9.00 pm everyone did not need any persuasion to travel back to the farm and we only just made it inside when the heavens opened! My goodness it rained on-and-off quite heavily the entire night!
Today we head home, so we were all up at the crack of dawn, packing and getting ready to head out to the Hermanus Country Market. We arrived without rain and were able to enjoy breakfast and wander around the market until at least 10h30, when the rain came down! Oh my goodness, then on to the next market – Hermanuspietersfontein, a foodie market in the Hemel en Aarde Village. Some more gathering and then by 11h30 we headed into Bot Rivier and the Shuntin’ Shed which has recently been taken over by new owners. What a delight it is! Excellent courteous service – most had pizzas which were pronounced delicious and a few enjoyed the Banting Burger – the rage at present – a delicious burger patty / with avocado / feta / but WITHOUT a roll!!
A stop at the Houw Hoek Farm Stall and the ladies were complaining they had NO money left in their purses! I’m not surprised as the packing shelves above the seats groaned with food and wine to take home!
It’s all in the way you travel the