Oudtshoorn, Prins Albert and back home again
October 28, 2010 in Uncategorized
For the final leg of my October road trip I decided to go hunting for Oudtshoorn’s culinary hideaways, before crossing the Swartberg mountains and journeying into the proper Karoo.
It’s been a few years since I’ve visited the Ostrich Palace Capital, and I was pleasantly surprised by all the new culinary discoveries that have popped up all over town.
I had a wonderful breakfast at Cafe Brule at the Queen’s Hotel, made some delicious cheese discoveries at the Tantinki goats cheese factory, had a most delicious pizza at the new Italian eatery, Bella Cibo, and tasted myself more than tipsy through an array of local wines, liqueurs, brandy and jerepigos at the Kango wine centre.
And of course there were ostrich eggs everywhere, even in the supermarket – a sure sign that you’re in Oudtshoorn.
From here it was onwards to Prins Albert, via the dreaded Swartberg pass. But after all the warnings and big talk, I found it dangerously beautiful rather than life-threateningly scary.
Still, I had to reward myself for my bravery so I had dinner at African Relish. What a stunning venue, and what lovely, friendly people – chef Vanie Padayachee (pictured top right) in particular. She can certainly teach grumpy, temperamental chefs the world over a thing or two – there’s no swearing and throwing pots and pans in her kitchen.
My starter was as mild-tempered yet vibrant as Vanie herself – crunchy watermelon, rich avo and coriander salad with thin slices of radish. For mains I had kudu fillet which paired beautifully with an amazingly smooth Bergwater Cabernet Sauvignon vintage 2005.
The next morning I visited Gay’s magical Guernsey dairy – lock me up in this place for a day and I will achieve cheese nirvana! I picked up a beautiful and deliciously creamy black pepper gouda – yes a whole one, I couldn’t resist – and it has travelled all the way back to Paternoster with me. I can’t wait to incorporate it on the menu.
I also discovered an award-winning new olive oil: the Karoo Blend from Prince Albert Olives, which we’ll hopefully stock in the shop soon.
And so it was time to head back home, meandering through the Klein Karoo, the mountainous Overberg and Boland regions, onwards to Cape Town and my beloved Southern Peninsula and eventually back up the West Coast…
… but not before doing a final stop at Ronnie’s famous Sex Shop on Route 62, where I had the best roadside burger in forever:
Back in Paternoster I have jumped right back into the deep end, furiously planning and preparing for the Slow Food lunch I’m hosting on Saturday.
I’ll be cooking a 7-course pescatarian menu with a few unconventional twists, and I’m hoping that some of my holiday spirit will spill into the dishes and onto the plates.