• We’ve gone off the beaten track to root out the best delis in little towns around SA.

    By Malu Lambert, Kate Turner and Tony Mills  

    The Clarens Village Grocer

    The Clarens Village Grocer

    Offering specialised produce from the area; discover the taste of the Highveld at this unassuming town deli.

    Best for: A unique breakfast spread.

    Menu: Wild berries of every kind made into jams, sauces and chutneys. A must-try is ‘nastergal’ jam made from a purple berry that “grows like a weed” in the veld. There’s an assortment of cheeses from the region too: the soft-centred Ficksburger comes highly recommended. Expect plenty of regional meats and produce, plus there are treats for the body – don’t miss the rose-hip oil.

    Something special for the pantry: Balsamic vinegar infused with local cherries.

    New on the shelf: Whole and flaked smoked trout (priced by weight).

    Added extra: Opt for a plate of oysters of a different kind and fill your larder with varieties of Umpukane Gourmet Mushrooms.

    281 Main St, Clarens; 058-256-1768

    The Brewery and Two Goats Deli

    Pet the goats or just flop into a hammock while waiting for your charcuterie board. This deli serves an addictive selection of artisanal beers, cheeses, salami, coffee and breads in the central Karoo.

    Best for: A lazy alfresco graze under the 100-year-old pear and pepper trees, after checking out The Owl House.

    Menu: Cheeses produced with milk from goats and cows, as well as natural ales microbrewed on site. A charcuterie board comes piled with smoked kudu slices, olive tapenade, home-made chutney and a smorgasbord of organic handmade goat’s milk cheeses – chèvres infused with brandy and honey, foudjou, feta, caprino, Gouda with Karoo herbs and a sharp Cheddar.

    Something special for the pantry: Handcrafted brined feta cheese, and André’s pale-hued honey ale is sublime.

    Added extra: Hand-roasted coffees from the on-site roastery, and the bakery churns out daily treats.

    Pienaar Street, Nieu Bethesda; 049-841-1602/076 512 9026

    Oskars Delikatessen

    Oskars Delikatessen

    Located in the heart of bustling Hermanus, this stylish deli pairs gourmet goods with vintage finds.

    Best for: Home-baked goodness.

    Menu: The aroma of breads, pastries and cakes – baked from scratch – mingles with the scent of roasting coffee at this chic little hole-in-the-wall. Run by a mom and her two daughters, the family sources local products and celebrates their origin. The slowroasted lamb and mint pie is a favourite.

    Something special for the pantry:
    The home-made muesli on the breakfast menu became so popular they had to start packaging it to go. The recipe is a family secret.

    New on the shelf: Rosendal Wine Vinegars infused with flavours like lavender and buchu (R89 – R99 for 300ml).

    Added extra: Looking for a gift? Find exclusive ornaments on the shelves too.

    5 Harbour Road, Hermanus; 028-312-3873

    The Rose Cottage Store

    Rose bushes are abundant at this fragrant oasis in Dullstroom, and so is small-town charm.

    Best for: Filling a basket with organic seasonal produce.

    Menu: A visit to the cottage shop is like coming home to grandma: stock up on dried peaches and fruit rolls, sticky plaits of koeksisters, real melktert and the like. There are different kinds of rusks and buckets of biscuits too. Stop and smell the roses on the wraparound veranda while relaxing with tea and scones; the restaurant also offers breakfast and light meals. Inspired by the fabulous foliage? They don’t sell their roses, but ask for a cutting of the ‘lavatera’ shrub to take home for your own garden.

    Something special for the pantry: Line your shelves with a selection of the seasonal range of jams and preserves.

    New on the shelf: Oven-baked local smoked trout pies (R25 each).

    Added extra: Don’t leave without a litre of farm milk – it’s so fresh the cream is still floating on the top.

    60 Hugenote Street, Dullstroom; 013-254-0218

    Cavalieri Cheese

    Quench your thirst for all things Italian, and enjoy a good cappuccino while you’re at it.

    Best for: A long, languid picnic lunch with all the trimmings.

    Menu: Global importers of high-end produce, this store waves the green, white and red proudly while also incorporating Mediterranean-style goods from the area. Channel la dolce
    vita with olives, charcuterie, cheese (lots of cheese), pasta, venison, guinea fowl, smoked trout and more. There are also heat-and-eat filled pastas for you to take home. Feeling peckish? Grab a panini from the coffee shop.

    Something special for the pantry: The pickled quail eggs are a treat.

    New on the shelf: Imported Italian biscuits, Krumuri (R41,95 per packet).

    Added extra: They offer the full range of mozzarella from Puglia Cheese, including burrata, nodini and sfoglia.

    30 Waterfall Ave, Riverside Industrial Park, Nelspruit; 013-752-6438

    De Tol Store

    Discover a paradise of preserves, along with hearty meals, local produce and a picturesque setting to boot.

    Best for: Plaasbrood (farm bread) baked every morning to be enjoyed with slatherings of home-made jam.

    Menu: There are all the usual rusks and biscuits, but what makes De Tol truly special are traditional preserves like ‘Boeremeisies’ – apricots soaked in brandy. The citrus season stretches from March to October, and whatever’s dropping off the trees at the time can be found here. There’s also a restaurant that serves light meals as well as beverages. And, when in rooibos country… the farm stall offers the patriotic tea year round, in loose leaf and bagged forms.

    Something special for the pantry: Pop a bottle of home-made granadilla liqueur into your shopping bag.

    New on the shelf: Try one of the citrus syrups over pancakes, in a cocktail or to flavour a glass of water: lemon, orange or granadilla (R38,99 for 750ml).

    Added extra: Drop by on a Sunday for a traditional potjiekos served with salad and freshly baked bread.

    N7, Piekenierskloof Pass, Citrusdal, Olifants River Valley, Western Cape; 022-921-2792

    Vygevallei Farmstall

    Owned by Nuweland Fine Food and Wine, producers of wine and preserves, Vygevallei serves as a showcase for the farm’s bounty.

    Best for: Eating delicious, humble pie.

    Menu: Expect sheer Swartland alchemy piled on the shelves, from preserves, pickles and chutneys to cordials and wines. They’re known for their freshly baked bread, and also offer light meals at the restaurant. Plus, they have a large play area for the kids and there’s the opportunity for them to help feed the farm animals.

    Something special for the pantry: The olive and lemon jam is the stuff of legends.

    New on the shelf: Mont Rouge Olive Caviar (R69,50 for 300g).

    Added extra: Make sure to pay a visit to the Wine House to taste not only Nuweland’s wines, but a varied selection from the Swartland region.

    Just off the R27 opposite Jakkalsfontein, Darling, Western Cape; 022-492-2586.

    Greyton Village Grocer

    Meet the locals while browsing the charcuterie offering. This deli has all you need and is at the heart of what’s happening in Greyton.

    Best for: Stocking up for a foodie weekend away.

    Menu: Seasonal fruit and veggies abound. There’s both imported and local charcuterie and cheese, a bakery that does a roaring trade with fresh bread, pastries and cakes daily (and noteworthy rye bread), not to mention all the olive oils, vinegars and pâtés. This is your one-stop shop with ready-made meals too – try the speciality salads.

    Something special for the pantry: Gabriëlskloof’s award-winning olive oil. New on the shelf Truckle’s Pecorino Cheese (priced by weight).

    Added extra: This deli has all you need to have the braai of kings, with a variety of meat cuts including fillet steaks, lamb chops and T-bones.

    43 Oak Str, Greyton; 028-254-9739

    Grass Roof Farm Stall Deli

    Grass Roof Farm Stall Deli

    Offering produce grown on the property, 50 per cent of the products are organic. Enjoy relaxing close to the sea at this coastal deli.

    Best for: Freshly baked bread.

    Menu: Delicious roasted stuffed peppers with a choice of tasty savoury mince or a healthy vegetable filling, served with a salad. To complete the meal, scrumptious gluten-free brownies served with fresh cream or ice cream.

    Something special for the pantry: A huge range of olive oils from Prince Albert in the Karoo. New on the shelf Gluten-free range of breads and desserts.

    Added extra: A wonderful choice of fynbos, citrus and blue gum honey and a large selection of aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, spring onion and lettuce.

    Corner new Seaview Road and Heron Road, 11km from Port Elizabeth; 041-366-2379.

    Weskus Spens

    Weskus Spens

    Welcome to the land of salt and honey: an eclectic West Coast store with delicious things aplenty.

    Best for: Local, fresh honey.

    Menu: The main draw card here is the fresh honey produced in the area. There’s also local Khoisan Sea Salt, freshly baked bread, country pies and more. They make knock-out  homemade ginger beer – and if you’re so inclined, there’s a seating area to enjoy a light meal with your fiery beverage.

    Something special for the pantry: If you’re lucky, there’s sometimes fresh honeycomb to snap up.

    New on the shelf: Soothe dry hands with honey-infused creams by Simply Bee (R70).

    Added extra: Take home some enamel crockery or a souvenir West Coast T-shirt.

    R27, before Vredenburg turn-off, Western Cape; 022-715-4400