The Swartland: Little Black Book

The Swartland

Where to eat, stay and shop while you’re in the Swartland.

Where to Eat while you’re in the Swartland

With a shady terrace for those searing summer afternoons, Riebeek-Kasteel’s Bar Bar Black Sheep (022-448-1031; bbbs.co.za) is one of my favourite Swartland eateries, although the quirky decor and menu splashed across one wall easily attracts diners indoors. Food is unfussy country fare with a twist: try the Bar Bar Lamb Burger with guacamole and bacon, or the legendary viskoekies. And there’s a great wine list from local boutique winemakers.

Around the corner on Sarel Cilliers Street, Mama Cucina (022-448-1676) is the new offering from stalwart Riebeek restaurateurs Johan and Coenie – it’s first names only out here – of (now-closed) Auntie Pasti. The casual approach carries through to this larger space, with the happy addition of wood-fired pizza to the dependable blackboard menu of risotto, lasagne and meaty dishes.

On Church Street, a short walk from town, Café Felix (022-448-1170; cafefelix.co.za) offers charming alfresco lunches and cosy dinners in an upmarket bistro setting. Although the menu is rooted in France, it occasionally takes flight to Asia.

For a caffeine fix the morning after the night before, stop in at Beans About Coffee (082 901 2113; beansaboutcoffee.co.za) on Fontein Street, where the beans are roasted on site, and Thomas Jamneck can steer you from Guatemala to Ethiopia. Order a flat white and a bag of beans to go; you won’t be disappointed.

Taste 

While The Swartland Revolution weekend offers a chance for the region’s new boutique estates to enjoy some limelight, Allesverloren (022-461-2320; allesverloren.co.za) is the oupa of the valley famed for producing big, bold shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.

Another big-hitting stalwart of the valley that’s worth a visit any day of the year is Kloovenburg (022-448-1635; kloovenburg.com). Here winemaker Pieter du Toit produces outstanding shiraz alongside his sought-after chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. The award-winning olive products are the brainchild of wife Annalene, and the elegant cellar tasting room allows you to dip into both.

Of all the revolutionaries to make their mark on the Swartland in the past 15 years, few have done as much as Eben Sadie of Sadie Family Vineyards (076 151 7131; thesadiefamily.com) to put the region on the map. His flagships Columella and Palladius are lauded worldwide and command correspondingly high prices. With the farm not often open to visitors, your best bet for a taste is at The Wine Kollective in Riebeek-Kasteel.

Up the road from Sadie’s farm, Lammershoek (022-482-2835; lammershoek.co.za) is open by appointment and well worth a visit. Winemaker Craig Hawkins uses some maverick techniques, but the stellar Roulette – a blend of syrah, carignan and grenache – and single-vineyard Syrah are both outstanding.

Where to shop while you’re in the Swartland

If a boot-load of wine is top of your shopping list, The Wine Kollective (022-448-1008; thewinekollective.co.za) in Riebeek-Kasteel is a good option, stocking dozens of wines from the area’s boutique producers. With both fresh produce and imported gourmet goodies, Crisp (022-448-1769) next door is a good bet if you’re self-catering.

You’ll find more fresh produce at the Funky Fresh Market in Riebeek West, held from 9am – 2pm on the first Saturday of each month. There’s also no shortage of olive products out here: aside from Kloovenburg try the range of flavours at Het Vlock Casteel (022-448-1488; hetvlockcasteel.co.za) or The Olive Boutique (022-448-1368; oliveboutique.com).

Where to stay while you’re in the Swartland

There’s no shortage of self-catering cottages and B&Bs in Riebeek-Kasteel, but the Kloovenburg Pastorie (022-448-1635; kloovenburg.com) should certainly be top of your list. Ideally suited to a small group travelling together, this historic parsonage two minutes’ walk from town offers three spacious double bedrooms and stylish living areas.

In the centre of town the historic arches of the Royal Hotel (022-448-1378; royalinriebeek.com) mark a popular overnight stop, while the elegant farmhouse-chic rooms at Bartholomeus Klip (022 448 1087; bartholomeusklip.com) are best suited to nature lovers in search of a little peace and quiet.

Don’t forget to pop in at the following if you get the chance:

L’Aurore (aka Helmut’s Place), 77 School Street, Aurora; 022-952-1755

Desert Rose Farm Stall
Also known as the Koringberg Mall, the locals go there for their milk and freshly baked bread. There’s good coffee, home-made ginger beer and breakfast and light meals, too. N7, Koringberg turnoff; 082 884 8714

DeTol, N7, Piekenierskloof Pass
Famous for their pies and boiled sweets. 022-921-2792

Paternoster se Padstal
Yummy preserved seafood like pickled calamari and rollmops. St Augustine Street, Paternoster; 082 541 9007

Vyge Valley Farm Stall
Heavenly bakes, preserves and jams from the farm. Also other goodies like regional olive oils. R27 opposite Jakkalsfontein, near Yzerfontein turnoff. 022-492-2586.

By Richard Holmes

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