By Melissa Cohen
The beautiful, quaint town of Stellenbosch is home to one of the most unique markets I have ever been to. The Courtyard Market, located in the peaceful setting of the Woodmill, hosts this exquisite affair, which provides families, students and holiday makers with the chance to enjoy an evening of entertainment, good food and friendly, welcoming people.
The market takes place on the last Friday of each month from 5.30pm to 10.30pm (take note, however – the last market of 2013 will take place on December 13), and promises to provide visitors with a new experience each time they come and visit. I was very interested in going to experience the market firsthand, so I took a leisurely drive to Stellenbosch last Friday to see what makes this market different.
The beautiful setting caught my eyes first as I was taken aback by the lay out of the venue and the surroundings. The smell of freshly cooked food grabbed my attention from the minute I entered the venue. The outdoor section – which provides visitors with benches to relax and eat their food on – welcomed me with children laughing and a loud symphony of chatter from the many people relaxing there.
The actual venue, which is inside a warehouse, was abuzz with lots of people scurrying around from one food stall to another, trying, tasting and buying the delicious array of cuisines on offer. The food options were endless and each stall had something unique to tickle the fancy. From homemade cakes and biscuits to curries and Thai food, this market definitely tries to cater to everyone’s taste.
“I would really recommend this market to anyone who enjoys good entertainment and a good time”, mentions one of the stall owners. Another seller went on to mention that the reason for the Courtyard Market being unique and different from other markets is because it is hosted in an indoor venue. There is always different live musical acts and it’s an evening market, which as they went on to mention, there aren’t too many of around the city.
As I walked past the different stalls, each stall owner greeted me with a big smile and was very excited and passionate to discuss what they were selling. It was so lovely to walk around and feel the hospitality that these people were extending to visitors. I felt as though each stall told a different life story and by chatting to each of these people, I was being welcomed in to their lives. This helped me feel comfortable and resulted in an instant attachment with the sellers, their offerings and the market.
The Courtyard Market is also a themed market and throughout the year, each event provides visitors with a new theme. The market that I went to was in the grips of a Movember Campaign, for instance. It was clear that many of the staff were getting behind the campaign as they sported their “Mo’s” on their cakes and other products, as well as on their faces. A barber was even on call for anyone who was letting go of their “Mo”.
All in all, this market is definitely the place to take the kids for some family time, or even a friend or partner. So be sure then not to miss out on the last market for the year taking place on Friday December 13.
* For more information, visit www.thewoodmill.co.za.