By Naushad Khan
A few weeks ago we published an article entitled, “Come Sit, Stay & Savour Stellenbosch this winter”. The following words in the article particularly captured my attention: “experiences that encapsulate the bustling pulse, unique cultural mix and multifaceted offerings of this vibrant town”. The past weekend we made our way to the city of oaks to see what all this is about and were impressed to say the least.
Spending time in the country anytime of the year is special. Clean air, wide open spaces and my personal favourite, the special warm hospitality. Stellenbosch ticks all of the above.
Our drive was just short of 40 minutes from the city centre departing around noon via the N2. The beauty of doing Stellenbosch is the ease of getting there. Our lunch stop was at the Bodega Restaurant on the Donier Wine Estate. Housed in an old barn, this beautifully country styled restaurant is as warm and comforting as the food they serve.
Their tapas menu is a must try as it is a healthy serving of a variety of foods from their upcoming summer menu and is currently on offer for two to share. Think battered fish, mussels, freshly made dips and bread and deliciously baked pastry rolls. This does come with a bottle of wine on their current menu offering. For more details, visit www.donier.co.za.
I always say that country hotels have the luxury of space on their side and most use this to their advantage, which ultimately benefits the paying guest. Devon Valley Hotel, which was built in 1947 (previously Cedarwood Hotel), does this well and both the twin rooms and the double rooms are lavishly spacious, elegantly decorated and offer guests the most comfortable stay. I loved the king sized bed and linen in our suite, as well as the fireplace. It really made a difference when the weather turned on Saturday.
Devon Valley Hotel is minutes away from the town centre and is also surrounded by many boutique wine estates with a variety of food and activities to choose from. As part of the Come Sit and Stay campaign, Devon Valley Hotel has three lunch and dinner options to suit all guests. They even have accommodation packages with dinner, bed and breakfast packaged with activities to choose from. Check out their website for more info at www.devonvalleyhotel.com.
Our find of the weekend must be the Breytenbachs from Brenaissance. Tom and Hayley Breytenbach is a power couple in the new South Africa, living their dream and making things happen for them and the amazing team that they have assembled. The name Brenaissance comes from their surname Bre(tenbach) and (Re)naissance. It was their new start and an awakening in Stellenbosch. Brave enough to set up a pizza place on a wine farm, they have doubled in size in 12 months and you need to book two weeks in advance for some of the weekend lunches.
I have to say that they do make great thin base pizza, maybe the best I have ever eaten. But their sincere down to earth warmth and hospitality is the magnet that keeps guests flocking to their establishment. And Adam – the restaurant manager with his Mediterranean accent and made-for-the-job attitude – just makes the story better. For more on this amazing, Proudly SA story, visit www.brenaissance.co.za.
The pancakes and cupcakes pairing at Delheim Wine Farm had me baffled a bit, but the guys there have done some magic. I tried the pancakes and my guests who tried the paired wines confirmed the duo as a great match. The pancakes with salmon trout & cream cheese filling topped with caper berry shavings, and with lambshank and homemade caramelized onion and pickled pumpkin filling are real winners. Pancakes just moved up the gourmet ranks in my books. More details can be found at www.delheim.com.
Whether you are looking for a romantic mid-week escape or a weekend breakaway with the kids, Come Sit, Stay & Savour Stellenbosch – an initiative run by Stellenbosch 360 and Stellenbosch Wine Routes as part of the Stellenbosch Experience tourism marketing campaign – makes it possible for everyone to come and discover the winter wonders of the Winelands.
“Stellenbosch is a world-class, one of a kind destination worth much more than just a day trip or a wine tasting. With these packages visitors can experience the beauty, bounty and best of this wine tourism hotspot, without breaking the bank,” shares Annareth Bolton, CEO of the country’s first and foremost wine route.
“It is also the perfect base from where to explore surrounding regions like Cape Town or the spectacular coast-line, all within an easy 30 to 45 minutes drive. Even though our vines are now having their well-earned sleep after the harvest, our town is alive and buzzing with things to do, see and savour… some of which are completely for mahala,” she adds.
One such free attraction, which entices one to linger longer in the company of Stellenbosch and its interesting locals, is the town’s latest Come Sit outdoor sculpture exhibition – a project of the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust (SOST). Blending function and form, it consists of 24 minimalist concrete benches that have been placed in strategic locations around the centre of town and transformed into functional artworks of high aesthetic value, using various mediums and techniques.
* To make the most of the Come Sit, Stay & Savour Stellenbosch three-tiered, value-added packages on offer until the end of September, visit blog.wineroute.co.za and book your memorable experience now with Stellenbosch Travel at stellenboschtravel.co.za.