The LekkerBek Journey... in search of
by Wirie Rust
THE LekkerBek REASON FOR BEING
Christmas 2008, and there is great excitement in the
Rust household. The entire family, that is André,
whom his children call Shie, myself, Wirie, called Mie by my
children and Wir for short by my friends. Andanté,
our daughter and Arné,
our son, are all going to Lake Malawi for our Christmas
There is only one small problem, in my wisdom; I
decided each of us should pay for his own holiday. As an
Independent Marketing Consultant, the festive season is
lean. In December, the only advice sought by people, is
what presents they should buy for business associates,
friends and family.
The only solution for me is to start baking and
cooking, because I am good at that. Decision made, I put
on my apron and I start baking. Andanté
photographs my offerings, onto an e-mailer it goes, and
I tell my friends; “I have Christmas Goodies for sale”.
My table and house is known for good eating and
drinking. I get a great response, good enough to pay my
way to Malawi. The downside is, I have not stood on my
two feet baking and cooking for a very long time. My
geriatric back goes into a spasm, and I walk around like
a paper clip. My hands have blisters from finely slicing
my prized Xmas Biscotti. Every container in our house is
filled with homemade goodness.
My family has to help me with the packing and making
it pretty. Red polka dot boxes with striped lids,
striped boxes with red lids, black satin ribbon and
silver balls. It is all very festive and beautiful, and
my customers love it. I run around like a cat on a hot
tin roof, as more orders stream in – I am forever short
of something, a ribbon, a box or a cherry. Eventually, Gauteng departs on vacation, and I can catch my breath.
After sorting out everybody else’s Christmas Presents
I have completely forgotten about my own. Walking my 10 Rottweilers, two big ones and eight
puppies, babies of my beautiful Rottie, Bera Babuscka, I
start thinking about my own family and what to give them
for Christmas. I decide to give Andre a box of gourmet goodies;
after all, he is a “LekkerBek” (Lover of Food) Suddenly, in between my dogs sniffing and smelling,
it dawns on me. I should call this business “LekkerBek”
and not "Gourmet-Gift Baskets"!
Not to forget this monumental decision, I enter it on
my cell phone... the ‘forgettery’, is a problem. There is no way that I can make all this delicious
goodness myself, my back tells me that. I must find
people that make their own goodness and include it in my
gifts. We decide to divide South Africa into regions,
and our LekkerBek journey begins – in search of
The Great Karoo Journey
I was born in the Karoo, and that is where our
journey starts. My mother “Ouma Marie” still lives in
Victoria West, and I am taking “Lood” one of my Baby
Rottweilers, now 3 months old, to my brother’s son, Toi,
who farms in the Karoo.
and I pack our Colt bakkie, and with Lood on the
backseat we start our journey. We decide to drive via
Kimberley, the route has more small towns, in case we
want to stop. The roadwork’s are in full swing, we are
thrown off the road and back on again. Stop and Go, every
now and then. Probably fixing this for the Soccer Cup –
and my goodness, it needs fixing.
We stop at the “Kambro Padstal” just past Britstown,
to check out the goodness. Lood also needs to take a
walk, but as two resident dogs come sniffing, I jump back
into the Colt with
I just wanted to check out the goodness, not pick a
fight. Andanté does a quick recce, and we decide to
re-visit Kambro on our way back.
Ouma Marie lives in the ACVV old age home in Victoria
and I organize mattresses and we sleep on the floor, in
the old age home. Lots of time to talk and just to enjoy
each others company. At the tender age of 87 she still cooks herself a
home-made meal every day in her tiny kitchen. When we arrive, Toi, is waiting for us. He can’t
believe the size of Lood at only 3 months. It is
immediate love, but when he leaves with Lood, my heart
breaks. My baby Rottie , born in my house in
Johannesburg, and now he is off to live on a Karoo farm.
Beaufort West District
But, the main reason for this Karoo visit is to
search for home-made goodness for our LekkerBek Karoo
Gift Selection. Koeks, my sister in-law tells me of the
Nigrini’s who farm on Rhenosterkop, with the most
delicious olives and pickled garlic. We search for their
number, because the Karoo is vast and you don’t drive
if there is nobody home. Koeks calls enquiries with our
request, but this enquiries must be somewhere very
far. They do not know what a “renoster” is and neither
do they know a “kop.” Eventually, after much
frustration, we get the number. The Nigrini’s are at
home, and they have olives in stock.
Rhenosterkop is on your way to Beaufort West, past
Three Sisters and Nelspoort. Ouma Marie is not to be
left behind. She used to be a school teacher at
Nelspoort and wants to visit old haunts.
The dusty track to the farm is lined with olive
trees, and we know we are on the right track. Gorgeous,
old farmhouse with shady trees, and dogs in all shapes
and sizes, rush up to meet us. Janine, brings us a
tasting of her products in the “voorkamer,” whilst my
mother is sorting out the family. Everybody in the Karoo
knows each other, and if you search long enough, you
will be connected in some way!
The olives, olive oil and tapenade are delicious. We
over indulge in the pickled garlic – just so yummy you
can’t stop. Everything is beautifully packaged and
labeled, and yes, they can deliver to Johannesburg.
Delighted, we load our bakkie with a case of everything,
and hit the road back to Victoria West.
On impulse, I take the turn-off to Kromriver Station.
This is where my mother and father put me on the train
to go to Rhenish Primary School in Stellenbosch, when I
was 7 years old. As if it were yesterday, I can still
remember peering through the train window and see them
standing there. My father, hat in his hand, and my
mother looking very forlorn, waving me goodbye next to
our De Soto motorcar...
Back in Victoria West, we sit on my mother’s stoep
under the wild vine, and we drink wine. Andanté
is cooking for us, and Ouma Marie is advising her, every step
of the way. Mothers tend to do that, and so do
Grandmothers! Eventually, I tell Ouma Marie: “Leave the
child, she is a good cook”
We are all good cooks, three generations of us.
Victoria West District
That evening we visit my brother Pietie and his wife
Koeks - they now live in town. Koeks owns “Die Pophuis
Hoekie” – fabulous overnight guest cottages, and my
brother scans sheep to see if they are pregnant (like a
gynaecologist.) He knows every farmer, and what is
happening on every farm in the entire Karoo. He starts
organising our Karoo search for home-made goodness.
There are no more landlines, because the all copper cables
have been stolen. Cell phones only work if you stand
directly under the booster. We revert to what is
commonly known as the “boere-band”. You call
Perdjie, Perdjie, Perdjie... come in
Perdjie, Perdjie, Perdjie... and hopefully Perdjie
Perdjie is my brother’s son, who now farms on our
family farm Vlakfontein, with his wife Lize and two
little boys, Klein Pietie and Kapan. In the Karoo
everybody has a nickname. Petrus Johannes is Pietie,
Amelia is Koeks, Willem Schalk is Boet, Tobias Mostert
is Toi and Casparus is Perdjie. Perdjie, makes the best
droëwors and biltong in the entire Karoo!
The next day we drive 60 kilometers of dirt road to
Vlakfontein for wors and biltong. Perdjie and Lize now
live in the house that was my school, in the sixties. My
mother taught me Sub A and Sub B on the farm. I was the
only child in the entire school.
In the Karoo, you always eat when you arrive, you
don’t just pop in and out – farms are far apart and
towns are far apart. We have crumbed Karoo Lamb Chops
for lunch. For those of you that don’t know, there is a
saying in the Karoo: “If you feel like some greens, you
eat pork!” Needless to say, greens don’t make the Karoo
go round, lamb does.
After lunch we are off to the “vleiskamer” for our
stash of wors and biltong. We also load Lize’s “Bietjie
Baie Lekker – Sundried Tomato Dip”. We can’t quite
decide if it is a dip, or a condiment. Lize says she has
never heard of a “condiment.” Whatever, it is delicious
with freshly baked bread, on a biscuit with your cheese
board or with pasta.
On our way back to Victoria West, we stop off at the
farm Leeuwfontein. Growing up in the Karoo, Leeuwfontein
belonged to the Van Heerdens, and we used to go water
skiing on their dam when it rained. The new owners are
Marise and Barry Andrag, fresh blood. Word has it that
Marise makes the best jams in the Karoo, and that is
what we are after. Alas, it has been a dry year, and she
has no fruit or figs. She has her bottles and labels
lined up, so when it rains, we will be the first to
Time is running out in the Karoo. A farmer’s wife,
from Loxton, makes the best venison salami. We taste and
we love it. The Salami is a bit long for our Gift Box,
so we hope she can make it shorter for us. We buy every
rusk and cookie my mothers friend brings to the old age
Now we need some lamb to take home. Lamb is scarce in
the Karoo: when it is dry, there is no lamb. We
eventually find lamb at the N1 Butchery in town. Late
afternoon, before we leave, I drive to the butchery to
collect our lamb for the hungry boys we left in Joburg.
You must understand there are two stop streets in
Victoria West. One stop for the traffic going
North/South and one stop for traffic going East/West.
Happily, I cruise down the empty street, no handbag, no
purse, just me, collecting my lamb. The next thing
somebody screams at me: “Pull OFF, Pull OFF” There are
no parking bays, so I just pull off. It is the traffic
police from Britstown. “Where is your license?” “At the
Old Age Home” I reply. The fine is the price of the
Later, I find out that everybody knows when the
Traffic Police are cruising through Victoria West. (The
news spreads like wild fire!) Everybody, except me!
Our last night in Vic West we go for supper at the
“Merino Steakhouse” and my brother tells me: “Order the neck
of lamb”! I do, and get a whole neck of lamb on my plate.
Goodness, enough meat for a week in Joburg. Oh well, at
least we have ‘padkos’ for tomorrow’s journey. That night it starts raining, and the next morning we
leave for Johannesburg.
The journey back through the Free State
It is amazing what happens to the Karoo when it
rains. My father always said, if you listen very
carefully, you can hear the ‘veld’ grow. And grow it
did. Three days ago, it was brown, now it looks like a
fresh green carpet.
We decide not to negotiate the Stop and Go’s again.
We get off the N12 at Christiana, and drive back to
Joburg via the real Free State.
Hertzogville, Hoopstad, Bothaville, Viljoenskroon and
Vredefort. The road is quiet, just us, mealiefields, sunflower fields
and potholes. A dark blue storm is approaching on the
horizon – it is eerily beautiful. It reminds us of the
tornado catchers in America. We catch the tail-end of
the storm; I sit upright like a walking stick behind the
steering wheel – hazards flashing in the rain.
We stop in Parys, Andanté
browses in a ‘padstal.’ But my head is filled with Karoo
Goodness... I do not have space for Free State Goodness.
That will have to wait for another day. Maybe we will
just do Eastern Free State Cherry-Goodness, and leave
mealies and sunflower seeds. Having made that
decision, we get onto the main road, and I can’t wait to
see my husband, son, cats and dogs.
Our biggest problem when we get home is to convince
the boys that all the Goodness in the bakkie is for
LekkerBek, and not for them to nibble on while channel hopping! But
we did think of everybody, and they get a taste of Perdjies wors and biltong and Karoo Olives, the
Rottweilers love the lamb off cuts. The only unhappy
soul is Lilu, the human-cat. She prefers Whiskas Singles.
The ‘Wilde Tuin’
I was barely home for a week and I have to pack to go
to the Kruger National Park. Or, as my friend Marie
calls it: “The Wild Garden.” We are a group of eight
friends (girls only) that have been walking the
Wilderness Trails in the Kruger for the past 10 years.
This year we rent a mini-bus. We look like a taxi,
the designated driver. We also have to borrow a
“Ventertjie” – because 8 women have a lot of stuff. The
‘venterjie trailer’ is more rust than paint. One of us
has to continuously keep an eye on it, in case we lose
it along the way.
This is not a ‘LekkerBek’ tour, but I have
‘LekkerBek’ on my brain. Every time we take a break or
fill up with petrol I am into the ‘padstal’ checking out
the goodness. I find something delicious at every stop.
Paw-Paw Chutney, Mpumalanga Fire Chili Sauce, Sliced
Peach Jam, Marula Jelly, Sabie Coffee. The Lowveld or
Mpumalanga is going to be a journey on its own. That
evening we braai in Pretoriuskop – men please take note,
women are the best braaiers! We feast on chops, wors, toasted ‘braai-broodjies’ – finish off the
paw-paw chutney which is so good that we all want more.
Nothing like a choppy and chutney in the bush!
The Kruger Park is green and luscious. Grass as high
as your shoulder, and wet underfoot. Thank goodness,
because we only hear the Lions roar in the distance – they,
like us, do not like to get their feet wet. We meet a
very grumpy Rhino – who suddenly charges, with us
running like scared cats. At least he was not as
persistent as the Lioness who charged us the previous
year! We spend our nights sitting around the camp fire
under the stars.
Back from the Lowveld, with my samples of Home-Made
Goodness, I tell Andanté,
we need to spend some time searching – there is a lot
of stuff waiting for us. But first we must go to the
The Cape of Good Hope Journey
We have many reasons to go to Cape Town. Our good
friend is getting married in Franschoek, my
mother-in-law, Ouma Ala (96) lives there, and we know
there is a lot of goodness in the Cape.
We rent an apartment in Gardens in Cape Town. It is
nice and central to use as a base. I suddenly realise the apartment is a stone’s throw
from my old High School – Jan van Riebeeck. I can
actually see my old Biology class! Oh, the memories! Us,
going to ‘Die Groote Kerk’ holding onto our hats that
looked like flat soup bowls, while the South Easter
threatens to blow us down Kloof Street, into the sea. I
take a walk to the hostel, it looks exactly the same as
in the 60’s – something’s never change, do they? I
remember my father calling me every Wednesday morning on
the ticky-box at 5 to 6. Calls were cheaper, before 6 in
the morning. When the exchange operator said “Drie
minute om” (three minutes have passed) he put the phone
down, otherwise you were charged for 6 minutes. There
was no in-between. I explore Oranjezicht, De Waal Park, The Gardens, and
I see more in a day than five years spent in the hostel
just up the road.
The biggest problem with The Cape is that all the
food-, organic-, farmers- and
markets are held on Saturday mornings. How do you
yourself from Stellenbosch to
to Woodstock and Tokia in one morning? There is only one
solution... We will have to stay for two Saturdays.
Good enough excuse extending our Cape expedition. The
first Saturday, dressed for our wedding festivities in Franschoek we pass through Stellenbosch and the Farmers
Market at Bosmans Crossing. There is a lot of delicious
stuff, we look, we taste and we find what we are looking
for. Making contact and promising to follow up during
Our first real journey is into The Swartland. Much to
the surprise of Andanté,
my partner and daughter, who was born and bred in
Johannesburg, it is not ‘black’ as the name indicates.
Vistas of rolling fields of yellow and green vineyards
greet us. We head west, towards Darling, and drive along
a road lined with gigantic trees, probably planted by
Jan van Riebeeck himself. We find a farm stall, but on
closer inspection it turns out to be a general dealer.
Some you lose!
Around the next bend, a sign triggers Andanté’s
imagination, and off we turn onto a gravel road. There are roadwork’s, with massive Lorries scraping
and watering the road. We dodge and drive and end up at
a magnificent 18th Century Manor House – De
Groote Post Vineyards on Darling Hills. The tractors are
delivering the grape harvest as we park, and you can
smell the fermentation. Apparently this estate used to
be a Dairy Farm, but since 2001 the Pentz family has
been specializing in viticulture. We are happy – we have
always preferred wine to milk.
We taste a few wines, keeping in mind that we have a
long way to drive. We find the most gorgeous Groote Post
Noble Late Harvest. Beautifully packaged, the colour of
the sun, with flavours of peach and honey. Delighted, we
leave, and see Table Mountain winking in the distance.
We are following our noses, looking for a Farm Stall
that I either read or heard about and we end up 7
kilometers from Yzerfontein. We find a 'sort of' farm
stall, but it has lots of plants, fresh bread and elderly people eating breakfast. Not what we are
looking for – the West Coast will be another journey –
back to Darling we head.
Our first stop is Darling Olives – at first glance it
does not look like an olive farm, but when you enter
their barn there is no mistaking – this is an olive
farm. We are seated at a long wooden table, the kind
that I would love to have in my house, and the tasting
begins. Along the way we get taught everything about
olives. We taste Green Olives, Black Olives, Tapenade,
Olive Spreads, Dried Olives, Olive Jam, Olive Chutney
and also an Olive and Chocolate Salami. I had to get my
head around that one…. Olives in my head and chocolate
on my tongue? Not to sure…
The choice is daunting; we can’t fill up an entire
Gift Selection with Darling Olives. Andanté
is good at that. As a designer she looks at ‘what is
pretty’ and will look ‘pretty’ when packed together. We
choose the Green Olives, really delicious, Chili Tapenade – not hot, just spicy, Olive Chutney and
something different, Herbed Cheese Balls in Olive Oil,
because it’s delicous and beautiful! Small hiccup- they
have never delivered to Joburg. Not to worry, we will
take care of it, and off we go, destination Darling.
Darling is home to Pieter Dirk Uys and Evita’s Perron
– South African icons. It is not difficult to navigate
Darling, like most South African rural towns, it is one
street up, two down, with a church in the middle. In
Darling, we peck here and there, but it is mostly
Vetkoek and Stuff. We come across two locals enjoying a lekker cold beer
and steak, just past tea time! We follow the signs to Evita’s Perron –
and what an experience. CD’s tied to the
trees, floating in the wind. Evita’s humour does not
spare anybody, and is nobody’s fool. What a hoot! There is lunch to be had, but we are on a mission,
and even though we are very tempted, we continue on our
Just past Darling, on your way to Malmesbury we find
Darling Cellars. I must be brutally honest, I find most
Co-operative Cellars very generic. There is never a
sense of excitement and they all look the same. Same
entrance, same counter and basically the same approach.
All that differs is the region. Any way, we taste and
swallow, forgetting to spit – but nothing really grabs
us. So we continue on our journey.
Malmesbury seems a tad to big for us at this moment
in time. We cruise through, hoping to glimpse a
something or a sign that grabs our attention but alas,
the next thing, Malmesbury is behind us, and we are on
our way to Riebeeck Valley. To try and rectify our just
passing through we stop at Malmesbury Cellars. I sit
outside and admire the scenery. Andanté
pops in and pops out – what did I say about cellars?
I should just at this point, clarify that when we
browse and bounce out, it is not a reflection on the
products – there was just not that something special we
were looking for. So, no offence.
The Riebeeck Valley
The Riebeeck Valley sounds promising. Andanté
has previously organized a Mushroom Festival there – so
we know it is Good Food and Slow Food Country. The view
as you enter the valley, confirms just that. And we
can’t wait to explore.
Now we are hungry, the Darling Olives and sip of
Sweet Harvest has long gone. John, my ex-chef from The
Anton Van Wouw Restaurant days, told us about an eatery
we cannot miss. We search, up and down, by now I had
forgotten the name, and was hoping for some grey matter
to kick in. The grey matter predictably lets me down, and we opt
for lunch at The Barn, with beautiful views of the
valley. Our lunch companion is a cross-eyed resident
cat. No luck for him, as I was not about to share my
This is Shiraz and Olive Country, and we find a good
Shiraz – guess where? At Riebeeck Cellars! We were looking for a label that says it comes from
Riebeeck Valley, and this one made the cut. Shiraz in
our shopping basket we follow signs on a gravel road out
of town – something to do with a deli. We eventually
find the deli – it is Delico, and a farm butchery at that,
with cookies and goodies to boot. The lamb looks good,
and not too pricey, but unfortunately we are on the
road, so no good stocking up on lamb at this point in
Back into town we bump. There is a huge castle,
presiding over the valley. We drive in, and drive out.
U-turn, let’s try again. Ah, you must drive past the
cellar and the farm activities, and then you find the
entrance to the Castle – Het Vlock Casteel. They have a
tasting room, the size of a mini ball room, filled to
the brim with olive products and wine. Time is tight,
but we know our game: Find the most delectable goodness
in the shortest possible time. And we do.
Het Vlock Casteel Shiraz Dessert Dressing and
Boerejongens that go ‘pop’ in your mouth. (Boerejongens
are grapes in KWV Brandy) Both are delicious with
ice-cream. For good measure we also take a bottle of Het
Vlock Casteel Olive Oil. At the till, there is one
single fruit roll (tameletjie in Afrikaans.) I love
tameletjie, the sweet sour of the fruit does it for me.
No charge they tell me, it is our last one. Pity….. It
is the best tameletjie I have ever eaten, and I want
more, that is for sure!
insists on visiting the Olive Boutique, and I am like…. “I
am sure they are just selling other peoples stuff, like
a shop.” My daughter has a will of her own, and up the
hill we churn. What a gem the Olive Boutique turns out
to be. Not selling other peoples stuff, but making their
own. Juliana the owner has semi-grated from Johannesburg
– and I don’t blame her. We find the most delicious
Green Olive Mustard, Olive Tapenade and I try my taste
buds on the Olive and Chocolate Salami again. This time
I get my head around it – and it is good, and looks
We speed around the Mountain to catch Kloovenburg
before they close for the day. It is past 4, and we
realize this is not Joburg where you start a new
assignment at 4pm – in this valley it is locking up
time. We get to Kloovenburg, and it is indeed ‘lock up’
time. They very graciously unlock for us again. Now we
can’t taste, but we can look, and the looking is good.
They have the most fantastic Olive produce, and we
decide on the Shiraz Salt and their award winning Extra
Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil. The rest we can always
taste in Joburg – they are on a move.
Time to start moving back to The Mother City. We
drive through Paarl, and I tell Andanté
this is The Boland region, so that is for another day.
We do stop at a Farm Stall, they are busy cashing up –
so not much joy there. The Cape has knocked off for the
day, and we might as well do the same. The best part of
getting home is to unpack your loot for the day!
The Cape Peninsula
The next morning we awake to a howling South Easter.
Wind is not good for curly hair, and we both have curly
hair. We decide to contact all the foodies that I found
at the Stellenbosch Market, and to cruise the Winelands.
We also have an appointment in Stellenbosch with
Marilou; she is the best cook ever! Passionate, and
cooks with reckless abandon. Our plan is to team up with
her for LekkerBek Winelands Gourmet Tours in future.
Our first mission is to find the Stonehill Olive Farm
where Colleen and her family make delicious olives and
olive products. Instructions in hand we set off.
Klipheuwel Road, Left at first Stop, Left at Durbanville
sign, Right Turn onto the first gravel road, Left at the
Orange School – then you will see a sign ‘Lavender
Cottage’... We never found the Orange School or the
Lavender Cottage. I call Colleen, describing what I see
around us: Cows, lots of cows! No, no, no – they don’t have cows.
Eventually, she does not know where we are, and neither
do we. I decide to meet up with her at a later stage
because we are running late for our lunch date in Stellenbosch – and that is not negotiable.
The Stellenbosch Mountains are black from the recent
fire and still smouldering in places. Suddenly rain
starts sifting down – this is even worse for curly hair,
but we are happy for the mountain. Marilou has
delicious ideas, lunch in a vineyard, brunch on Table
Mountain and many more.
Just the thought of all this goodness is enough to make
your mouth water. Watch this space!
In the meantime we must find Anna-Helena, Lynne and
Jean-Luc whom I met at the Stellenbosch market, and try
and make some choices for our Winelands Gift. The Stellenbosch Winelands are vineyard upon
vineyard, estates to make you positively jealous, and
each manor house more beautiful than the last.
To find that something special is going to be a hard
task. We browse at every farm stall on the route –
eventually all I see is jams, and wines, and jams and
wines. I give up. Andanté
is desperate for suurvygies, we find some, but
they look like they have no jam in them, and even though
dry, they should be jammy.
We do manage to link up with Anna-Helena & Nicola who make
the most delicious dessert dukkah. Beautifully packed in
a tin wrapped with eco-friendly carton. We feel at bit
better, and set out to meet Lynne, one of the passionate
souls that makes the delicious “ Rosey’s Choppy –
Choppy.” I had bought a bottle at the market and it was so good
that we ate it with everything - to give it a bit of zing. She
and her husband are originally from Zululand, and their
home-made goodness is a combination of chili, feta & sun
dried tomato, and the result – a delicious condiment
with a lekker kick.
We also trace down Chefs@Work. We found their produce
at the odd farm stall – and we liked it. My biggest concern was that they might have a whole
factory churning out the stuff. To our delight, there
are actual people making it. Stunning Chili Oil, Herb
Bread Dipper and we also find Cape Figs in Balsamic
Syrup – irresistible.
Late afternoon we meet with Jean-Luc, a Frenchman who
hails from the DRC. He makes the most beautiful “Pink
Bubbly” La Vie en Rose, but we have not tasted it – and now
it is tasting time. Oh, the relief, when something is beautiful and it
tastes good! Jean Luc entertains us at his house in
Somerset West, on
“Pink Bubbly,” cheese, and biscuits and we also get to
taste his excellent Chardonnay.
We stock up and also buy some to take home to our
menfolk. We could happily spend more time with Jean Luc
and his fat furry cats, but it is getting late, and we
still have to negotiate the Cape Flats in our rented
wheels. We reluctantly leave the half bottle of bubbly,
and depart. Half-way down the hill Jean-Luc calls us:
“You have forgotten your wine you were tasting!” U-turn
on a hairpin, and back we race up the hill to claim our
half a bottle of bubbly.
Hunger pangs overwhelm us, and we head straight for
Gordons Bay Harbour. There is an icy wind and the pub is
warm and welcoming. They have a Guinness promotion and
you can win a gorgeous hat... so we have no choice – Guinness
it shall be, if only for the hat. The pub is rocking
with locals, and we have the most delicious meal of
Calamari, Fish and Fat Chips – in a pan.
Driving back to Cape Town after all this tasting and
eating takes major concentration. As we approach we see
the flames against Table Mountain. We enter through De
Waal Drive and see the blaze at Rhodes Memorial. It is
scary – flames leaping into the heaven.
The next morning we wake up to the incessant roar of
a helicopter. My first thought is: ‘It must be somebody
very important visiting the Mount Nelson Hotel.’ Then we
see three helicopters, flying in circles. They dip water
from the reservoir, fly up the mountain and release the
water onto the flames that have crept around Devils
Peak, fuelled by the wind. Every time they hit their
target, we cheer them on.
The Cape Winelands
With the constant droning of the helicopters, bravely
fighting the flames, we inspect our stash of LekkerBek
Goodness. It suddenly dawns on me, that we have a
problem with our Winelands Gift Selection. Andanté,
is thankfully not only beautiful, but also creative. She asks, “Where is the Blaauwklippen Road?” I know,
exactly where the Blaawklippen Road is, I spent three
years at Stellenbosch University driving past it on my
way to Bikini Beach. So that is where we are
Our initial plan was to explore the Boland
region today, so we will have to do Boland
Winelands, via the Stellenbosch Winelands – to Andanté
a born Vaalie, this is all very confusing. As far
as she is concerned, it all just vineyards and wine. We
travel to Blaauwklippen – destination Waterford Estate,
on Andanté’s recommendation. As we enter the Estate,
after bumping along a gravel road, I immediately
realize, this place means business. I stop, and paint my
lips….. Can’t rock up looking like I have been on the
Waterford Estate is something to behold, beyond ponds
with ducks and through an orchard you see the main
building, with the Blue Mountains as a backdrop. And
organized. We are met as we enter, and we state our
case. We don’t have much time – will have to skip the
seven tastings, but we desperately need to taste the
wine and chocolate pairing. Their motto: “Embracing
life, family, friends, food and wine”, and embrace us they
In their beautiful courtyard, we are presented with 3
sets of wine and 3 blocks of chocolate. What you do, is take a sip of wine, then a bite
of the chocolate that complements the wine, and then
another sip of the wine – and you repeat the process
with the rest.
The first wine is the Kevin Arnold Shiraz... mmmm
delicious; top it up with a bite of Masala Chai Dark
Chocolate... mmmmm sublime... Another taste of the Shiraz
– this is good stuff. Next is the Waterford Cabernet, paired with Rock Salt
Chocolate – just as good. Then for dessert you taste
Waterford Natural Sweet with Rose and Geranium Milk
Chocolate... This is what heaven should taste like!
We are sold; this is the best of the Winelands. Where
would the chocolate come from? It is so good, it must be
imported. The good news! It is handmade in Greyton, just
around the corner in the Overberg. Fantastic, we
lick our lips, wish for more, but we have two mountain
ranges to conquer today. Thank You – we are happy.
The Boland (Sort of)
We by-pass Stellenbosch, drive over Helshoogte
– just for the fun. Completely miss Franschoek, pop into
Fairview, by-pass Paarl and drive through Wellington.
Enough goodness for one day. Now for the scenic route. We drive via Bainskloof,
just looking and enjoying. We stop and look down into
the valley before us, and the ravine on the other side.
Such beauty- just enjoy.
We pass through Wolseley – destination Tulbagh. I
how we had to run out of the hostel in the sixties when
the earthquake hit Tulbagh – the distance you could feel
the tremors is insane. Tulbagh is quaint and beautiful.
We have lunch at the Paddagang Restaurant, with an army
of Blue Cranes. We pop into small shops, we find out
that there is local cheese, chocolates, olives, and
obviously wine. My problem at that stage is ‘Where does
Tulbagh fit into the LekkerBek scheme of things?’ Is it
Witzenberg? Boland? – I am confused, and we are short of
time. We have been, we have noted – let us park Tulbagh
We are in a hurry to get to Ceres – having read of
Baba, who makes delicious jams. On our way to Ceres, we
stop at an Olive Estate – new, smart and sexy – and we
taste. Alas, the olive tastes of curry – and we depart.
We also pop into a farm stall with local produce. The
Tannie offers me Olive Oil to taste in a teaspoon.
Yuk, this reminds me of childhood medicine. I suddenly
realise the day is long, and my tasting passion has
diminished with the day.
We find Baba in her purple house in Ceres. The door
is open and a frog croaks to announce your arrival. Her
house is stacked to the rafters with bottles of jam and
chutney. You taste in her kitchen. This kitchen is used
for cooking – the big silver pots are testimony to that.
Baba has jar upon jar of goodness. Eventually, we
choose. Baba, can’t give us a price, she must ask her
son to fire up the computer. Tell me about that, home
cooks and technology – always a problem.
Tonight, we sleep over in Worcester, with my varsity
friend Pannie and her husband Mossie. We were roommates
in Huis Ten Bosch. She has settled into small town
living, and cannot understand that I am forever busy
with some kind of business – that’s Joburg mentality for
you! Mossie produces the most delicious salami for us to
taste, made by a friend. His friend is in the Panorama
Clinic in Cape Town, for some ailment of sorts. We will
be in contact with him...
The Breede River Valley
The Nuy Valley
The next morning we tackle the Breede River Valley.
First stop, farm stall. Nothing new, we have by now seen
it all. Next turn left, into the Nuy Valley. We stop at
Conradie Family Tasting Stall. The pergola is covered with Autumn Vines and we have
to take a photograph.
The Klaas Voogds Valley
Back onto Route 62, roaring with Harley Davidson’s
and long weekend traffic, making our meandering very
difficult, everybody is in a hurry - you can’t cruise,
you have to drive. Thank goodness we get a gap to take
the Klaas Voogds turn-off. I have never been down Klaas
Voogds – did in fact not know that it exists. First we
find a succulent maze, looks interesting, but we are not
into succulents. We drive a bit further, and find a gem.
Signposted ‘Rusticus of the Land’. We are met by a dog,
who accompanies us to the cellar. We taste ‘Rusticus
Wild Fermented Merlot’. Gorgeous, and made by the family
in the traditional way. This is what LekkerBek is
The valley looks inviting, and we venture further
down, lured by a For Sale sign – LekkerBekke are good at
notices signs about something ‘Olive’- so in search we
go. We find “The Olive Garden” up amongst the koppies.
As we enter, a lady exits from the kitchen. “You have an
appointment?” “No” we answer, we are just following our
noses, and no appointments are made. She says: “Oh, ze
gate was open – I help you!” We state our mission, and
the next thing we taste the most divine olive oil and
olive and rhubarb jam – ever. The Olive Garden is also a
retreat, with the most divine cottages nestling on the
slopes of the mountain. Run by Belgian émigrés,
Gina and her husband Ferdinand. Klaas Voogds
indeed has gems!
Next stop Robertson. We taste a chili something that
knocks my socks off! Eish, too hot! We stop at the Cellar…… taste here, taste there,
looking for that special something. Next, we find a
spots a beautiful bottle; trust her – to find the
prettiest. We taste, it is delicious, Le Grand Chasseur
Port, especially after that robust chili. By now, our
biggest concern is: ‘How on earth are we going to get
all this stuff back to Joburg?'
Ashton, Montagu and Bonnievale
We continue on our journey.
Ashton, Cogmanskloof, Montagu. To me Montagu, belongs to
the Klein Karoo, and that is a journey for the
future. We are however so close, so let’s just check it
out. We buy a beautiful basket, to pack all our
LekkerBek shopping in. We pop into Montagu Dried Fruit,
and cannot resist the colourful raisins. Now we are
touring, I am positive we are overweight and flatly
refuse to buy anything else.
Bonnievale is peaceful, and beautiful, with flowers
lining the vineyards. Andanté
loves it. We must have a Bonnievale wine in our gift. We
can’t find wine that says it is made in Bonnievale, not
even at the cellar. All the labels read ‘Robertson’... what
We must see McGregor – never been there in my life.
All white-washed and quaint. We drink coffee and watch
the owners prepare for a wedding to be held there the
following day. I am
a bit jealous, I could live here... I am sure... and get in
touch with my inner self? On our way out, we miss the
main street, and to my surprise, a squatter camp. Well,
who would have thought that?
We head back to Cape Town through Du Toits Kloof.
Tomorrow is our last day in the Cape, and we have to
make it to all the food markets before we fly back to
The Mother City – Cape Town
Saturday morning first port of call is Ouma Ala,
a sprightly 96 years old. We take her a stash of
goodies, bought on our journey. Happiness! She tells us,
in the old age home you are always hungry. Even at 96
she is also a LekkerBek!
Our first stop is
Willow Creek market in Durbanville. I am not a
great shopper, and not very fond of malls. The market
has everything you wish for, fresh, homemade and
delicious. We are looking for non-perishable goods. We
Cajun Spice, Turkish Delight made by a Turk and
more olives. We drive to The Woodstock Market at the Old Biscuit
Mill. The place is choc-a-bloc. Our little car is loaded
with goods, gathered over a week. We find parking,
virtually on the slopes of Table Mountain, hoping the
car guard is not a skelm.
The Market reminds me of the markets in Provence!
Everything you can think of, and more. It is also a
place to be seen and to meet for lunch. We push and
shove, taste and taste, now looking for stuff that is
light in weight and different. We find delectable
cookies, yummy pesto, but it needs a fridge, organic
wine, hanepoot grapes and a pomegranate. We buy flat
Italian bread topped with rocket, Parma ham, parmesan
shavings and drizzled with Balsamic reduction – made by
a showman. We creep in under a little tree, and eat with
our hands – Yummy!
Next destination, Tokia Organic Market. We drive in
circles, and then we are in the forest, next we are on
our way to Houtbay. Everybody gives us different
directions. We bump in to a troupe of baboons crossing
the road. The “Friends of the Baboons” are directing the
traffic. A Lady Friend of the Baboons instructs us
exactly where the market is – we’ve been there, just made
a U-turn too soon! By the time we get to the market, we
are too late.
Oh well, next time!
It is - as always when you have to leave Cape Town - a
fantastic day. Off we go to Kalkbay – got to enjoy this
last day. The Kalkbay Harbour is packed, people queuing
for lunch. We squeeze our little car into a tiny space,
and take a walk on the harbour. We drink wine and eat
slap chips. Just sitting in the sun, enjoying our
last special moments before we fly back to Joburg with
all the delicious and special homemade goodies we found
on this journey.
The LekkerBek Journey will continue
in search of goodness.