Dining in Darling – The spring flowers may bring visitors to Darling, but it’s the food that will make them stay

Stopping to smell the flowers: The spring flowers may bring visitors to Darling, but it's the food that will make them stay.

Dining in Darling

By: KATHARINE JACOBS: EAT OUT Aug 24 2011 10:01

The weather forecast looks a little ominous as I pack my bags for Darling. Rough seas, high winds and heavy rainfall are on their way, and one blog promises winds just short of a hurricane. “Should I bring my slippers, or my huge granny jersey?” my friend, Kerry, who’s coming along, asks. “Both,” I tell her, surveying my own collection of granny jerseys.

72 kilometres up the West Coast from Cape Town, Darling is perhaps best known for its spring flowers. Thousands flock there in September for flower season, when the farmland around this tiny village becomes a carpet of yellow daisies, arum lilies, and shiny fuchsia mesems. The season is about to kick off on September 2 with the Darling Voorkamerfest, when musicians, dancers and actors take over 21 local homes, and local taxis ferry viewers between performances.

It’s already dark when we arrive in Darling, and, after dropping off our bags at the eminently quirky Koekemakranka Backpackers (mosaics in the bathroom; bathtub in the garden), we take refuge in cosy pizzeria, Tesoretto. Opened just three months ago, this main street establishment proudly proclaims itself the smallest restaurant in Darling. Sure enough, its pizza oven takes up roughly one quarter of the restaurant. We squeeze in behind the door, alongside the happily snoozing and somewhat tubby cat, Tess, and order a fabulously cheesy mushroom bake to start (R22.50).

The restaurant has no liquor license, but a quick trip across the road to the Darling Hotel Drankwinkel for a bottle of Darling Cellars Pinotage averts disaster, and we tuck into rich macaroni cheese, served with tasty pizza bread (R35.50) and wood-fired pizza, (the Sombrero) with Mexican mince and avo (R60). It’s not haute cuisine, but it certainly hits the spot on this chilly night.

The spring is sprung
The next morning, we’re woken by a cock crowing, and not gale-force wind and pouring rain, but something even more surprising: sunshine. The sky is perfectly blue, and the flowers are just beginning to open in the lush fields along the road.

Happily shedding woolly jerseys, we head to The Marmalade Cat in search of breakfast. The eponymous Marmalade is not in attendance, but there is a giant statue of her outside, and several knitted, sculpted and painted versions inside the attractive restaurant. The pancakes with scrambled egg, smoked salmon and cream cheese (R40) are perfect.

Artisan cheese-maker Carla Bryan also sells her Udderly Delicious range of cheeses here. In a real community industry, Carla makes her cheeses in her own home, relying on her neighbour to pick up sixty litres of milk from the farmers each evening, and passing on the whey leftovers to the locals who feed it to their pigs. “I can only make three cheeses a day, so I can’t really supply the big centres. I tell people, ‘Come to Darling!'” Carla explains, as I nibble some of her wares.

Nominated for an Eat In Award by blogger Dax Villaneuva, they’re worth the trip. Her caciotta is creamy and smooth when only matured for a couple of weeks, and becomes nutty and rich after six weeks or more. There’s also delicious salami on offer, made by local Jeep mechanic and Carla’s boyfriend, Russell Kent.

While we’re here, we also manage to meet up with Phillippa Wood of Darling Brew. Along with husband Kevin, she’s currently producing three artisan beers — a normal lager, a native ale, and a wheat beer brewed with coriander and citrus.

The couple began their adventure after Kevin quit his job and they decided to travel Africa for 10 months and come up with a new business plan.

After travelling for just three days, they met artisan brewer Andre Cilliers in Nieu Bethesda, and bought his recipes. Phillippa asked her husband, “Isn’t it a little early to have found our idea?” Evidently, it wasn’t: they are currently working hard to set up a tasting room on Darling’s main road, which will showcase their beers alongside tasting platters of local cheeses and other snack plates.

Visiting Tannie
When we finally emerge from the Marmalade Cat — straight into a full marching band — we make a bee-line for Evita se Perron. Home to Pieter Dirk Uys’s hilarious shows, the restaurant is better known for its entertainment than its food, but locals rave about the bobotie, melkterts and koeksusters baked by local tannies, rumoured to be worth the calories.

The show is booked out for the day, so we head to Bistro Seven to pick up some lunch. Run by Kit and René Haslam, this pleasant restaurant and sports bar has been running for nine years, but also recently opened up a coffee bar. Somehow we are distracted by a towering red velvet cake, and a chocolate tart that looks like it’s composed of solid chocolate. Since the weather is so beautiful, we order slices for the road.

As we leave Darling, we stop off at the Tienie Versveld reserve, and sit in the sun amongst the flowers to eat the spectacular red velvet cake.

“We should have bought spoons,” says Kerry, pointing to the gooey and delicious chocolate tart. “Yes,” I say. “And fewer jerseys.”

Where to eat in Darling 

For breakfast and lunch:

Evita se Perron: Book ahead, catch a show. And order the bobotie.

For breakfast, lunch and dinner:


Trinity Lodge
: Booking is essential at this guesthouse. Minimum ten people.

Marmalade Cat:
 Open for breakfast and lunch, they also fire up the pizza oven on Friday nights.

For lunch and dinner: 

Bistro Seven: Fabulous meat and a good option for dinner, or lunch, sitting outside under the umbrellas.

Hilda’s Kitchen at Groote Post
: Easy-going country fare at this wine estate restaurant.

Lelieblom: Book ahead and enjoy a real country meal made in the farm kitchen.

For dinner:

Tesoretto: Darling’s smallest restaurant, this is a good option for an affordable dinner.


Go to www.eatout.co.za for more restaurant listings and reviews.


What’s happening in Darling during May 2011?

REFLECTIONS OF GROOTE POST AT HILDA’S KITCHEN

Groote Post, the historic wine farm on the West Coast, presents a wine experience with a difference. Groups, of between 10 and 20, are entertained in the Private Room of the Manor House to a wine tasting in which the farm owners give a brief presentation on the history of the farm dating back to 1706. The talk includes anecdotal references to Hildagonda Duckitt, doyenne of South Africa’s cook book writers, whose “Diary of a Cape Housekeeper” is an account of her growing up as the hostess of the Groote Post farm in the 1860s. Guests enjoy 4 white cultivars and a starter followed by a tasting of 4 red wines and a main course followed by a dessert.

Bookings are essential and can be booked through the cellar on 022 492 3430 or e-mail: mclaughlin@worldonline.co.za.

 

Evita se Perron

To find out what’s on the programme during this month, please visit www.evita.co.za  or contact Beryl on (022) 492 3930 for enquiries/bookings or e-mail bookings@evita.co.za 

The Theatre/Restaurant/Bar, Boerassic Park & Evita’s A en C (arts & crafts) are open Tues to Sun from 10h00 to 16h00. for visitors to enjoy the vibe.

Saturday 07 May

Open house at Duckitt Nurseries from 9h00 until 12h00.   These Open Days take place every first Saturday of the month May – November. Admission is free. Complimentary tea and coffee. Various orchid pot plants, spikes and accessories for sale in pack shed. Debit and credit card facilities available. One of the greenhouses will be open to the public. Contact: 022 492 2606 or e-mail:  info@duckittnurseries.com www.duckittnurseries.com

Please be advised that the Orchid Shop on the Oudepost Farm, will be open from May until October – Monday until Thursday – 09h00 until 12h00. The Orchid Shop has a variety of orchid pot plants and accessories for sale. Orchid flower orders can also be done directly through Lynne. Contact: Lynne Duckitt at 022 492 2368 (The Orchid Shop is separate fromDuckitt Nurseries)

MOTHERS DAY:- Sunday 08 May 2011

Buffelsfontein Game & Nature Reserve – Mother’s Day Menu

Fresh Home-Made Bread / Cream Mushroom Soup

***

Leg of Lamb in Mint Infused Gravy / Pork & Dried Fruit Stew / Deep Fried Hake

Vegetables in Season / Roast Potatoes/ Savoury Rice

Apple & Pecan Nut Salad / French Salad / Curry Green Bean Salad

***

Tiramisu / Cappuccino Mouse

Coffee/Tea

R175 per person R75 per child under 12 years

(Reservations essential) 022 451 2824/072 356 4797

 

It’s Mother’s Day at Lelieblom

Treat your wife and/or mother to a lovingly prepared, relaxing, laid back and traditional Mother’s Day Lunch on the farm!

Let us spoil her, make her day special…WHY… because…she DESERVES it!

R180.00p/p Children under 12 R75.00 p/c

Bring own wine.

Every Mom will receive a small gift from Lelieblom

Please book in advance: Karen 082 573 7736 karen@lelieblom.co.za

www.lelieblom.co.za

 

Mother’s Day @ the Marmalade Cat

Starter

Smoked Salmon Potato cakes

Spinach and Ricotta crepes

Mains

A choice of:

Lamb shanks served on mustard mash

Coq Au Vin on creamy mash

Bombaystyle fish on Basmati rice

Country veg bake

Desserts

Crème Bruleè

Lemon Meringue

R130-00 per person Bookings 022 492 2515

 

Sunday 15 May 2011

Owen Brits accompanied on piano by Rika Steenkamp performs at Lelieblom

12:30FOR 13H00

Join us for an afternoon of glorious and heavenly music!  Sit back, relax and  sooth your senses while Owen and Rika transport you to a world filled with angelic music, perfoming  a repertoire of light  classical  works for flute and piano from well known composers like Bach, Rachmaninov, Telemann, Chaminade and Bizet,

 

Owen Britz obtained his B Mus degree from the University of the Free State in 1999 majoring in piano, always being in love with the flute it was a natural progression from the piano to the flute.

Owen obtained the UNISA Performer’s Licentiate in Music (Flute) cum laude in 2010.

He has premiered works by Hendrik Hofmeyr and Christo Jankowitz and has performed as soloist at the Darling Music Experience, Voorkamerfest and various other concerts and events.

 Owen is currently working on his Masters degree in Performance at the University of Cape Town.

 Rika Steenkamp obtained her B Mus degree and Diploma in Organ music at the University of Potchefstroom. Rika’s love for organ started from the age of 14 and since the age of 15 was instructed by Marthie Koornhof in piano and church organ music.

  Rika obtained her Higher Teaching Diploma with honours  from Unisa and accompanies singers, instrumentalists and choirs.

 Recently at the opening concert  of the Darling Music Experience,  Rika accompanied the community choir  singing excerpts of  Rossini’s Petit Mass Solonelle.

R150.00 pp LIGHT LUNCH included Advance booking essential please

Karen Basson 0825737736 E- mail: karen@lelieblom.co.za  www.lelieblom.co.za

Saturday 21 May

Time to get moving if you want to enter the Darling Half Marathon and 5km Fun Run!!

Pack the car with the kids, ouma and yes even the dogs for the annual Darling ½Marathon, 10 km run, 5km fun run and Doggie Dawdle.   Not only is it the canine social event of the year but one in which the whole family can enjoy a happy, fun day in the country.  For the serious fitness lover there is the 21 km run and for those who like to smell the coffee along the way there is plenty of time to walk it.  For those who enjoy a stroll get those feet a-moving with your furry family members and stand in line to win lots of prizes and surprises with stalls, Darling’s famous pancakes and good clean country air.

For more info phone Mary on 0826845575 / 022 492 3401 www.darlinghalfmarathon.co.za

 

Saturday 21 May

Darling Museum Open Day

Each year the Darling Museum celebrates International Museum Day by holding an Open Day and this year is no exception.

All welcome. Free entrance to the museum on this day.

Time: From 10h00 until 14h00

Traditional Crafters at Work

Local crafters will showcase their talents in a variety of old-fashioned crafts such as quilting, spinning and weaving, butter making, flower pressing, beadwork, and much more.

Visitors can watch these crafters as they demonstrate their work and perhaps purchase a San or Xhosa beaded necklace, homemade butter, a mohair spun & woven scarf, etc.  Car Boot Sale

All kinds of interesting items for sale in the parking area opposite the museum! Please contact us if you would like to book a space!

Tea Garden

Bring the family for a treat in our new garden area; tea, coffee, sandwiches and snacks or Boerewors rolls.

 Bring the family, bring friends – discover and enjoy our wonderful museum in Darling!!

For more information phone 022 492 3361 or e-mail info@darlingtourism.co.za.

Saterdag 21 Mei

BEKROONDE SKRYWER ILSE SALZWEDEL KUIER OP LELIEBLOM

10:30vir 11h00

Ontmoet vir Ilse Salzwedel in persoon en luister na haar vetellinge van

die stories agter die stories  van haar nuwe  boek  Seerowers, kameelkoppe en chillies vir tee, en hoe die boek ontstaan het. 

Daar is heelwat humor in die boek, en jy sal beslis anders dink oor mense wat hul heil buite SA gaan soek. Dis sommer ‘n informele reis na die res van die wereld.

Moenie die geleentheid misloop om een van ons eie bekroonde skrywers in lewende lywe op Lelieblom  te ontmoet nie! Ilse skryf gereeld artikels vir Rooi Rose Lees gerus haar artikel oor ma’s en dogters en hul lywe in Rooi Rose!

Sukkel jy om jou lyf te aanvaar (of jy nou maer is of minder maer)? Lees dan llse se artikel oor ma’s en dogters en hul lywe in die Rooi Rose wat  op die rakke is. Ilse deel die ware verhale van ‘n paar vroue, en was verstom.

“Ma’s met dogters, ons het ‘n baie belangrike verantwoordelikheid teenoor ons dogters.” se Ilse

Come and meet Ilse Salzwedel in person and listen to the story behind the stories of her new book, “Seerowers, kameelkoppe en chillies vir tee” and how the book came about. The book is humorous and you will surely think differently about the people who looked for their welfare outside SA. It is an informal travel to the rest of the world.

Ilse regularly writes articles for Rooi Rose, such as mothers and daughters and their bodies. Ilse shares true stories of a few women. “Mothers with daughters, we have a great responsibilty towards them.” says Ilse

R100 p.p. ligte verversings ingesluit                                                                    

Bespreking noodsaaklik asseblief Karen 0825737736  karen@lelieblom.co.za
Website: www.lelieblom.co.za

Thurs 26 May

Wildflower Meander

Flora Group walks take place in the Reserves in and around Darling/Yzerfontein as follows:

Darling: the last Thursday of each month with Helene Preston 082 222 8135   .

Yzerfontein: from June on the first Wednesday of each month with Libbes Loubser 022 451 2504.

We explore the reserves for whatever is flowering that day, also to find anything new, and to discuss anything botanical as we go along. These are gently walks, so anyone can come along.

 

Saturday 29 May

The Darling Country Market

This community market has its home at the Nitrophoska Building in the Main Road of Darling.  The market opens promptly at 10h00 and trades until 12h30. With the emphasis on home made, home grown and hand made; stallholders sell fresh produce, flowers, home bakes, special breads, preserved olives, arts & crafts including pewter and much more…. Why don’t you join us?

Contact Con Meyer 082 927 6225 for information or to book a stall

 

Please note: Some of these events are subject to change – to avoid disappointment please enquire/make a booking with the contact person above before making arrangements to attend an event

Dianne le Roux

Darling Tourism

+27 (0)22 492 3361

info@darlingtourism.co.za

www.darlingtourism.co.za

Cook with Sonia Cabano: 23 April 2011

Sonia Cabano

Sonia Cabano

Cook with Sonia Cabano @ Lelieblom Farm

Saturday, 23 April 2011, 10h00 to 16h00
R280.00 p/p

Lelieblom Farm is hosting an interactive cooking session with well known author and television presenter, Sonia Cabano.

Bring your aprons and join us in LELIEBLOM’S kitchen for a morning of great cooking, fun and laughter with SONIA CABANO, and after all the cooking in the kitchen, we will set a festive table and enjoy the dishes we prepared.
Husbands also welcome!

Looking forward to having you with us

ADVANCE BOOKING VERY ESSENTIAL
082 573 7736

Tel: 082 573 7736

karen@lelieblom.co.za

www.lelieblom.co.za

Potjiekos Saturdays at Lelieblom

Lelieblom will be doing potjiekos around a friendly fire every Saturday night. Guests can enjoy an informal and relaxing evening with convivial company and great food.  Bring your friends and family, and let Lelieblom do the work, the cooking, the dishes!… while you sit back,  relax and spend more time with your friends!
Menu includes freshly baked bread, potjie and dessert + tea/coffee
R100.00 per person. Bring own wine and beverages.

Booking essential:
Karen Basson
Tel: 082 573 7736
www.lelieblom.co.za