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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.

It’s not too late to be part of the 2011 Voorkamerfest in Darling!

The time is drawing near for the annual Voorkamerfest in Darling. Now in its eighth year, the Voorkamerfest once again offers a unique, multi-cultural experience in an exciting and unconventional format. 
Although most accommodation is already booked and Voorkamerfest tickets sold, here is an opportunity to be part of this unique Darling experience. Fine-a-Leigh Tours, in collaboration with Koekemakranka Backpackers, are offering package weekend/day trips…
Tour brochures are available on request and contain detailed information of what we have put together, as well as the costs thereof. There is a choice of:
Weekend Trip: 02 Sept to 04 Sept 2011 – ZAR 1550 per person
Day Trip:  3 Sept 2011 – ZAR 700 per person

All Fine-A-Leigh tour packages are inclusive of transport, meals, accommodation and entrance fees… all you need to budget for over and above the tour cost is drinks, art/crafts and souvenir purchases. We have decided to structure all our tour packages in this way for ease of budgeting on the part of our clients. Very often one may find that a planned trip constitutes unforseen additional expenses which one only suffers the consequences of after the trip. Having said that, we are sure that you will agree our tour costs are really VERY AFFORDABLE.
The Voorkamerfest is an annual event for all ages and is such a big hit that tickets sell out every year very shortly after they go on sale, so we are confident that you will enjoy the experience, should you decide to make a booking.

Tour Booking and Enquiries
Deidre Prout
Tel:  +27 21 531 5760
Mobile:  +27 72 104 3563

General Voorkamerfest Bookings and Enquiries:

Tasha St John-Reid
Voorkamerfest Coordinator and Bookings
082 321 7542 or 022 492 3427

Darling calendar of annual events 2011

Monthly throughout 2011

Duckitt Nurseries Open Day

Date:  First Saturday of every month May to November

Venue: Duckitt Ochid Nursery, Oudepost Farm,R315  Darling

Tel: +27 22 492 2606

E_mail info@duckittnurseries.co.za

Website : www.duckittnurseries.co.za


Darling Country Market

Date: Last Saturday of each month

Time: 9h00 until 12h30

Venue: Nitrophoska Building, Main Road, Darling

Tel: 082 927 6225


February 2011

Darling Music Experience – Concerts in the Country

Date: 25 – 27 February

Venue: Various in Darling

Tel +27 22 492 3996


Darling Cellars Crush day

Date: 26 Feb

Venue: Darling Cellars R315 Darling-Malmesbury

Tel:         022 492 2276


Ride the Wind with the CA2C – Cycle Race
Date: 26 Feb 2011

Venue: From Clara Anna Fontein in Durbanville to Darling



March 2011

Adenco 400 (Absa Off Road Championship)

Date: 11 – 12 March

Venue:  Darling Club, Darling

Tel:         082 8077 797 (Bill Bright)


April 2011

Darling Passion Play

Date: Good Friday 22 April

Time: 16:30 for 17:00

Venue: The Vlei – opposite Evita se Perron, Darling

Tel : 074 369 8212 (Sarie Vlotman)

Admission is free (although donations are always appreciated)


May 2011

The Wonderful Wines of Darling at Trinity Lodge

Date: Every Saturday night in May

Venue: Trinity Lodge

Tel 022 492 3430/083 325 4148 (Shaun Mc Laughlin)



Darling Museum Crafters Day

Date: Sat 21 May

Time: 10h00 until 14h00

Venue: Darling Museum

Tel +27 22 492 3361


Darling Half Marathon

Date: Sat 21 May

Venue: Darling Primary , Kalkoentjie Street Darling

Tel:          Mary Ashford 082 684 5575


July 2011

Xmas in July

Date: Weekends throughout July

Evita se Perron

Tel: Bookings (022) 492 3930



August 2011

Wildflower Game Drives

Date: mid-Aug to mid-Oct

Venue: Burgherspost Wine Estate

Tel: +27 22 492 2830 /  084 606 3470

e-mail: nature@cloof.co.za

www.burgherspost.co.za http://www.cloof.co.za


September 2011

Wildflower Game Drives

Date: mid-Aug to mid-Oct

Venue: Burgherspost Wine Estate

Tel: +27 22 492 2830 /  084 606 3470

e-mail: nature@cloof.co.za

www.burgherspost.co.za http://www.cloof.co.za


Darling   Voorkamerfest

Date: 02 – 04 Sept

Venue: Evita se Perron

Tel : Tasha Reid  082 321 7542



Duckitt Nurseries Orchid Show

Date: Thurs 15 -Sun 18      Sept

Venue Oudepost Farm, R315 Darling

Tel: (022) 492-2606



Darling Wildflower Show

Date: Fri 16 Sept to Sun 18 Sept

Venue: Darling Club, Jacaranda Street Darling

Tel:         (022) 492-3361



Wildflower Game Drives

Date: mid-Aug to mid-Oct

Venue: Burgherspost Wine Estate

Tel: +27 22 492 2830 /  084 606 3470

e-mail: nature@cloof.co.za

www.burgherspost.co.za http://www.cloof.co.za


Renosterveld MTB Cycle Race – Ride the Rhino
Date: 30 September to 2 October 2011
Venue: Three day, stage race starting in Langebaan, Darling, Malmesbury ending in Durbanville.

E-mail info@renosterveldmtb.co.za



October 2011

Rocking the Daisies music festival

Date: 7,8,9 October

Venue:   Cloof Wine Estate, Darling



Darling Gymkhana


Venue    Darling Club, Darling

Tel:         022 492 3013


Wildflower Game Drives

Date: mid-Aug to mid-Oct

Venue: Burgherspost Wine Estate

Tel: +27 22 492 2830 /  084 606 3470

e-mail: nature@cloof.co.za

www.burgherspost.co.za http://www.cloof.co.za


November 2011

The Wonderful Wines of Darling at Trinity Lodge

Date: Every Saturday night in November

Venue: Trinity Lodge

Tel 022 492 3430/083 325 4148 (Shaun Mc Laughlin)



December 2011

Evita se Perron Christmas Season

Date : Throughout  Dec

Venue : Evita se Perron, Arcadia Street Darling

Tel: 022 492 3930

E-mail: bookings@evita.co.za




Voorkamerfest 2010 line-up

The annual Voorkamerfest takes place in Darling on 3, 4 and 5 September 2010. Tickets are sold out unfortunately, but if you are lucky enough to have bagged a few, here is the line-up you can look forward to. More information on the Voorkamerfest at www.voorkamerfest-darling.co.za .

Andisiwe Mbunje
South Africa
Andisiwe Mbunje’s EKHAYA performs UCHULUMANCO

The new theatre company Ekhaya (‘My home’) from Khayelitsha will premier its production “Uchulumanco” during the 7th Voorkamerfest!

Directed by Xhosa actress/singer/dancer Andisiwe Mbunje the show reveals daily life in a little Eastern Cape village. Songs and dances, weddings, feasts – joy, love, peace is all there and here.

Angels on Horseback
South Africa
Starring: Fiona du Plooy, Candice D’Arcy, Jamie Jupiter and Gene Kiermane

Picture the small frontier town of Darling, the whisper of tumbleweed blowing down the dusty streets.The setting sun has left a trail of bloody red in the sky. Now listen carefully for the ominous thud of cowboy boots walking on wooden boards, the creaky complaint of saloon doors being thrown open as four silhouettes outline the doorway of a seemingly ordinary home . Could it be ??

Here to make us line dance in our seats! Here to make us beg for them to do that song that sounds like Dolly Parton making out with John Denver on a warm summers eve in Savannah Georgia. Here to make us laugh till we cry beer tears and remember that one that got away.

Dust off your Stetson and get ready to ride into the sunset with ANGELS ON HORSEBACK.

“An awesome show featuring country music, but with a uniquely South African spin in the lyrics. The cast make the show a pleasure to both watch and participate in. And yes girls, I would take Ryk Neethling on or off a silver tray too!” Cue review 2008 NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL GRAHAMSTOWN.


Bernard Loonen
The Netherlands
Songs of Travel

Bernard Loonen, a tenor from the Netherlands. For this special VKF-production he will be accompanied by (someone special) on piano.

From the pen of author and traveller Robert Louis Stevenson come the words for Songs of Travel by folksong collector and composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Poems from the latter days of a century and a literary career (1896), to music from the beginning of the next century and the start of a musical career. RLS (1850-1894) knew about travel and how to tell the story (as readers of Treasure Island know), and RVW (1872-1958) was a master of his art, which can be heard in these wonderful tunes.

The first three songs of the cycle set the pace for a musical journey. Where the road will subsequently lead is for the audience to decide …

Gaëtan Schmid
South Africa
Rumpsteak’s Teazer

Rumpsteak’s Teazer is a 25min tasty little appetiser to Rumpsteak, the show.

Rumpsteak, the show is an exhilarating “behind-the-scenes” look at the rush hour in a kitchen of a French restaurant. Gaëtan Schmid (writer / actor) doesn’t move from his one square meter mini stage while performing 13 characters over a soundscape of more than 800 sound effects.

Gaëtan will tantalise your taste buds with an introductory life lexicon to whisk in all these unpronounceable French words like “Cuisses de grenouille” and “Huitres à la ciboulette”.

Bon appétit!

Guy Buttery
South Africa

Since the phenomenal success of his latest album, winning him 3 National Awards [including a South African Music Award for “Best Instrumental Album of 2010” and the Standard Bank Gold Ovation Award] Guy Buttery has been kept busy with a packed schedule of both national and international dates. Described as a “one-man-guitar-army”, Guy is a National treasure and the top ambassador of the acoustic guitar in South Africa today.


Jungle Theatre Company
South Africa
Indlovu People

Indlovu People is a family show about elephants. Three children go on an adventure in the jungle. They meet !Kama Indlovu a mystical old man who holds the key to the elephant world. !Kama takes them on a journey into the mysterious origins of Indlovu People.

The audience get involved in magical puppetry, catchy music and comedy and their relationship with these majestic creatures is changed forever.

Created by Jungle Theatre Company, directed by Heather Mac and performed by Nimray Kruger, Ntombi Mkhasibe, Mfundo Hashe and Vincent Meyburgh.

Web: www.jungletheatre.co.za

Mamela Nyamza
South Africa

Hatched is a sequel to the autobiography “Hatch” which is based on the manifestering of a girl child’s beginning, ultimately unfolding into a young adult who is moulded to her cultural value system? This movement piece seeks to convey deeply personal and challenging issues of culture, tradition and a woman’s evolving sexuality within the customary rites and rituals of marriage, until she realises her true identity.

Grahamstown Festival reviews:
Hatching a fresh and brave mind
Nyamza’s dance production grows up

Matzer Theaterproducties
The Netherlands

Two brothers. One father.
A trial, a challenge, a chance.
111 is a sparkling parable about honour and humility, faith and fate.

With respect for all fairytales, bible stories and myths the actors/musicians Jasper Boeke and Helge Slikker offer us a modern narrative about two men on a quest.

111 is a sensitive story with music and magic, language and laughter, culminating in one hundred and eleven days as the ultimate dedication.

111 is a festival-production by MATZER Theaterproducties.The English première is in September 2010 during the Voorkamerfest in Darling, South-Africa.

Web: www.matzer.org

Mvakalisi “Dobs” Madotyeni
South Africa
Dobs’ Famous Opera Arias

Accompanied by Albert Combrink on Piano.

Mvakalisi “Dobs” Madotyeni is an Actor, Singer and Musician born in Umtata. He was recently in Holland for “Amandla Mandela de Musical” in which he played Chief Hintsa and Steve Biko.

South Africa
Meadlowlands to Motown

Put the spirit of Miriam Makeba and the wildness of Tina Turner in a pint sized package, and what do you get? Nomfusi! The petit Afro-soul singer from Khayelithsa joins forces with guitar wunderkind Mark Williams to bring you a powerhouse performance of Sophiatown classics, with a Motown twist. … more info

Web: www.nomfusi.com

Not the Midnight Mass
South Africa
Not the Midnight Mass

South Africa’s award winning a Capella group Not the Midnight Mass are back again.The group has a new and exciting line up; stalwarts Graham and Christine Weir are once again joined by Cape Town’s most popular jazz diva, Amanda Tiffin, as well as award winning actress Anthea Thompson and funny-man Donal Slemon. The show is choreographed and staged by Fiona du Plooy.

Singing like angels but with a devilish wit, in 2009 the members of Not the Midnight Mass won the Fleur de Cap Award for Best performance in a Cabaret. They have been hailed both nationally and internationally for their unique blend of harmonies, humor and original writing and the show sports some old favorites like Led Zepplins “A whole Lotta Love”, Pachelbel’s Canon in D as well as a new and hilarious rendition of My Fair Lady’s “On The Street Where you Live”.

Owen Britz & Pieter van Zyl
South Africa

Owen Britz started with music lessons at the age of 16. Six years later he obtained his B. Mus from the University of the Free State with piano as major instrument. During his studies he performed as soloist with the Free State Symphonic Wind Orchestra, amongst others, and also as accompanist for soloists. He studied with Nettie Immelman and Albie van Schalkwyk. In 2005 Owen took up flute lessons with Maria Swart in Bloemfontein. Under the tutorship of Marietjie Pauw he obtained his UNISA Performer’s Licentiate for Flute cum laude in 2010. Owen currently resides in Darling.

Pieter van Zyl het n B.MUS-graad aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch, ‘n M.MUS-graad aan die Universiteit van Port Elizabeth en Voordraerslisensiate aan UNISA en Royal Schools behaal. Hy het klavier studeer by Makkie Loubser, Danie Smit, Lamar Crowson, Nancy Hofmeyr, Betsie Cluver en Neil Solomon. Pieter balanseer sy liefde vir musiek met n passie vir drama. Hy is opgelei in die mime corporel-tegniek en filosofie van die Franse teatermeeste Etienne Decroux. Pieter het as musikant en akteur regdeur Suid-Afrika gewerk, sowel as in Zimbabwe, Engeland, Skotland, België, Frankryk, Griekeland en Kalifornië.

Philip de Villiers en Die Blinde Boere Orkes
South Africa

Born and raised in the Swartland, singer and songwriter Philip de Villiers collaborates with Die Blinde Boereorkes from Worcester, to bring you songs more than a century old from the Bo-Kaap. Fusing traditionalsakkie-sakkie with vibrant ghoema, they give birth to an infectious new style. Brimming with cheerfulness, this group of visually impaired musicians paint a colourful picture of early 20th century life in the Bo-Kaap. … more info

Web: www.blindeorkes.co.za

Roelien Grobbelaar
South Africa
Matters of the Harp

Acquainted with the music and entertainment industry for over 18 years, professional harpist Roelien Grobbelaar captivates and charms with an enchanting Lyon & Healy Concert Harp.

As an ad hoc member of various orchestras she has performed under the baton of conductors such as Victor Yampolsky, Gerhard Korsten, Owain Arwell Hughes, Eric Rycroft and Kamal Kahn.

Roelien regularly performs at some of the most prominent occasions in South Africa and has entertained international celebrities such as HRH Prince Edward Earl of Wessex and has performed with multi Grammy award winners George Benson and Kanye West.

This harp performance hosted by the Voorkamerfest will showcase the romantic character of the instrument. Amongst other you can look forward to music from the ballet “The Nutckracker”, Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” and a romantic Tango by Astor Piazzolla.

You will witness the harp’s grand scope of sounds, from virtuosic original harp works to some of the most well known classical pieces you love.

Web: www.harpist.co.za

Shimmy Isaacs
South Africa
Allie Pad Funny Worcester

“Allie Pad Funny Worcester” is a one woman comedy show that focuses on specific Western Cape culture of colored, black and white people; looking at their way of life.

The show starts with Shimmy Isaacs from Worcester who has left her home town at the age of 16 to pursue acting. Through her journeys as a confused coloured woman she has come into contact with all sorts of cultural dilemmas of her own race and others. After being teased for her “whity” accent while attending a model c school in Worcester, she found herself assuming a split personality; at home she was “coloured”, at school she inadvertently became a “whity”.

Cape Town, known as the city of cosmopolitan lifestyles even confused her more; when she learned there was no set coloured “identity” or one “identity”.

Real issues and experiences are tackled in this humorous stand-up comedy performance where characters that have influenced her experiences and way of life are depicted.

In this show she plays out all of the different personalities that she has encountered over the years. Situations are taken and compared amongst the different group types.

Siv Ngesi
South Africa
Stand-up Comedian

A white black comedy… about blacks who think like whites… told by a black guy… who sounds white!

From Sold Out shows and winner of the Golden Ovation Award at the 2010 Grahamstown National Arts-Festival.

Review from CUE: “A brave new face in stand-up, Siv Ngesi delivers a brilliant new dish! Top quality laughs…makes me proud to be a South African

Soma Fusion Bellydance Company
South Africa
Dancers: Marissa Cuenoud, Kashiefa Athanatos
Percussionist: James van Minnen

Tribal Fusion Belllydance is the newest member of the exotic family of bellydance. It is a women’s dance… with a twist. Taking old styles, traditional rhythms and costuming and fusing it with contemporary electronic music, modern pops n locks, sinuous muscular movement and a theatrical flair, Soma Fusion Bellydance Company has created a very dynamic and unique style of their own. Along with live percussion mixed into electronic beats, finger symbals and intricate choreography, prepare for a sensual, sensory feast.

Web: www.soma.co.za

Steve Sandomierski
South Africa
Cabaret Comedy Magic

Ever wonder how a card rises, a coin vanishes, or generally how those silly magicians make things seem impossible? Well you won’t learn it here, but come and join The College of Magic’s Steve Sandomierski for an excursion into the lighter side of magic as he engages you with his brand of Cabaret Comedy Magic.

Steve is currently the reigning South African Magic Grand Prix Winner, so whether it’s sleight of hand sorcery or laugh-a-minute mystical miracles, Steve is your man!


The Darling iAfrica Queens
South Africa
Treinspoor Stories

The Darling iAfrica Drama Queens have been a regular feature at the Voorkamerfest since they where part of the Mothertongue project in 2006.

Treinspoor Stories is written and performed by Ivy Johnson and Sary Vlotman, Directed by Stefan Hurter and tells stories of Darling, not found in any history book. A special appearance by local Boerstryk musicians; Robert Beziek and Floors Martinus, will give the audience a glimpse into a colorful past and promises to get the feet tapping.

The Pink Couch
South Africa
Mafeking Road
An adaptation of stories by Herman Charles Bosman

Set in one of South African fiction’s most famous streets, Mafeking Road is Herman Charles Bosman for the next generation!

Using physical theatre, two actors will present two of Bosman’s short stories, taking you on a journey into another world where the peach brandy flows and the moonlight brings magic.

Presented by The Pink Couch
With Andrew Laubscher and Mathew Lewis
Directed by Tara Louise Notcutt

Werner Denner
South Africa
Multi Instrumentalist

The ultimate solo multi instrumentalist and crowd pleaser!

From Saxophones to pan pipes, guitar, keyboards, melodica, flute and haunting vocals, Werner Denner’s show is a must on your show calendar.

For full biography, check out his website at www.wernerdenner.co.za