Here’s what you need to know about me: I am mildly obsessed with food. Not just eating delicious meals, but also the process of finding top quality produce and cooking with beautiful flavours. I love heading to farmers markets and delis where I can browse gorgeous fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, preserves, oils and vinegars.
For this reason, Spice Route is one of my favourite spots in the winelands.
Situated just outside Paarl and about 40 minutes from Cape Town, Spice Route is really best described as destination. It is home to Bertus Basson at Spice Route, Barley and Bilton Restaurant and La Grapperia Pizza and Bistro. You can buy cured meats from Richard Bosman, beer from CBC Brewing Company, Spice Route wines at the tasting room, gin and grappa at Wilderer Distillery and a sweet treat at De Villiers Chocolate or DV Café. And you can stock up your pantry with beautiful spices and preserves from Brenda’s Deli.
We were invited for a type of foodie safari, tasting our way across Spice Route. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon and we joined a string of cars filled with families and groups of friends ready to spend the day browsing around or lazing on the lawns.
Normally we drive straight up to the main group of establishments at the top of the estate, but on this day we kicked off our trip at Brenda’s Deli right by the entrance. I cannot believe I haven’t popped in here before!
Brenda’s Deli is run by Brenda de Jager, a foodie fueled by travels to gastronomic destinations like Morocco, Spain and Argentina. The tiny shop is packed with preservative-and additive free products, trays piled high with exotic spices, and delicious treats lining the shelves.
From here we ventured up for lunch, opting for Bertus Basson at Spice Route. You might have read my full review of that experience already (if not, head over here), so I won’t go into too much detail. I will say that Bertus Basson is a treat if you are looking for classic comfort food done well, and this spot offers you a fine dining setup with stellar views and dishes like posh fish & chips, bobotie and chicken livers. Yum!
After lunch we made our way over to the wine tasting area where we got to sample some of the Spice Route Winery treats (try the Chakalaka!) and then meandered over to sip some gin at Wilderer, popping in at The Trading Company store on the way to browse their collection of local fashion and decor finds.
Wilderer Distillery is situated on the opposite end of Spice Route inside La Grapperia Pizza and Bistro (another gem if you want hearty dishes and delicious pizzas). The Distillery, run by Master Distiller Helmut Wilderer and his team, is well known for their award winning Fynbos Gin, but they actually make a range of interesting spirits including Grappa Muscato and Peach Mampoer. We tried a bit of everything – trust me when I say it takes your breath away – and it was fascinating to sip and compare the various flavours.
Before heading home we decided to get something sweet at De Villiers Chocolate, home of DV Artisan Chocolate. The De Villiers family is one of the few “bean to bar” micro batch chocolate makers in the world and you can taste all their hand-crafted creations on the farm. One of my favourites was the DV Thins, wafer thin coconut and dark chocolate bites to snack on.
There is so much to taste and try at Spice Route that you’ll definitely need more than one day to work your way through everything. Luckily I have visited quite a few times. Apart from the spots mentioned here I can also recommend the burgers at Biltong and Barley, the beer at CBC (the Amber Weiss is my favourite) and the cured meats from Richard Bosman. Oh, and it is absolutely worth ending your day with ice cream and coffee from the DV Café.
On the next beautiful day I highly recommend you rally up the troops and head out for the afternoon. You’re tummy will thank me.
Head over to spiceroute.co.za for more.