Last year we were away from home for at least one weekend every month. This year we’re doing it a little different, and rather going away for one big July holiday instead. However, all that this then means is that we now get to go on a LOT more local adventures every weekend instead!
(Plus, now with Chantelle no longer working at the guest house in favour of doing her own cake-related thing full-time again, there are plenty of great spots that the girls and I need to first show her around anyway!)
Not that the excellent Lourensford Market is one of those mind you. No, as we’ve already previously established, this particular Somerset West market held on the grounds of the venerable Lourensford Wine Estate is definitely one of her firm favourites when it comes to the farmer’s market scene.
On this particular day, the market as always was buzzing and busy, so the Lotter girls and I found a nice space on the soft grass banks around the water fountain, where we then took turns fetch and devouring all sorts of food whilst watching Emily and Jessica have a ball in rolling down the surrounding grass mounds.
For some or other reason, Chantelle chose to tuck in (and enjoy) this monstrosity that is apparently a bunless vegetable burger, while I far more sensibly stuck to some Mediterranean ostrich dish.
I didn’t particularly feel like taking lots of photos on the day, so I didn’t, snapping only a few quick ones so that you can get a feel for what the market was like on this particularly pleasant, sunny and windless Sunday afternoon:
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I’ve said it before, and it is worth saying again – the Lourensford Market is definitely one of those markets worth going to, even if you’re only going for the incredible setting!
Also, in case you are keen and in the area, Lourensford Market also hosts twilight market events which are pretty cool and well worth coming out for if the weather holds up. The next two of these night markets are on the 5th and 19th of May respectively, so you may as well start planning already…
Following some delightful deli delicacies from the upmarket Asara boutique hotel outside Stellenbosch one early Saturday morning in October last year (the original plan had been to pick strawberries at Polkadraai Farm down the road in case you are wondering), we next popped our heads in at nearby Vredenheim – where we promptly decided to much rather head further down the road to visit the newly revamped Vergenoegd Wine Estate for the first time – and man are we glad that we did!
Despite being the third oldest wine farm in the Cape (having been established way, way back in 1773), Vergenoegd has never really been a part of Stellenbosch’s famed (and super lucrative) wine route tourism market – a fact that has only now recently been rectified, following a change of ownership in 2015.
The new owners have done an amazing job of renovating and breathing new life into this grand old dame of a wine farm, allowing for Vergenoegd to very much become the new Stellenbosch destination darling that everyone seems to currently be talking about!
(Seriously, whomever is handling their marketing needs a massive raise. That team is doing a brilliant job of putting Vergenoegd very firmly on Stellenbosch’s tourism map!)
Front and center in terms of popular attractions is of course their amazingly well trained herd of Indian Runner ducks, tasked with keeping the vineyards snail and bug free.
The famous duck parade (the girls LOVED it!) is of course a massive hit with the kids, and in fact, has done so well for Vergenoegd that they now even host full on, informative duck tours!
In terms of dining offerings, they have a lovely restaurant area in front of the manor house, as well as a range of artisan picnic options to choose from.
Then of course there is the wine tasting covering their various well made wines, and even more interestingly, a range of interactive wine, olive oil, tea and coffee blending experiences that teaches you about the source and technique behind some of the Cape’s best food and drink products.
Naturally, as just about every other place in the winelands is doing these days, Vergenoegd is also home to its very own Saturday farmer’s market, with both adults and kids well catered for.
Given the market’s runaway success, the team has now further expanded on the this experience by hosting live music events, bringing in some surprisingly popular local musicians in the process!
(Oh, and they also have a weekly, family friendly fun run/walk through the vineyards.)
In other words, it is really, really hard not to like this place.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, we kind of just wandered onto the estate without knowing anything about it other than there was a pretty cool duck parade to be seen. The market was certainly a pleasant (and welcome!) surprise, and we ended up having a great afternoon out there on the day, soaking up the vibe and enjoying the live music.
As always, I snapped a few pictures which does nothing to do the place any sort of real justice, but serves well enough to give a decent idea of what you can expect to find any given Saturday afternoon at Vergenoegd:
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In summary: The little ones are of course guaranteed to get a kick out of the ducks, but that said, the restaurant location is fantastic, not to mention the new market. Well worth a weekend outing then.
Related Link: Vergenoegd Wine Estate
Based out here in the Cape, one certainly has their pick of excellent markets to visit and make merry at. I would however argue that one of the finest markets to be found is most definitely the Lourensford Market, situated out here in Somerset West on the picturesque and art rich Lourensford Wine Estate.
After starting out from a large tent stretched out on a lawn, the market slowly grew and eventually moved into a more permanent space. However, thanks to massive storm damage in 2015, a further rebuild was required, resulting in this beautiful space that Lourensford Market now calls home.
The market is home to a good mix of both food and craft stalls, with both Chantelle and I agreeing that the food choices at this particular market are top notch. The vibe, particularly around the main square (which is surround by all the stalls), is incredible, bolstered by the almost always excellent live music being performed up front.
If you don’t like the crowded hustle of the square, then there are plenty of tables and benches scattered under and among the trees outside the main area, as well as a big lawn out to the back where all the kids rides and entertainment is concentrated.
The Lourensford Wine Estate grounds are however the biggest drawcard here. The estate is beyond picturesque, with beautiful Cape Dutch inspired architecture everywhere you look, a tranquil restaurant and a brilliant wine tasting center, not to mention a coffee shop and various art studios scattered about.
The grounds are immaculately manicured, with flowers, trees, pathways and loads of eye catching sculptures in every direction that you look.
In other words, it really is impossible to come here on a Sunday and not leave feeling impressed by everything on show!
And because pictures are worth far more than just mere words, here are some photos that I snapped on my camera from our visit to the market last October:
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So definitely one of those markets well worth a visit, both for the stalls and the location itself!
I visited the Blaauwklippen Family Market a couple of weekends ago in order to catch a glimpse of the official Japan Day 2017 celebration, an annual event organised in Cape Town by the embassy of Japan. However, that reminds me that Chantelle, the girls and I actually also turned up at the beautiful Stellenbosch-based Blaauwklippen wine estate last December, in order to partake in the rather successful Blaauwklippen Family Market’s yearly Christmas Night Market event.
Held in the evening, we lucked out with absolutely perfect weather – warm, no clouds in the sky and not a breath of wind, making for a perfect family outing.
As always is the case at any Blaauwklippen Family Market event, there were loads of things for the kids to do, with my girls naturally making a beeline for the pony rides first, followed up with a trip on the opportunistically named (I love it!) Blaauwtrein kids ride.
(For those of you not living in South Africa, the “Blue Train” or “Blou Trein” is one of our most luxurious train trips, and “Blaauw” is Dutch for blue. Incidentally, “klippen” is stone, hence Blaauwklippen is probably named for the stunning blue mountain ranges that surround it).
Anyway, Jessica is chomping at the bit to go on the mega trampoline, so we’ve promised to let her do that soon enough (we’re not 100% sure she’s ready for that mind you), though she wasn’t too keen on trying her hand at the exceedingly cute kids bull ride attraction on the night!
As always there was a great, positive buzz around the market, with the stalls (especially the food stalls) doing plenty of brisk trade. The live music reinforced the good vibe, and everywhere you looked you saw people having a great time!
We grabbed our usual delicious pancakes from Catje’s Pancakes, before Chantelle swooped in on some sushi, and I on some craft beer, before finishing it all up with some delicious handmade ice cream for the girls.
All in all, it was a particularly good outing, which I guess then means that come this year Christmas, we’ll have to do it all over again – and maybe drag some of our family and friends along with us for a change!
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You’ll note that the last four images in the gallery appear to be completely unrelated to this post. That is because they are, but I don’t really have anywhere else to put them. Essentially, the day after the market we let the girls try out Baskin Robbins that had finally arrived in South Africa, followed up with some coffee and delicious sandwiches from the new Baconville eatery at Willowbridge Mall, and then finally a Spur playdate for Emily with her best friend Marli – which naturally included facepaint.
Also, back to Blaauwklippen Family Market, a map:
The atmosphere is laid back, there is always chill music on the go, you have the openness that comes from being situated in Central Park, you are surrounded by the gorgeous modern architecture that makes up Century City, and most important of all, this always feels like a market that is catering directly for families as opposed to just trying to look cool.
That said, it is a little sad to see the market in its current shrinking form. The number of stall holders is definitely and very noticeably diminishing, which is a pity because as the stall holders become less in number and thus less diverse in offerings, so too does the number of visitors also eventually drop.
Nevertheless, there is still more than enough life in the market, as the girls and I found out for ourselves with an impromptu trip through to Century City at the end of January.
As expected, the music was good, the mini train ride lots of fun, the dog show via Dogz Cool entertained the kids, and all those little treats like hand-folded ice cream, fudge and millionaire’s shortbread delicious!
Not a bad way for the girls and I to start off a day that would eventually see us slumming with the Ostriches down at the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch!
(Naturally, I greatly annoyed the girls by taking pictures at every opportunity that it occurred to me to do so! These are some of the better ones that I decided to hold on to…)
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As always, a handy map:
Related Link: Century City Natural Goods Market
The Root44 (or Root 44 depending on what marketing material you look at) market is one of those unusually nice markets precisely because so much money has been thrown in behind it. (Also, the fact that its surrounds are so damn pretty doesn’t hurt either!)
There is literally loads of seating and chill areas (more than enough to cater for the massive crowds that seem to visit the market each and every weekend), plenty of different stall vendors, evenly split between crafts and foods, constant live entertainment, and even better still, actually roofing which make this one of the more weather resistant markets in the area.
(One of the only minor complaints that I have is that they stole away most of what was an okay kids play area and commercialized it into an offering that is okay if you plan on hanging out at the market for most of the day, but completely overboard in price if you are just popping in for a half hour long visit.)
Whilst both Chantelle and I actually prefer Somerset West’s Lourensford market in terms of the actual food stalls, there is no denying the absolutely pleasurable vibe that you get from visiting Root 44 – thus effortlessly retaining its spot as one of the most popular Saturday morning hangouts in the Stellenbosch surrounds.
(Oh, and have I mentioned that its weekly Parkrun is apparently one of the prettiest in Cape Town?)
We took a bit of a break from visiting markets last year, with these photos from November 2016 being one of the few occasions that we did actually venture down to Audacia’s grounds for a Root 44 market excursion… meaning that we are probably now somewhat overdue another Saturday morning pancakes fix! :)
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Bonus: As always, here is a handy map, just in case you want to figure out for yourself where in the world this place I’m talking about actually is:
Unfortunately for the traders, thanks to a particularly blustery wind on the day, the number of visitors were a bit on the short side – but when you are being accompanied by two energetic little girls running about on either side of you, then I find that quieter is usually better! ;)
Jessica’s first tooth had officially fallen out, and so the idea was to treat her to something nice at the market – which was why I was particularly ecstatic when we spotted the stall selling softserve ice cream!
I’m not sure, it did look like perhaps the number of traders is slightly less than the last few times that I visited the Paardevlei Farmers Market, but on the whole I thought it a pretty good showing – quite a few varied and interesting stalls (mostly food, with a few arts/crafts and garden related vendors mixed in), and as always, the old warehouse was alive with the bustle and music one usually associates with one of these markets.
(In other words, always a better experience than a visit to the mall!)
Amazingly, after the girls had finished devouring their ice cream (which melted super quickly thanks to that wind!), I convinced them to head back inside, where I endeavoured to introduce them to the world of the bobotie jaffle.
Even more amazing was that Tannie Anna se bobotie jaffle turned out to be a surprising hit with both girls.
Who would have guessed…
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As always, a handy map to the market:
Related Link: Facebook
I spotted on Facebook that the Century City Natural Goods Market was at last kicking off for the 2016 Summer Season, and seeing as we had in the past spent quite a few Sundays selling cupcakes there as part of the Chantelle’s Cupcakery food markets phase a couple of years back, I was eager to head out that way and catch some of that good old nostalgia vibe.
Getting the girls on board was remarkably easy of course – just one mention of the Temperance Flyer mini train being at the market was more than enough to have them jumping up and down with excitement!
As always, the market was being held on the big green circular Central Park in the heart of Century City, right next to Railroad Square and of course Intaka Island.
The main trading action was all taking place under a large central Bedouin tent, with the other food trucks/trailers being accommodated along the wings of the market space. There was plenty of shaded seating and tables available (all very popular due to the great Summer’s weather on the day), with live music coming courtesy from the talented Capetonian singer Ryan Kidwell (former front man of the reggae outfit The Little Kings).
For the kids, there was a magic show courtesy of family magician Magic Nick (which sadly we missed due to arriving too late), a jumping castle, a zorb orb, and of course the Temperance Flyer train!
Interestingly enough though, and I’m not sure if it is just because it was the first market of the Summer Season or perhaps an indication of something else, the market certainly seemed a LOT smaller than what it used to be in terms of the number of traders on the day.
Sadly, this then meant that there wasn’t a heck of a lot of cool/interesting food choices on offer (like say what you might find at the bigger market cousins like the massive Root 44 or Lourensford), but nevertheless, we all managed to find something that we liked and in the end had a good morning soaking up the great sun, music and vibe that one can only get from coming to an outdoor market like this!
(So, maybe worth jotting down, but come the evening of the 7th December from 4 to 9pm, they will be having their first ever Summer Night Market which could be pretty cool to attend as well!)
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Having enjoyed our time spent at the Century City Natural Goods Market then, we next headed down the road to the gigantic Canal Walk shopping mall, literally the first time in years since I’ve last been there. (We don’t come through to this side of Cape Town much in case you were wondering!)
It is as always, an easy on the eye shopping centre, one of the nicest in terms of both architecture and design, though we didn’t have all that much time to admire our surroundings because Chantelle was pretty much focussed entirely on one very important mission – locating the newly opened Lindt boutique chocolate store ASAP!
Seventh heaven for any lover of Lindt let me tell you, especially because you can buy flavours there that you can’t normally find on the retailer shelves. (Amazingly enough, Chantelle actually shared her Lindt haul with both the girls and myself. Talk about true love! :P)
(Oh, she wanted to check out Dunkin’ Donuts as well, but they were far too busy for us to be bothered with trying their stuff out. Plus, I was rather pleased to see that Baskin Robbins is hitting South Africa in the near future as well. I LOVED checking out all their ice cream flavours during my Japan 2014 trip!).
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Anyway, here’s a handy map to Central Park if you want to catch the next Century City Natural Goods Market!
After a year or two of going to quite a few weekend markets, this year has seen us attend pretty much none! However, it was the Sunday just before I was to leave on my business trip to the USA, and with Chantelle at home with us for a change, we decided to treat the girls to some pancakes and ponies at the Blaauwklippen Family Market… though unfortunately for Jess’ sake, there was nary a pony in sight when we got there!
However, the disappointment was short lived, as we pretty much went directly to the (long!) queue at the ever popular Catje’s Pancakes stall in order to grab a big bunch of pancakes for the Lotters.
The market was super busy with people, so getting the pancakes took a while, but the plus side of this though was that it gave Chantelle plenty of time to browse through the other stalls and put together a nice selection of different snacks in the process!
If you have never been to this market before, then you’re missing out, because it is definitely one with the nicest vibe. There is always a good buzz, the live music never disappoints, the kids are generally entertained, and there is a brilliant selection of arts, crafts, fashion and food stalls for the browsing.
Plus, the venue itself is quite the stunner!
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(Oh, and because it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t really come up with any excuse not to cap off the day with a braai once we eventually got back home!)