Tag Archives: hydrangeas

Pork Belly Lunch at Sweetwell outside Stellenbosch (2021-01-16) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 06 MAR 2021

Having enjoyed an enthralling, thought-provoking morning of wandering about the magnificent Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden in Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch, Chantelle and I decided to further make the most of not having the kids with us by going out for a nice lunch. In the mood for Eisbein and knowing fully well that they do indeed do a good one, I suggested the restaurant at Sweetwell, situated along the R44 on a farm plot in Raithby (on the outskirts of Stellenbosch).

Pulling in at the Hennie & Allison Cronje owned farm, the clouds were grey and heavy but the rain thankfully all gone, meaning that the ivy laced, hydrangea decorated terrace was looking mighty inviting, even more so thanks to the absolute dearth of people. Again, great for us wanting to avoid crowds during this Covid-19 pandemic, but of course horrible for people trying to keep their businesses alive. Anyway, we walked up to the stoep, located a table and got comfortable, only for me to come to the stark realization that Eisbein was not currently on the menu.

Of course, in retrospect this makes complete sense. Eisbein is something that has to be prepared long in advance, and so if you aren’t guaranteed customers, it is probably best not to offer it at all. At this point in time, reducing wastage HAS to be on the mind of anyone running a food related business, that’s for sure! In any event, no problem, because the one thing Sweetwell also does particularly well is pork belly, and as expected, it was decadently good -that pork crackling, pure genius! (Of course, this was unfortunately still during the alcohol ban phase of our South African Covid-19 lockdowns, so no delicious wine to pair it with – and as we all now know, Coke Zero doesn’t quite cut it! :D)

Although their on-site deli is now a thing of the past, Sweetwell is also home to two pretty neat lifestyle/home decor businesses in the form of Rustic Rose and Casa Caro Lifestyle, plus there is then Sweetwell as an event venue option itself, with its pretty, manicured exterior and its vibrant, visually interesting interior – perfect for high teas, bridal showers and the like.

Lunch at Stormsvlei Restaurant and Farm Stall in Stormsvlei (2016-12-30) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 09 MAR 2017

Situated on the banks of the Sonderend River and originally part of a farm that was established in the 1700’s, Stormsvlei (translated as Storm Marsh in English) is a now tiny Overberg hamlet that forms part of the greater Swellendam area.

Originally settled as an outspan for ox-wagons that were travelling the inland route along the coast, it was once an important stopover on the old wagon route, growing around the need for wagon repair facilities and refreshments for passing travellers – especially during the festive season when families from the surrounding areas would make their way to the sea for the holidays.

These days however the hamlet has shrunk to a point of being pretty much non-existent, meaning that you could literally drive past without even knowing that you had missed it!

(Well technically that’s not quite true. The restaurant does its best to make sure that the turn-off to Stormsvlei is relatively well marked along the N2!)

Apart from the Stormsvlei Riverside Cottages, the only other notable spot in Stormsvlei is where the old hotel stands, now rebranded as the Stormsvlei Restaurant and Farm Stall – which is perfect seeing as that was exactly what I was looking for on my journey up to Gouritz with my girls for last year’s December getaway.

Basically, a place that I’ve never stopped at before.

As it turns out, the Stormsvlei Restaurant is a bit of a Swiss Army Knife, in that it acts as a storefront for a lot of local products and produce (including leather couches and dried hydrangeas by Mary Spies, a local legend apparently), a bar, a dining hall, a function venue, as well as a lovely garden retreat – perfect for light meals out in the sun then.

The girls and I took full advantage of the good weather by first knocking back some cool refreshments and then tucking into a small lunch – double for me because as it almost always works out, one of the girls never quite feels like eating on the day!

We took our time wandering about the garden and inspecting all the flowers (including the nearby Hydrangea growing operation), browsing the art and antiques hanging up throughout the venue, and of course enjoying the rather tranquil ambiance – not to mention marvel at the surprisingly large amount of people that kept filtering in for a bite to eat!

I guess that then means that Stormsvlei is a lot more popular with travellers than what I would have thought!

Anyway, a rather rewarding little discovery for us then.

As expected, with it being just myself and the girls, entertainment for me translated into taking a fair bit of photos over the course of our lunch stop (much to the eventual annoyance of both Jessica and Emily I might add).

These are some of the better ones that came limping out of that particular crop:

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Bonus: Just in case you also want to make a stop here on your next journey down the N2…

Related Link: Stormsvlei Restaurant and Farm Stall