Local is lekker

Although the rain extended well into summer this year with strong south-easter winds following hot on its heels, the weather hasn’t dampened the growing enthusiasm for local markets, some of which are situated on wine farms. These have become community meeting points where locals and visitors alike gather to socialise, shop for organic and locally produced speciality goods, and sample the wares over a glass of wine or craft beer.

Some markets have been running successfully for a numbers of years. The Nitida Degustazione Farmers’ Market in the Durbanville Hills ward on the northern outskirts of Cape Town, for instance, opened in 2007 and continues to attract foodies and friends wanting to shop or catch up over a bite to eat and a glass of wine. Blaauwklippen’s Family Market in Stellenbosch, which opened in 2011, started out as a monthly market and then, due its popularity, became a weekly market held each Sunday.

One of the newer additions is Root 44 on Audacia boutique wine farm on the Annandale Road between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. Running for almost a year now, the market is becoming increasingly popular, with a good few thousand feet a day through the ‘door’ on any given weekend (it’s open on Saturdays and Sundays). There’s ample parking space and facilities, and traders are housed in generously proportioned sturdy marquees, so that it never feels overcrowded and the weather isn’t an issue. There’s live entertainment, plenty for children to see and do, and lots of places to chill and soak up the beautiful vineyard and mountain views.

Further afield you’ll find markets such as Hermanuspietersfontein Food & Wine Market, which has been running successfully since 2006. Hermanus locals and holidaymakers spend Saturday mornings enjoying everything from authentic Greek and Italian dishes to perlemoen stew and sushi, and stocking up on handmade cheese and charcuterie, homemade pies and other baked goodies, as well as fresh organic veggies.

My local market, positioned high up among the mountainside vineyards of Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek, is held every Thursday evening in summer. Sprawling on the lawn overlooking the dam while sipping a glass of chilled Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc (or Chardonnay or Isliedh, as is your wont) as the sun slips into the Atlantic Ocean lapping the white sands of Long Beach below should be on any wine lover’s bucket list.

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Locals and city dwellers alike meet after work over sundowners and delicious food from stalls including the Foodbarn Kitchen (The Foodbarn is a brilliant restaurant at nearby Noordhoek Village). If you’re lucky, chef-patron Franck Dangereux himself may be there to make your lamb bunny chow, pulled duck wrap or panko-crumbed fish cake served with harissa mayonnaise. Or Pete Goffe-Wood, a MasterChef SA judge, may just take a turn at the Kitchen Cowboys stall and barbecue the sirloin for your gourmet steak roll.

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There’s a wide choice, from the thinnest of flatbreads piled high with Parma ham, pecorino and rocket to freshly shucked West Coast oysters and guilt-free treats for afters from Angel Vegan Patisserie. And the best part is that you can stock up on locally sourced produce for the week while keeping your carbon footprint suitably low.

To find out about markets on wine farms in your area, some of which are only open over the festive season, visit the South African Wine Routes site.

 – Lindsaye Mc Gregor

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