This bounty that graces breakfast- and lunchtime tables across South Africa is one of the reasons for the existence of the town of Prince Albert, which lies 20km down the pike in the shadow of the Cape Fold Mountains called the Swartberge.
First stop on our ‘food safari’ is where my old school mates Jeremy Fremantle and Phil Key started a cookery school called African Relish, which is also a restaurant and showcase of local food.
From the shelves of African Relish, we plunder Karoo Gold honey, superb olive oils, an assortment of preserved and dried figs from Weltevrede Farm and a selection of wines from Bergwater, Reiersvlei and Fernskloof estates, all situated in the Prince Albert Valley.
At a kink in the main road is the turn-off to Gay’s Dairy. The owner herself, Gay van Hasselt, helps us choose cheese: soft-flavoured gouda, cheeses with black pepper and cumin and the award-winning Queen Victoria, Prince Albert Regal and Prince Albert Royal.
One of our local spies tells us Bokkie Botha of the Olive Branch Restaurant allegedly has some much-prized chorizo sausage. Indeed, after urgent phone calls and a bit of pleading, a length of chorizo is located deep in the store room.
At the weekly Saturday market we buy a bunch of kohlrabi, chicory and handfuls of peas in pods all produced by the local GP, Pete Reinders.
At the Gallery Cafe we snatch up some springbok carpaccio and a bunch of fresh bread loaves, scurry off to Elaine’s and, deftly avoiding husband Neill’s offer of another shot of Jose Cuervo, lay the spread out and photograph it before the guests pitch up.
And in the late afternoon glow of red clouds behind windmills, with more and more of that Bergwater Rendezvous Red, we toast the finest Prince Albert artist of them all: the late Outa Lappies.
We remember his words:
“Every day I must make something out of nothing.”
So pass the cheese, the bread, the figs, yes, and Gay’s lemon chilli chutney too. Let’s make something tasty and say Cheers to Outa Lappies and to this wonderful old town in the mountains…
- Prince Albert Tourism
Tel: +27 (0) 23 5411 366
Visit the Karoo Space e-Bookshop for more in-depth stories on the Karoo.