You have to add Paarl to your local bucket list this summer! Pack your sunglasses and sunhat and head out to the pearl of the Cape Winelands for food for the soul, especially if you take time to explore some of the lesser known spots and discover new offerings at familiar destinations.
FUN FOOD EXPERIENCES
The menu at Faber is undeniably a celebration of the bounty of Mother Nature. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the valley, Table Mountain and Paarl Rock from the terrace of this graceful Cape Dutch building. Chef Dale has created a contemporary farm-to-fork menu that is both innovative and impressive.
The stunning scenery from Grande Roche Restaurant makes it the ideal spot to while away the day – from breakfast on the patio next to the pool to oysters and champaign at sunset or sundowners on the terrace. The global culinary experience chef Kevin has gained at amongst other’s Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s Michelin starred JAN restaurant in Nice is evident in the menu. He prefers using local produce and creates authentic South African dishes with an international flair.
For a delightful outing and delectable country cuisine, Noop is just the ticket. Chef Zian has created an informal bistro in this heritage building under two magnificent oak trees along Paarl’s vibey main road. The unpretentious seasonal dishes are created from local produce and are served with top quality wines from an extensive wine list. Her charming hospitality ensures an unforgettable eating experience.
WHAT WOULD A VISIT TO PAARL BE WITHOUT TASTING ITS WINE?
Fairview Cheese and Wine Estate is without a doubt one of the most iconic destinations in the Cape winelands. The farm was established in 1963 and offers a variety of tourism experiences including a fresh produce deli, bakkery, tasting venue, tasting classes and of course, the ever popular Goatshed Restaurant. The goat tower has been home to Fairview’s mischievous herd of goats – beloved by young and old.
The tasting venue has been named in honour of owner Charles Back’s late mother and captures her warmth and hospitality. The elegant Beryl Back tasting venue is run by highly experiences tasting managers, who offer exclusive in-depth tastings. Every master tasting is a meticulous pairing of Fairviews cheeses, freshly baked breads and olive oils from the farm.
Visitors can enjoy delicious breakfasts, light lunches, charcuterie platters and picnic baskets from the magnificent Manor restaurant at Nederburg. Tantalise your taste buds with the adventurous Five Senses pairing that offers a food and wine experience par excellence. The Vintage Vault is home to an exquisite tasting of extraordinary wines across four vintages. Bookings are essential.
Another stop that should be included on the itinerary is a visit at Ridgeback Wines. The upmarket tasting venue presents a selection of awarded estate wines that truly reflect the character of the Paarl wine region. The lush garden, adjacent dam with its flock of swans and a terrace restaurant creates a relaxing ambience where guests can enjoy fabulous country cuisine. There is a guesthouse on site should you like to extend your stay.
IT IS ALWAYS FAMILY TIME IN PAARL
Pack up the family and explore the winelands. Perdeberg Cellar is a family-friendly destination with ample space, which makes social distancing easy. There is something to appeal to the entire family with seating inside and outdoors, wine tastings for adults and tasting boxes for kids. Youngsters can play outside in the garden, while their parents enjoy a glass of wine. Enjoy farm cooking at Eat@Perdeberg or order a sumptuous picnic basket – the braai basket is particularly popular. Enjoy a variety of great wines or craft beers. For a different taste experience, try a wine pairing with chocolate or dried fruit.
For animal lovers a visit to Alpaca Loom is a must. Feed the alpacas or get to know these cuddly animals during a guided tour to the alpaca shed with the owners. This affordable outing allows parents to relax in the coffee shop, while keeping an eye on the kids in the play area. The light menu offers home-made cakes, croissants, pies and sandwiches. Observe how the gorgeous scarves, blankets and carpets are woven on the looms.
OUTDOOR LOVERS’ PARADISE
Lockdown has definitely created a new appreciation for the outdoors and Paarl offers some several adventure-filled trips. Explore the network of hiking and cycling routes of Paarl Adventure Trails, which connect the farms around Paarl mountain. Visitors can enjoy awesome views, natural scenic beauty and delicious food and wine. Options range from a family-friendly 3km hike to a more challenging 35km route. Starting locations include Rhebokskloof, Spice Route and Knus Karoo Kombuis.
Download the Voicemap mobile app and go on a self-guided heritage tour: Paarl Heritage Route – a story of pearls and wine. Discover the historic attractions while an expert virtual guide relates interesting stories that capture the history and heritage of this Boland town. The voice guide is available free of charge in English, Afrikaans and German.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE AT SPICE ROUTE
A visit to Brenda’s at Spice Route Destination outside Paarl encapsulates the wonder and mystery of the world of spices. At Brenda’s it is all about carefully combining fresh ingredients, traditional flavours and new ideas to create coveted food products.
Since 2013 Wilderer, South Africa’s first private distillery and home to their multi award-winning gin, has a second location at the celebrated Spice Route Destination in Suider-Paarl. Produced in harmony with nature from the purest wine spirits, water from the Franschhoek mountains and unique fynbos botanicals, including buchu, honeybush, wild dagga and devil’s claw, this Cape Gin offers a well-balanced assortment of herbs, spices and zest on the nose.
The tasting room and stunning restaurant called La Grapperia Pizza & Bistro promises an entertaining visit. The latest addition is the Beach Bar where visitors can kick of their shoes, lounge around and sip on delicious cocktails while admiring spectacular views all the way to Cape Town’s majestic Table Mountain.
The latest gem at Spice Route is Jewell’s restaurant. Owner and chef Neil Jewell is a charcuterie master and creates incredible varieties of prosciutto, coppa and salami from pork, beef and lamb reared on the farm. The sumptuous platters are served with home-baked sourdough bread and beetroot butter.