Another great food find in the Eastern Cape – in fact not ONE but TWO!

Our inFood flatbread

Spending time recently with friends in St. Francis Bay we were introduced to two great ‘foodie’ finds.   The first we didn’t have time to sample – but the reviews speak for themselves and we shall definitely plan another visit soon to sample some of their highly rated cuisine.  Charles Black’s Five Elements is a custom designed restaurant nestled amongst new vineyards, indigenous forest and olive orchards just on the outskirts of this small coastal resort.  Check out their website www.five-elements.co.za – how tempting is that?!

The second find was a small eaterie in Jeffreys Bay called inFood in Schelde Street just a few hundred yards from the beach.   Wonderful coffee, a fantastic range of artisan breads, patisseries more at home in Parisian cafes and an interesting breakfast, lunch and vegetarian menu filled with fresh and innovative ideas.   Packed to capacity on a Saturday mid-morning (evidence of its growing reputation) we enjoyed a 4 cheese flatbread embellished with avocado, chorizo and a delicious tomato chilli chutney, decorated with a handful of freshly picked rocket.  We followed this with one of their zany little individual lemon meringue pies.  Delicious – all served with a smile and at speed.

A sandwich with a difference @ inFood in Jeffreys Bay

Their website www.infood.co.za is well worth a visit.   You’ll need little else to tempt you to get travelling to this gem on the Eastern Cape coast.

 

Kingston Fine Dining just outside Bathurst

The ‘girls’ celebrating a birthday at Kingston Farm!

A recent blog post in The Global Table reminded me of a wonderful dining experience to be had at Kingston Farm, a beautifully restored Edwardian villa, just outside Bathurst.   Booking is required and their contact details are 046-625-0129 or 083-262-4813 or email – kingstonfarm@mac.com

This is fine dining in elegant surroundings – reminiscent of days gone by.   Celebrate a birthday, an anniversary or a special occasion by savouring Carla’s superb cuisine and presentation.   Log on to their website www.kingstonfarm.wordpress.com for details of the great Anglo Boer War Sausage War they are hosting on 27th October 2013 as part of the Bathurst Country Affair that weekend.  It should be fun – who will win – the English Banger of the South African Boerewors?   They have also developed a very special delicious sounding fixed price menu for the evenings of 26/27/28 October 2013.

Rhino slaughter at Eastern Cape Private Reserve

The news that 4 rhinos had been slaughtered two nights ago on the Lalibela Private Game Reserve near Grahamstown has saddened us all.  These majestic animals have become the bounty of unscrupulous, greedy individuals feeding the insatiable appetite for rhino horn in the East. We need to be supporting all the organisations that are trying to prevent these tragic events from occurring and bringing the cowardly perpetrators to book.   Check out the website www.savingrhinos.org for some very interesting facts about this escalating problem.

Heritage weekend at Hogsback – 21-24 September


Here’s the programme for the weekend:

❀.°.✿✿✿.°.❀ OVER THE HERITAGE LONG WEEKEND ✿ SOMETHING FOR THE FAMILY ✿ ENJOY AN OUTING TO NATURE’S SPRING GARDEN VISIT THE HOGSBACK SPRING SAUNTER ❀❀❀❀❀❀ ✿.°.❀HOGSBACK 2012❀.°.✿✿ .°.❀HOGSBACK 2012❀.°.✿ SPRING FESTIVAL PROGRAM

✿ FRIDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER✿ 9.30am for 10am GUIDED GARDEN VISITS (R60) with tea. Tickets/booking essential, at Information Centre 9am-5pm Pottery & Art Exhibition at “STARWAYS” 9.30am-5.30pm “ECO SHRINE &STUDIO” 9.30am-3pm “HIDDEN AWAY” Tea & Crafts Garden 10am-5pm Amatole Crafts at “KINGS LODGE” 10am-5pm Free Slideshow “Hogsback through the Year” at “MIRRORS ¸.•´ GALLERY & CRYSTAL CORNER” 5pm Movie at “FEATHERS CINE CAFE” “Lord of the Rings” Film 1 – The Fellowship of the Ring 8pm Poetry Reading Live at “THE ROSE, STARWAYS” ✿ ✿❀*•.¸.。 :*❤ *❀ *❤ *:。 ¸.•*❀✿ ✿

❀SATURDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER❀ ❀SPRING SAUNTER SELF GUIDED GARDEN VISITS❀ Tickets at the Vistors Information Centre 9 am-5 pm Demonstration of Hand Spinning at “MISTLEA” 10 am-12 Noon Hogsback Morning Market; Bouncy Castle & Face Painting at “BUTTERFLYS” 9 am -5 pm Pottery & Art Exhibition at “STARWAYS” 9.30 am-3 pm “HIDDEN AWAY” Tea & Crafts Garden 9.30 am-5.30 pm “ECO SHRINE & STUDIO” 9.30 am-5.00pm Biblical Theme Flower Arrangements at the Church – St Patrick’s on the Hill 10 am-5pm Flower Arrangements & Bonsai Display at “THE EDGE” 10 am-5 pm Free Port & Muscadel Tasting at “THE EDGE” 10 am-5pm Lynn Wynn Crafts at “KINGS LODGE” 11 am-5pm “Hogsback Through The Year” Free Slide Show at “MIRRORS GALLERY &CRYSTAL CORNER” 11am Pottery Demonstration-Throwing Teapots-by Anton van der Merwe at “STARWAYS POTTERY” 2.30 pm Jam Making Demonstration at “MISTYFELL” 3 pm Sacred Knotting Workshop, Create Your Own Talisman Necklace, at “MIRRORS GALLERY & CRYSTAL CORNER” 5 pm Movie at “FEATHERS CINE CAFE” “Lord of the Rings” Film 2 – The Two Towers 6 pm Build your own hamburger at “SWALLOWTAIL COUNTRY ESTATE” with live 80‘s music entertainment by JQN, dancing and Pub 8 pm “Simply Broadway” live at “THE ROSE, STARWAYS”

❀SUNDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER❀ ❀SPRING SAUNTER SELF GUIDED GARDEN VISITS❀ Tickets at the Vistors Information Centre 9 am-5 pm Demonstration of Hand Spinning at “MISTLEA” 9 am-1 pm Potjie-Kos competition at “SWALLOWTAIL COUNTRY ESTATE” 9 am-5 pm Pottery & Art Exhibition at “STARWAYS” 9 am-6 pm Bouncy Castle & Face Painting at “BUTTERFLYS” 9.30 am-3 pm “HIDDEN AWAY” Tea & Crafts Garden 9.30 am-5.30 pm “ECO SHRINE & STUDIO” 9.30 am-5.00pm Biblical Theme Flower Arrangements at the Church – St Patrick’s on the Hill 10 am Jam Making Demonstration at “MISTYFELL” 10 am Sacred Knotting Workshop, Create Your Own Talisman Necklace, at “MIRRORS GALLERY & CRYSTAL CORNER” 10 am-5pm “Hogsback Through The Year” Free Slide Show at “MIRRORS GALLERY &CRYSTAL CORNER 10 am-5pm Flower Arrangements & Bonsai Display at “THE EDGE” 10 am-5 pm Free Port & Muscadel Tasting at “THE EDGE” 10 am-5pm Lynn Wynn Crafts at “KINGS LODGE” 10.30 am-1 pm Raku Firing at “STARWAYS POTTERY” 5 pm Movie at “FEATHERS CINE CAFE” “Lord of the Rings” Film 3 – Return of the King 8 pm “Vinyl Evening” Dance up a storm at “THE ROSE, STARWAYS”

 

❀MONDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER❀ ❀SPRING SAUNTER SELF GUIDED GARDEN VISITS❀ Tickets at the Vistors Information Centre 9 am-5 pm Demonstration of Hand Spinning at “MISTLEA” 9 am-5 pm Pottery & Art Exhibition at “STARWAYS” 9.30 am-12.30 pm Heritage Day Market; Bouncy Castle & Face Painting at “BUTTERFLYS” 9.30 am-3 pm “HIDDEN AWAY” Tea & Crafts Garden 9.30 am-5pm “Hogsback Through The Year” Free Slide Show at “MIRRORS GALLERY &CRYSTAL CORNER” 9.30 am-5.30 pm “ECO SHRINE & STUDIO” 9.30 am-5.00pm Biblical Theme Flower Arrangements at the Church – St Patrick’s on the Hill 10 am Jam Making Demonstration at “MISTYFELL” 10 am-5pm Flower Arrangements & Bonsai Display at “THE EDGE” ❀❀❀❀❀❀

Two special events at The Fernery Lodge in the Tsitsikamma in the next couple of weeks.

If you are anywhere near the Tsitsikamma on the evenings 29 September 2012 or 6 October 2012, why not take advantage of two very special culinary evenings being put together by talented chef Louise Utermark.  Special prices apply:
29 September: The package includes a 5 course meal complimented by Remhoogte wines from Stellenbosch and of course wonderful accommodation either in The Fernery Chalets at R1070 pp or in The Fernery Lodge suites at R1300 pp with a full breakfast the next morning.
06 October : This will be a Music Hall evening with pianist Marie Skeen on the baby grand accompanied by a guitar and saxophone.  The meal that evening also under the guidance of Louise will be a 4 course menu d’hote preceded by canapes.  Accommodation that evening and breakfast the next morning is included in the package.  Staying at The Fernery Chalets the price will be R950 pp and at The Fernery Lodge R1180 pp.

Check out this venue on www.isikotours.co.za – it is one of the highly recommended destinations featured in their portfolio of experiences.

 

You can’t miss this – the Hogsback Gardens and much more over the Heritage long weekend 21-24 September 2012



The Hogsback Spring Saunter promises to be a colourful and fun affair with plenty on offer for the whole family.  Glorious gardens both formal and wild –  a R60 ticket will afford you entry into all the magnificent private show gardens.  For the artistically inclined there will be a bevvy of crafters displaying their wares and as well as a host of local artists’ pottery, jewellery, art and landscape photographs. For the adventurous – there will be a guided mountain bike cycle trail through the forest, or if a horse ride is more you thing – then that’ll be on offer too.  All this activity needs to be nurtured – so the local eateries and hostelries will be putting on their best for the hungry and thirsty.   Pub screens will be showing the weekend sport and if you’re a Tolkein fan – the three films of The Lord of the Rings Epic will be shown on a big screen on on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.  The Rose Theatre will host a candelit Poetry Reading on Friday evening and on Saturday will host a performance of the musical Simply Broadway – a Grahamstown festival hit.

For more information on booking a craft stall email Ansie on swallowtail@vodacmail.co.za
For accommodation enquiries visit www.hogsbackinfo.co.za
For general Hogsback information visit www.hogsbavk.co.za or www.hogsback.com

Bathurst Country Affair 26 -28 October 2012

Bathurst will be celebrating Spring in style at the end of October – with food, wine and life style attractions to compliment the talent of a myriad crafters. Crafting demonstrations, galleries galore, great dining opportunities, fun for the whole family.   If you’ve already got the Bedford Garden Festival pencilled in for that weekend and you live near Port Alfred give Bathurst a ‘look in’ on your way up or on your way back.

 

Great gift idea made locally nr. Port Alfred

A family group

Having seen the creative talent of a young man at the National Arts Festival this year trading under the name Pewter-it, I decided to order a couple of items from him as gifts for  overseas friends.   These beautifully crafted wooden covered books adorned with pewter work of my choice can be filled with paper of your choice and used as photo albums, wedding albums, travel diaries, guest books or merely as a very smart note book. That I can support ‘South African’ and even better support ‘Local’ really makes me smile. To view the type of work undertaken by Pewter-it, check out their website www.pewter.webs com. A great little company to deal with.  Thank you Kyle.

The endangered rhino 

Multi use books from Pewter-it

Winter in the Eastern Cape

A snowy greeting on entering the Eastern Cape

The splendour of the Eastern Highlands

Travelling home to the Eastern Cape from Natal last week we journeyed through a winter wonderland.  The Drakensberg skirting the R56 Matatiele/Mount Fletcher/Maclear route was covered in snow – a scene very different from what a tourist to South Africa would expect – even though it was mid-winter.   This route makes a change from the East London/Umtata one normally taken by folk travelling between the two Provinces.  The scenery is spectacular, the road is less travelled and the condition of the road is good.   Just a very short 2 km patch going through Lady Frere is concrete and a bit uneven – but otherwise it is a joy to drive.   Elliot, Ugie and Maclear offer good stopping off points for a coffee and a break.   These areas all offer wonderful fly fishing, great hiking, plenty of rock art sites, lots of accommodation options and hopefully when Tiffindell re-opens next year a variety of winter sports.

Festival time in the Eastern Cape

Whether you’re looking for something literary, something flowery or even just a great day out in celebration of nature’s abundance there are some wonderful of events to diarise in the upcoming months.   The economies and communities of these Eastern Cape ‘dorpies’ benefit hugely from attendances at these Shows and a huge amount of work goes into their organisation.  Let’s all get out there, support their initiatives and have fun in the process

  • Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival 9 -12 August 2012 (www.tuishuisie.co.za/olive_schreiner_festival.htm)
  • Hogsback Spring Festival 21-24 September 2012
  • Naartjie Festival, Loerie 24 September 2012
  • Shell Festival , Jeffreys Bay 28 – 30 September 2012
  • Grahamstown Flower Festival 6-7 October 2012
  • The Addo Rose and Garden Show 12-14 October 2012 (www.addorose.co.za)
  • Bedford Garden Festival 26-28 October 2012

 

 

Tiffindell to re-open – good news for Eastern Cape tourism

Tiffindell, South Africa’s only ski resort is set to re-open next year again after being sold on auction to Lew Campbell, the owner of the Ski Deck Snow Skiing Centre in Johannesburg.This is great news as it represents a unique offering (found nowhere else in South Africa) and adds to the diversity of tourism experiences that our Province offers.  It will also serve as a job creation opportunity for the locals in this very impoverished area.  Adventure sport is a fast growing tourist category and in the Eastern Cape we offer plenty of that.  This is a very welcome addition.  We salute Lew Campbell’s vision and positive investment.

The National Arts Festival reveals some amazing Eastern Cape craft talent

Every year I go up to the Arts Festival to enjoy the theatre, the music and the art and usually spend a morning wandering around the Village Market.    This year I was ‘knocked’ out by the high standard of the work of some our own local home-grown talent. Some of those that really impressed are: Thobelani Crafts in Tarkastad with their outstanding useable and decorative works (www.winterberg.co.za/Thobelani), Karoo Kwezi in Somerset West  (www.karookwezi.co.za) for their quirky upcycled lights made from re-cycled bottles, Elizwe Ceramics from Cookhouse for their beautiful creations (www.elizwe.co.za), the gorgeous exclusive range of children’s clothes branded Nasty and Nice by Jessica Hornby (www.nastyandnice.co.za), the wonderful Uthando dolls being made by the Siyakhula Doll Cooperative under the auspices of the the Angus Gillis Foundation at Kwande,( www.angusgillisfoundation.co.za) the fresh and innovative functional and fashion items made with sishweshe prints made by Bright Sewing Ideas in Pewuleni Village in Debe Nek and the magnificent wood carving by Zolani Mpente,  a Port St. John’s artist.  Last but certainly not least the artistic talent of the little company Pewter-it (www.pewter.webs.com).   These products and many other high quality items that I am sure are being made in our midst deserve exposure in our Tourism offices, in our local gift shops and via our local press.   So much great work is being done to help people lift themselves out of the poverty trap but they need access to the marketplace. It gives me an idea for a tourism venture in the making!