Elgin Valley food and wine…uhm, that’s some place you stop at for padstal pies and juice, right?
The beautiful, blissed-out Elgin Valley actually holds some cracking good surprises.
Since it’s only just over an hour’s very pleasant drive from Cape Town, with a big choice of accommodation and some seriously family friendly fun, with ace food and drink, I’d say: 10/10 for your next weekend break.
Think fruit orchards surrounding cosy guest farm cottages, think early morning mists, crackling log fires, heaps of fresh air with ziplining to cycling to horseback riding to mountain dam swims, upmarket boutique hotels, rustic farm cottages, funky caravans, glamping in state-of-the-art tents, art everywhere, forest walks, luxury or self-catering guesthouses, happy grown-ups, rosy-cheeked cherubic children darting through the fields, and you’ve pretty much got the picture.
Foodwise you have a list as long as your arm: chow down on Texas-style BBQ ribs, burgers ‘n’ wings at Hickory Shack, craft beers errrwhere, organic produce fresh from the fields at Terra Madre, home-style Boerekos goodness and bakes that slay at Rojaal Eatery, all the wine you can taste in a lifetime errrwhere, Gabriëlskloof’s uniquely superb Boerekos-meets-French-Bistro, to the dazzling, award winning culinary brilliance at Waterkloof Wine Estate. And some I haven’t even mentioned.
That’s some serious choice, sister!
If you’re an Elgin virgin like me, then hitting up the Elgin Cool Wine and Country Food Festival is the perfect initiation.
It’s on during 28 and 29 January, the ideal opportunity to experience firsthand the best of the Valley’s food, drink and hospitality.
And best you book early, too – accommodation is snapped up way in advance by cognoscenti who wouldn’t dream of missing out on this fab festival. I booked a cottage for us at Endless Vineyards Boutique Lodge on Wildekrans Wine Estate, and dinner at the snazzy Forage restaurant.
Come for the day or plan a long weekend out of town. This year’s festival falls on a long weekend, with Friday 27 April being Freedom Day and Tuesday, 1 May is Worker’s Day.
As has become a tradition over the years, each of the participating wineries are going all out to offer a unique programme. This allows you to tailor-make your experience according to your personal preferences.
Entertainment includes performances by live bands, art exhibitions, nature walks and cellar tours. Each venue will offer different dishes, along with their signature wines, to tantalise the taste buds and keep those bellies filled over lunch time. These include a la carte menus, farm-style picnics, American-style smokehouse BBQ, food trucks and much more.
Sound like fun, but unsure what to do with the kids for the weekend? The good news is that you can bring them along. Each wine farm will be offering loads of child-friendly activities to keep your tots and tweens safe and entertained. Children under the age of 18, accompanied by an adult, enter for free.
Of course, the Festival organisers do not condone any form of drinking and driving – especially when you have your family in the car. So, please make use of one of the shuttle services. Read more about the Designated Drivers on the Elgin Cool Wine and Country Food Festival website.
This year also brings a few exciting changes.
Firstly, there are TWO ticket categories. If you’re interested in a slightly more immersive experience, you can opt for a golden ticket at R200 per person. This gives visitors access to special tastings at participating wineries, such as vertical tastings and older vintages.
Ordinary tickets are going for R150 per person and includes an armband and a wine tasting glass. Use these to access free wine tasting at participating wineries.
Secondly, the opening of the Elgin Railway Market over the #ElginCoolFest weekend.
The art deco-inspired market will form the central point of the festival and will be filled to the brim with classy crafts to browse and delicious food to taste, and it will be open late during the festival. The Market will also be the pick-up point for your glasses, passes and shuttles.