The market is a showcase of what the enterprising creatives of the West Coast have to offer. There’s the Darling mushroom lady, who pops fat mushroom kebabs on a grill while you wait. There’s the Darling pomegranate guy and Nellie, who gives new meaning to the words ‘perfect pie’. But it’s not just about food. You’ll find hand-made clothes, leather handbags, kitchen knives and loads more. If you’re feeling saucy, you can even stop in at the Darling Bloomers stall for a little personalised polka dot number.
The market is officially open from 10am to 3pm. Typical city girl, I slept late the first time I went there and only pitched at 11:30. This is a mistake folks, because this is the COUNTRY and the early bird really does get the worm. When I’d finally circled the market and got back to Nellie’s at 1pm to pick up one oxtail and one shank pie for dinner, it was all sold out. So was the luscious bread at the Eureka stall. And the mushrooms.
If you’re going, here is your game plan to make the most of this market: Take a cooler box with an ice brick or two with. Pitch when the market opens, have a coffee and a croissant and lazily do your rounds. Buy all the cheese, meat, veggies and pies you want and shove them in the cooler box. Then start the party with a cider from Lukas Wentzel at the D’Cider stall. Lukas is the wine maker at Groote Post and conjures this up in his spare time. He makes a berry cider option and a traditional apple. I had the apple and it is seriously deevine. Crisp with just a hint of sweetness, it goes down like cooldrink. If beer is more up your alley, grab one at the Darling Brew stand. The folks from Groote Post wisely put truckloads of seating out all over the place in the form of hay bales, so take a load off while you sip and contemplate lunch.
There are loads of choices for lunch. A favourite stop of mine is the Eighteen 94 Curesmiths’ stall where you can pick up a spicy wild boar boerie roll. That or a burger with bacon jam and caciotta cheese on brioche. Wash it down with a bottle of the Rosé Lukas makes especially for the market. It has a wonderful firm, crisp backbone that attests to its 100% Pinot Noir make-up.
Then spread a blanket on the sprawling lawns and chill to the live tunes performed from the stoep of the manor house. This is the kind of place you take a bunch of friends to enjoy a very lazy Sunday. It’s also a family friendly market with tractor trailer rides and horse rides laid on for the kids. Dogs are welcome too, as long as they’re on a leash.
As you drive back to Cape Town, you’ll feel like you’ve been away for a whole weekend. That’s how different this place is. The next Groote Post market is this Sunday, 27 March. The one in April is on the 24th. Go, you’ll love it.