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Foodie Thursday

There is so much more to Cape Town than the mountain

I recently went on the Foodie Thursday Tour with an amazing tour guide, Charlene, and I got to learn so much about what Cape Town has to offer.

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Cheese and wine - the perfect combination!

Charlene fetches me from my flat and I’m the first in the van, I have so many questions to ask, but true to any showman’s style, Charlene tells me that it’s a surprise. My excitement starts to build as we start collecting other guests because everyone gets chatting and we start exchanging stories about where we are from and what we’re doing in Cape Town.  

Our first stop is the Company Gardens and although I have been there and walked through the gardens before, Charlene has a wealth of knowledge that she is happy to share with us. She takes us through the gardens explaining to us about how it all started all those many years ago. Where ever we stop in the gardens Charlene has something interesting to tell us and we are all ears. It’s the perfect first stop of our tour, the fresh air gets our stomachs rumbling.

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Cape Town loves to show off.

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Charlene teaching us bit about the Company Garden's history.

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Pepperdews - local is always lekker!

Next, we’re off to Woodstock Exchange in the heart of the bustling neighbourhood of Woodstock. Charlene gets into the history of the area and tells us that this very hip, colourful area is being transformed into a creative hub where more and more young people are setting up shop. Driving down the main road of Woodstock is a treat, the colourful street art that decorates the old warehouses and the array of different people that walk the streets gets you excited. Even for a local like me, you’d be surprised what you notice when you aren’t the one doing the driving. I felt like a tourist down a road I travel weekly.  

We head off to Rosetta Coffee for a coffee tasting with Rob who owns this very cool little joint. The aromas of roasting coffee hit you before you even get into the shop, I am salivating and in need of my morning coffee fix.

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Nothing like a good Flat White to start your morning - Rosetta Coffee has an option for everyone.

Rob has brewed three different coffees for us and he breaks down how we need to taste these coffees. It’s time to shine - we are all eager to give our two cents about what we smell, taste and think. Just like wine, everyone has their own personal taste, but learning about each blend is a treat. Before we head out, coffee beans, flat whites and ice coffees are bought, a standard procedure I’m sure. Rosetta coffee is a must-see for any coffee lover.

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Enjoying our coffees and colourful chats

Our next stop is The Taproom or Devils Peak Brewery, on the way Charlene shares another fun fact about how Devil’s Peak Mountain got its name. Charlene’s knowledge of Cape Town, South African history and just the food and wine scene in Cape Town is overwhelming. This woman is so proudly South African and it’s refreshing to listen to her. She is the epitome of a story-teller and she has us hanging onto every word that comes out of her mouth. 

Beer and food pairing is next on the cards and I can’t contain my excitement. I love beer and, let’s just be honest, I love food! The tasting is an absolutely must, the food is paired beautifully with each beer and the view of Devil’s Peak Mountain doesn’t get old. I, however, am a seasoned  First Light girl, so I may be a bit bias.

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Learning a bit more about our food and beer pairing.

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I couldn't have asked for more!

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We lost our use for words once our food and beer arrived.

We aren’t here long, we have a busy day ahead of us so we head off again in our group of excited foodie adventurers.  

Many people know that biltong is synonymous with South Africa, we can’t get enough of the stuff and it’s a staple in many of our homes. So our next stop is Frankie Fenner’s Meat Market because what would a South African Foodie Tour be without a spot of biltong? These guys are passionate about meat and supplying people with the best produce. They take pride in knowing where their meat comes from so that you know what you are eating. We sample some of their delicious biltong and have a look around before we’re off again. There’s no rest for the wicked (or hungry).

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Checking out some of the steaks at Frankie Fenner's.

We walk the streets of Bo-Kaap and stop at Biesmiellah Café where Charlene treats us to some classic South African favourites - a samosa or a koesister. What I loved about this tour is the mix of people that were on our bus, Charlene's energy and the authentic mix of experiences that seems to be waiting around every corner. While in Biesmiellah, I share my koesister with Nats, an energetic Spanish girl. Sharing is caring, right?

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The colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap are always beautiful to look at.

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Charlene guides us through the little streets of the Bo-Kaap like she's been coming here for years.

We’re off again and Charlene tells us that she has a surprise for us – I wonder to myself how long she can keep this up, that she must be running out of surprises? We stop at a little doorway that doesn’t seem like much, none of us realise this is our next stop. Then the smell hits you like a delicious slap in the face! It’s a chocolate shop and I am the first through the door. Honest Chocolate is a Cape Town born original, the vibe and absolute chocolatey goodness that oozes out of this little shop is mind-blowing. Charlene gets us started on some truffle tasters whilst we sit and chat amongst ourselves. I should be satisfied by now, but I can't help myself.  

Before we leave, I make my way to the counter to get some delicious brownies to take home with me. Honest Chocolate makes a sweet potato brownie that may be one of the best brownies I have ever tasted. Their Cashew Brownie is also just as scrumptious.

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72% cocoa you said? Give me the bowl!

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Cashew brownies - yes please!

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Enjoying some of Honest Chocolate's delicious truffles over a chat.

Our tour isn’t over yet and once again we are walking Bree Street and on our way to our last stop. Culture Club Cheese is owned by Luke and he is busy preparing a cheese board for the eight of us to share when we arrive. What goes hand-in-hand with cheese? Wine of course! Luke is a charming host and his warmth and hospitality shines through in everything he serves up at this trendy little cheese shop. He knows everything there is to know about cheese and his passion is evident from the second you walk in the door.

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Luke is full of laughs and jokes!

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But is cheese his phenomenal!

I go into the shop to buy some cheese and it’s a hard decision to make, but of course, the quirky Luke is on hand to help me make the right choice. The people that you will meet on this tour love what they do and you can see it through what they produce. Charlene has hand picked these stops for a reason, she knows about the heart and soul that goes into each one of them.

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Some delicious Boerenkaas for me to take home and enjoy.

While we all sit around the table sampling our cheese, Charlene tells us a bit more about herself. She is a qualified wine maker, but her passion is teaching people about what South Africa has to offer - there is more to Cape Town than the mountain bru! She is so enthusiastic about teaching people about the secrets of Cape Town and the real artisanal food that comes from local producers.  

Each of the stops along our Foodie Thursday’s Tour is different and captivating, you meet people that are beyond passionate about what they do, it’s contagious. Listening to Charlene talk about the history of Cape Town and the people we were about to meet gets you excited about South Africa all over again, you start to see the potential and talent that is right on your doorstep.  

I thought I had learnt more about Cape Town since I had moved here, but I think you never know everything about this vibrant city because there is always something new. This is why I absolutely loved my day with Charlene, she gave me a rare insight into some local food heroes and allowed me to experience a whole new side of food in Cape Town. 

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Author Kirsty Barnes
Date 28 April 2016
tags: CBD, deli, burgers

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