Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Riebeek Kasteel Olive Festival Wrap-up


This past weekend I went to the annual Riebeek Valley Olive & Wine Festival (www.riebeekvalley.info) for my first time. I haven't explored much of this region at all, so I had been looking forward to it for a few weeks.

It's just more than hour's drive out of Cape Town, until you reach the charming town of Riebeek Kasteel, which has become somewhat of a foodie destination. Now that I have visited it, I definitely want to go back for a weekend's stay to explore the area when there aren't thousands of others people traipsing about for a festival.

Luckily for us, the weather was superb. It was warm and sunny – after what had been a dreary, drizzly week in Cape Town – so all jackets and jerseys stayed in car, while we soaked in the warmth and wine.

A few of us had piled into Lila's husband's van – he kindly offered to be DD for the trip – and once parked in town, we got around on foot or via tractor. As we arrived just after 10am, we were still lucky enough to find good parking. By 12noon, it was choc-o-bloc.

Our first stop was at the Olive emporium, where we got our passes for the day – they were going for R80pp for the weekend – and where we tried our first wines and olives.

After eating various smoked olives, stuffed olives, olives infused with garlic and herbs, tapenades and olive oils, we ventured out to find the tractor stop.

The 'tractor ride' literally consists of a farm-style tractor, pulling two trailers of sorts with hay barrels for people to sit on. They were so much fun, and carted festival goers to and from the farms and central points in town at no additional charge.

Kloovenburg wine estate was divine – as I thought it would be – they make an incredible shiraz, and my favourite wine of theirs is actually the White From Red Brut: a sparkling wine created from shiraz grapes. I also bought two bottles of their 'festival' wine at R50 each, which consumed very quickly. Plus, their cheese platters were to-die-for...

Other great wines I tried from Riebeek Cellars were the The Kasteelberg MCC – the first methode cap classique produced in the Swartland wine region or the Riebeek Valley – and the Riebeek Cellars Chenin blanc – a super easy-drinking, pleasant summer wine (www.riebeekcellars.com)

I loved the varying fruits in alcohol from Het Vlock Casteel (http://www.hetvlockcasteel.co.za) – the apricots in gin were my best :-)


By 3pm, everything started turning a bit pear-shaped as we hadn't eaten lunch, and drank

Wine Discovery of the weekend: Pulpit Rock Shiraz (R38 per bottle - I wish I'd bought more) (http://www.pulpitrock.co.za/)

Budget Discovery of the weekend: A bag of Olive Pride stuffed green olives for R5 - a real steal! (http://www.olivepride.co.za/)


I had the best time and look forward to next year already! Now at least I know to book accommodation six months in advance, so that I can actually stay over and explore it over two days, as there was so much I still didn't get to do.


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