#WinterEscape: Experience the flavours of Paarl

2017-05-27 16:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - There’s nothing like beating the winter blues with a hearty meal or enjoying a glass of red wine while cosying up at the fireplace.

Whether you thrive in the cold season or simply cannot wait for the icy chill of winter to be over, there’s something in Paarl that’s sure to keep you pleasantly warm and comfortable.

Bursting with a flavourful line-up of offerings, Paarl – the third oldest town in SA and among the largest towns in the Cape Winelands – makes an ideal family getaway for a weekend.

And if time is not on your side, then even a day-trip in Paarl will allow you to take in the sights, sounds and flavours of this quaint town.

ALSO SEE: Explore Paarl: Get lost in the Cape winelands

Start your day off early with a wholesome breakfast at Kikka. This family owned coffee shop and well-known florist in Main Street has a menu fit for both the health-conscious eater and those who prefer more indulgent meals.

From decadent treats such as the local's favourite white chocolate and cashew nut cake or eggs benedict, to gluten-free breakfast and even kombucha – a fermented tea that aids in digestion – there’s something to suit varying tastes.

The most important meal of the day is Probably #breakfast #eggsbenedict #discoverpaarl #discoverandsharesa

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“The original dream of Kikka was to create a gathering space with good food and drinks, and introduce the public to our heritage flower, the protea,” says owner Karike Conradie who started the business with her husband, Abe in 2004. In 2016 they opened another shop in the Paarl Laborie centre.

Abe - a chef by profession - makes sauces, oils and mayonnaise called Black Gold under his company, AB Products. These products are sold in the stores and at other retail outlets.

The husband and wife team who makes @kikka_coffeeflorist work. Carike and Abie #discoverandsharesa #discoverpaarl @paarl_tourism

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Kikka, which is Karike’s nickname, is built around a flower shop that her parent’s once managed. “We have a soft spot for Proteas and fynbos which are indigenous to the area, and we try to include them in our floral designs in unique ways,” she says.

“Our signature flower is the King Protea but we also sell an impressive variety of local, in-season flowers for all celebrations,” adds Karike.

Flora lovers who visit Kikka will also delight in the floral artwork displayed around the coffee shop and array of unique, indigenous plants on sale.

Floral fantasy at Kikka. (Photo: Kavitha Pillay)

And if travelling for unique foodie experiences isn’t enough, a scenic road trip through Paarl gives you reason to jump into a car and explore the natural wonders and man-made structures that provide awe-inspiring views along your journey.

Visits to cultural and historical attractions, as well as nature reserves in the surrounding mountains, make for a tranquil escape.

ALSO SEE: Stargazers alert! Capture the night skies perfectly in Paarl

But a must-visit stop is Pearl Mountain Wines, where one can take in the serenity and beauty of this fifth generation vineyard - that dates back to the 18th century - while indulging in a wine blend of choice. The farm produces two ranges, Retief and Stubborn Man, under the Pearl Mountain label.

Owned by the Retief family, it was originally established in 1747 as a blacksmith's home and forge, and today is home to Pearl Mountain Wines, Blacksmith's Kitchen, and The Venue @ Pearl Mountain.

HAVE YOU SEEN: #DiscoveringPaarl: A day in the Winelands

Blacksmith’s Kitchen serves Pearl Mountain and locally sourced wines, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and wood-fired pizza. The farm has a veggie patch which supplies the kitchen.

Visitors can also enjoy wine pairing and a wine blending experience with sommelier, Danwin James, which includes creating your own blend and wine label. 

Wine blending with sommelier, Danwin James. (Photo: Kavitha Pillay)

One cannot pass through Paarl without going on a journey through the Spice Route. This one-stop venue is a must for foodies, families and those who appreciate the varying flavours of SA.

At Spice Route, a hearty lunch can be eaten at Barley and Biltong – specialists in gourmet burgers, and a range of Beef, Kudu, Eland and Springbok biltong.

A wholesome, succulent burger at Barley & Biltong Emporium. (Photo: Kavitha Pillay)

Their meal portions are large, delicious and satisfying (and their hand cut double-fried chips is one of the best we’ve ever tasted). Plus their restaurant set-up with fireplace is perfect for gathering with family and friends during the chilly season.

With views of Table Mountain and the Paarl winelands, this restaurant offers more than just wholesome food that’s sure to fill your belly and warm your soul.

Tranquil, breathtaking views of mountains and vineyards from Spice Route. (Photo: Kavitha Pillay)

Other popular foodie spots at Spice Route are Cape Brewing Company, also known as CBC - producers of a range of craft beers, La Grapperia Bistro and Pizzeria, for German/ Italian bistro food, and Spice Route Wines, for artisanal wines from Swartland to Spice Route. But these are just a few of the 13 unique and interesting artisan food options to choose from at Spice Route.

SEE: Unwind in Wellington: A Foodie Guide to wintry Winelands escape

No matter which food and beverage option you choose, a perfect end to your day at Spice Route – or visit to Paarl – will be a stop at DV Artisan Chocolate. Whether you are a chocoholic, choc-connoisseur, have an all-round sweet-tooth or would like to learn more about chocolates and how it’s made, this is a destination for you.

Even the flavours of chocolate to choose from at Spice Route are none like you will find anywhere else. (Photo: Kavitha Pillay)

Get a tutored tasting of the 70% cocoa single origin dark chocolates - Uganda, Trinidad, Madagascar, Sao Tome, Venezuela Caracas and Venezuela Rio Caribe, or simply nibble on the interesting mix of flavours and textures in the chocolate tasting room to find “the one”.

ALSO SEE: Chocoholics Alert! There’s a new Lindt workshop in Cape Town

From sweet flavours such as cranberry, vanilla and almond, or crunchy biscotti, to more bitter flavours like orange peel with vanilla or intense cocoa, there’s a chocolate to suit your fancy. And we’re certain you will not leave the shop empty handed!

What to read next on Traveller24:

Unwind in Wellington: A Foodie Guide to wintry Winelands escape

#DiscoveringPaarl: A day in the Winelands

Did you know you can abseil off Paarl Rock?