Cape Town is known for many things, including its mountains, beaches, vineyards, cultural diversity and complex socio-historical dynamics. But what many people don’t know is that Cape Town is also a renowned foodie destination with lots of gourmet restaurants, including some of the best on the continent. Visitors to Cape Town are often overwhelmed by the countless options they find here of places to enjoy high quality cuisine from all over the world, often at prices that are much more affordable than similar meals would be in America or Europe.
Every semester for the Arts & Sciences program overnight excursion, students are given the chance to explore unique aspects of life in South Africa, many of which the average tourist would never get the chance to experience. This fall semester, the focus was on enjoying the culinary delights Cape Town has to offer at different venues throughout the Western Cape, surrounded by the region’s natural beauty. Students were given the option of a trip either to the Cape Winelands or to the Spice Route, and I was fortunate to accompany the group that went to the Spice Route.
Spice Route is a culinary destination with a variety of restaurants and shops clustered on a farm in the scenic town of Paarl, about 45 minutes outside of Cape Town. Throughout the day we spent at Spice Route, our group indulged in a wine and charcuterie tasting, a beer tasting at local craft brewery, and a delicious lunch at the Bertus Basson Restaurant. For dessert, we had the choice of either a tasting of a variety of organic, locally made chocolates or an ice cream & sorbet tasting (some of the sugar lovers in the group had both!). In between culinary experiences, the group meandered around the beautiful premises, enjoying Cape Town’s temperate spring weather and getting to know each other better.
Afterwards we spent a relaxing afternoon at our accommodation, which was a scenic bed & breakfast on a working farm, with a petting zoo, coffee shop and small lake on the premises. Later that evening we headed back out for dinner at one of Cape Town’s most well-known steak restaurants. Between the Spice Route experience and the steak dinner, I ate more delicious treats in that one day than I have in a long time, and needless to say I slept well with a satisfied smile on my face and a full belly that night!