Olive Festival 2009 review
One of Cape Town’s many fantastic attributes is that you can drive 45 minutes out of the city and be in one of many small country towns. Going away for the weekend here, means driving only as far as some people commute every day. This was my first time at the Olive Festival and in Riebeek Kasteel.
We decided to go via Wellington and do some wine tasting and have lunch at the Goat Shed at Fairview. We had grand plans to taste wine at several estates, but we ran late and also didn’t account for the hospitality we would encounter. Our first wine tasting was at Nabygelegen and we didn’t get any further. James is the owner and winemaker there. He took us on a tour of the wine making facilities before we tasted the whites in the tasting room. The Lady Anna was my favourite (a blend of chenin, sauvignon & semillon). After that we tasted the reds in the actual wine cellar, amongst the barrels. Then we moved downstairs and tasted the flagship wine, a bordeaux blend called Seventeen Twelve. We were all huddled around a table in his private cellar, chatting and enjoying the very excellent Bordeaux blend. That took up all our wine tasting time so we rushed off to the Goatshed. The lunch was very enjoyable as I expected it would be. You can read more about it here.
After lunch we headed off to find our accommodations. We stayed on an olive farm called Goedgedacht. It is so much more than an olive farm, they are very involved in the local community. The funds from the accommodations are used for these various projects. In fact there are twenty seven projects in all, some directed toward poverty alleviation and others toward climate change. The accommodations were very reasonably priced and quite comfortable. It’s about a 10 minute drive from Riebeek Kasteel which is convenient enough.
The Olive Festival has been going for 9 years now and is really starting to pick up. Considering it is only a 45 minute drive from Cape Town, it would make a nice outing if you preferred not to stay the weekend. On the Friday night we ate at a restaurant in town called the Traveller’s Rest, which was pleasant. A very characterful old house which reminded me of the original Madame Zingara. It turned out to be the party spot and was still going strong when we headed back to Goedgedacht to enjoy the lounge and fireplace with some red wine.
Saturday morning we headed into town and had breakfast at De Jonge Cafe which was pretty much a waste of time. We should have just bought a bacon and egg roll from one of the vendors we encountered after leaving the restaurant. After breakfast we headed to the Olive Boutique which had many stalls with various tasty treats on offer. After testing and tasting there, we walked across the road to do the same thing at Het Vlok Kasteel. Eventually finding our way upstairs and spending some time relaxing in the al fresco bar enjoying the view and sipping wine. Next we headed into town and did some shopping for the evening braai before making our way to Kloovenburg to relax and picnic on the beautiful lawns. Once the sun set it became quite cold so we headed home and had a fantastic braai with some friends who came and joined us, swelling our party to about 18 people. Another late night session around the fire before bed.
On sunday morning we drove to Riebeek Wes, which is about 1km from Riebeek Kasteel. There wasn’t much happening there so we headed out of town and stopped at Meerhof for a last taste and relax. We decided to stop for lunch somewhere on the way home. Most places were full or not open so we ended up at a place called Mouse something or other. It was terrible, I can’t talk about it.
Then we were home. I’m definitely keen to go again next year. Riebeek Kasteel is a great little town. I’m not normally a fan of small towns but Ribeek Kasteel has so much character and is very pretty. A perfect weekend away.