I finally got to go the Riebeek Valley Olive Festival on Saturday and oh what a jol!
I read up a bit about it before, and know a few of the places in the twin towns of Riebeek-Kasteel and Riebeek West, but the day was about exploring and checking things out with a foodie friend.
There is so much on the go all over the place, you can’t do everything. The Funky Fresh Market, which is held on the first Saturday of every month, was on in Riebeek West so we headed there first. My review on this cute little country market to follow shortly.
Then it was a brief stopover at Allesverloren for a little wine tasting and then headed back into Riebeek Kasteel to the Olive Boutique where, yes, you guessed it, a very large array of olives and olive oil products were available to taste.
There seemed to be endless stalls at each of the farms and event locations, with every possible kind of olive, olive oil and tapenade imaginable to taste. Smoked, oven roasted, with garlic, with rosemary, with berries, with thyme, sun dried and stuffed. There were a gazillion types of chutneys, sauces, pickles and relishes which you see at every food event, but somehow they just seemed to be in more abundance here.
The traffic congestion appeared nightmarish on approach, but was actually very manageable. Vanilla (my car) being brilliant as per usual at getting into teeny spaces on the day.
We strolled over the road to ‘Het Vlock Casteel’ to another big cellar filled with more food, olive, chutney, biltong etc stalls.
By now we are starting to feel slightly over the whole olive tasting thing and felt like we may actually be turning into an olive, we headed to the very stunning and stylish Café Felix which I love. After perusing the wine list in the lounge area, and gasping at the R245 per bottle Of Pierre Jourdan Brut, entry level price point for a Cap Classique, we settled for 2 glasses of Eikendal Rose (R30 each). I am so over 200% – 400% markups on bubbly. It’s a pity because we really felt like tucking into a bot.
It was then into downtown Riebeek Kasteel and to Bar Bar Black Sheep for our 1.30pm lunch reservation (review of this soon). It was all happening in town, drum majorette troops, bands and minstrels, locals and visitors all mingling and cruising around the town square and around short street and outside the Royal Hotel. What a fantastic atmosphere! There were mooooore food stalls all over the place in and amongst a few designated event areas.
After lunch we stopped of at the ‘Darling Brew’ tent to sample this delicious beer from Darling, a little micro brewery that has just been born (March 2010). Brewed slowly for four weeks and with no preservatives, it was damn delicious and made a refreshing change from all the Rose consumed over lunch. The highlight was being able to walk down the street, seemingly legally drinking a beer, fleetingly reminiscent of the New Orleans Mardi Gras.
Up the hill and onto Kloovenburg where we met someone who had stopped there first and then hadn’t left. I can so see why. Organised tables and hay bales under very old oaks and shady lawns to laze on, why would you want to leave? All the Kloovenburg Olives to taste and buy and I bought my very, very favourite olives, the Koovenburg Black olives in Blackberry. The friend bumped into some fabulous other friends and then next thing we were doing a few more tasters and regretting that we didnt have a nice B & B lined up and couldn’t stay for an evening of what would have been a severe amount of fun.
Next year I am so going to make it an away game and will not bother with a sit down lunch on the Saturday, and rather just cruise around snacking, drinking and bonding.
This was a fantastic festival. Love, love, love.