A few weeks ago, I went to Prince Albert in the Karoo to experience The African Relish Cooking School for the first time. It’s been on my list for years so was thrilled to finally go. Getting out of Cape Town and seeing the wide-open spaces of this part of South Africa was especially lovely in these crazy times. The days were sunny and clear, and I travelled via Oudtshoorn and the Swartberg Pass. A spectacular road that was designed by my great grandfather Thomas Bain. Completed in 1888, it’s still an all-gravel highway and feels suspended in time. The pass which weaves its way up and cutting through the Swartberg Mountains was quite an engineering feat at the time.

The Swartberg Pass. Karoo

A stay at African Relish in Prince Albert

I stayed in one of the African Relish cottages (Deurdrift 1) that are scattered around the village and serve as accommodation for people attending their courses. They run regular themed recreational classes and I attended a one-day event. It involved a morning foodie tour to a few local artisan food producers, a blacksmith, and the Fransie Pienaar Museum for a mampoer tasting. This was followed by a light lunch back at the school and an afternoon cooking class. The busy day culminated in a convivial feast where all attendees sat down to eat the dishes that were cooked. I was invited to demonstrate two of these and I made the raspberry souffle from my second cookbook, and my hugely popular baked camembert with sundried tomatoes, garlic, and thyme. The demonstration kitchen setup at African Relish is very informal and guests can get involved as much as they like. I really liked this casual environment that allowed a lot of interaction during the class. 

Sam Linsell

A stay at African Relish in Prince Albert

On my trip, I loved walking around the quaint town of Prince Albert and gawking at the beautiful Karoo, Victorian and Cape Dutch houses. Lei water canals fed from mountain streams run through the streets adding to the charm. Bright bursts of Bougainvillea and aloe in bloom created a beautiful juxtaposition against the cerulean sky.

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

There are several olive, fruit and sheep farms in the area which are open to visitors, and we visited O for Olive on our tour. The town has a plethora of shops and art galleries to visit and on a Saturday morning, they have a village market. The town is geared around tourists and easy to navigate.

African Relish has a deli and café, and their restaurant is open for pizzas in the evening. I can also highly recommend the Karoo Kombuis for a plate of boerekos (traditional Afrikaans food). They only serve roast lamb, bobotie and chicken pie and you can get any combination of these, and it was utterly delicious (PS it’s BYOB).

Afrcan Relish Cooking School, Prince Albert, Karoo

Afrcan Relish Cooking School, Prince Albert, Karoo

Here are a few of my pictures to fill in the story.

Deurdrift 2 Cottage, Prince Albert, Karoo

Afrcan Relish Cooking School, Prince Albert, Karoo

Deurdrift 2 Cottage, Prince Albert, Karoo

Deurdrift 2 Cottage, Prince Albert, Karoo

Afrcan Relish Cooking School, Prince Albert, Karoo

Afrcan Relish Cooking School, Prince Albert, Karoo

Afrcan Relish Cooking School, Prince Albert, Karoo

Afrcan Relish Cooking School, Prince Albert, Karoo

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

Prince Albert, Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa

*I was hosted by African Relish for the days I spent in Prince Albert

You might also like:

A visit to the De Hoop Collection at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Heron House at Bartholomeus Klip

A weekend away up the West Coast and Veldriff

A mid-week break to Boschendal Farm Estate

A stay at the iconic Oyster Box Hotel

Visit Hartford House in the Midlands

Visit Paternoster

 

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2 Comments

  1. Rene Walkin

    I love Prince Albert! The photos are fantastic! It has changed a lot since I was there many years ago. I drove from Oudtshoorn over the pass-how amazing that Thomas Bain is your relative. I love your newsletters and seeing your photographs of places in South Africa as I have lived in England for many years now but my heart is still in the Western Cape.

  2. Sam

    Hi Rene and thanks for the kind words. I’m so glad I could bring back a few memories. Stay safe x

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