Winding roads, along Simon’s Town’s beautiful, rugged coast and mountain paths, lead us to a quaint cabin on the peaceful grounds of Good Hope Nursery near Cape Point. An unforgettable foraging experience awaits us with Veld and Sea.
Bright fragrant flowers welcome us from the blistering heat. Intricate straw braids sit outside the entrance of the little wooden cabin situated at the foot of a mountain. Soon, we are flexing our creative muscles, and turning straw to flower crowns. It is a welcomed escape from the busyness of the work week. Where are we? Veld and Sea’s founder, Roushanna Grey, serves us the most fragrant infused tea we have ever tasted. While sipping on the calming drink, we knit together our flower crowns.
We adorn our blooming tiaras and head inside for a masterclass on plants to forage. Vast collection of natural treasures, from tiny tortoise shells and bottled flowers, to interestingly-shaped dried coral pieces hang from the ceiling.
A long table is set in the middle of the room and laden with delicious snacks. Each place setting has its own assembly of delightful fynbos botanicals. After tasting, touching and smelling each of these fynbos samples as we learn about their uses and where you can find them out in Cape Town’s wild landscapes, or even in its city settings.
This array of plants, to the untrained eye, look like inedible foliage and can in fact be used in dishes, teas and more. Wild Rosemary, Garlic Buchu and Sour Fig were just a few.
The botanicals can also be used as substitutes for everyday ingredients. Instead of lemon in ice tea or water,can use Lemon Pelargonium, a star-shaped leaf that grows in the Cape and exudes a light citrus smell that can even be used to repel insects.
Once the lesson is complete it is time to put our newly-gained knowledge to the test. Armed with garden sheers and wicker baskets, we make our way up small footpaths, into the mountains.
For the forage and feast experience, you choose from a menu comprises of wild herb and cream cheese-stuffed hibiscus flowers, wild sage wood-fired pizza, fire-roasted summer veg and wild rosemary quinoa salad, edible flower garden salad. Decide which dish you are preparing and gather the ingredients accordingly.
We snip, pick, gather, and wander our way through the vast mountainside, eventually coming to a resting point at a particularly rocky outcrop on the side of the mountain. Parched from the walk, we are treated to botanical fynbos-infused gin in little tin cups. It is paired with a mindful meditative session and encouraged to listen to the wind, take in the smells of the air around you and appreciate the peace.
Once back in the cabin, it’s food time, and we prepare a five-course meal and mix together cocktails with our freshly foraged ingredients. Desert is a specially-prepared peppermint pelargonium koesisters (yes koesisters) stuffed with sour fig, which our lovely hostess prepared herself.
As our time at Veld and Sea comes to an end, we polish off the last of the koesisters and chase them with a home-brewed herbal tea that can only be enjoyed right here. Armed with so much more knowledge and inspiration than when we first arrived.
Plants that were once strangers have become well-known friends. We explored, discovered and enjoyed, and got a little closer to understanding the vast beauty of Cape Town and its natural wonders, where flavour, food and medicine grow all around us.
Here a video of our Veld and Sea visit:
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Pictures: Nidha Narrandes/Aimee Pace/Veld and Sea