Fly down the R27 and take in the view fleeting views of the Atlantic Ocean peeking through the dips and valleys of the dunes on your way towards Darling. Steel yourself for a bit of a bumpy ride down a narrow, rural farm road towards the Groote Post Wine Farm, where on the last Sunday of every month they host a small scale country market.
Despite the size of the market, the vendors hold a veritable treasure trove of delicious treats and unique trinkets that are perfect for gifts. From the SPCA stand to homemade biltong, each stall is unique and brimming with local fervor.
As you meander around the stalls you’ll have your pick of clever crafts, such as homemade ceramic serving dishes, leather goods, clothing stalls and of course there are the accessories. Jewellery for every taste, from sterling silver bling rings to strings of fresh water pearls, there is no doubt you’ll find something to tickle your fancy.
I’m not going to lie, the market is becoming more and more ‘foodie’ each time I visit, but you’ll hear no complaint from me. Delicious samosas, homemade pesto, marinated pork ribs, biltong and the unavoidable allure of the confectionary stand make me a happy girl. Special mention must be made of the Darling Gourmet Mushrooms – skewered chunks of locally-grown oyster ‘shrooms basted in a tangy, spiced vinaigrette and cooked as you stand. I have dreams about these mushrooms. Lucky for me (and you, I suppose), these mushies are available to be purchased already conveniently skewered as well as the special recipe sauce – equally dream-inducing – so that you can make your own at home.
Of course, Groote Post has their own stand where they offer you deliciously crisp glasses of wine to make the sweltering heat more bearable and to help you relax after a hard morning’s worth of getting your market on. If you’re more into the barley and hops vibe, there’s something for you as well: Darling Breweries have a permanent spot in the shade and are always ready with a smile and one of their thirst-quenchingly cold beers. And, because this is a family event there is a stall offering the old favourite carbonated drinks and bottles of water for the kiddies. Plonk yourself down on conveniently-placed bales of hay that are dotted around the venue.
If you decide not to partake in any of the market’s delectable food offerings you can make your way up the hill to Hilda’s Kitchen, situated in a gorgeous, white Cape Dutch house. As you step through the doorway you feel instantly cooler, the thick walls keeping the interior insulated from the outside heat. The smells of rich, home-cooked meals will make your eyes roll back in your head and the promise of sitting down somewhere out of the sun is a rather pleasant accompanying thought. Although the menu is fairly limited, with meals ranging from R90 to R150, each dish promises a heap-full of yummy to fill your tummy.
Feeling dangerously close to throttling your children? Never fear! Hand them off to go ride a pony, play on the jungle gym, have their faces painted, or ram into one another in giant plastic balls (quite honestly, the latter sounds fun for adults as well, but we get wine so it’s a fair compromise). All activities are closely monitored by farm hands and event coordinators, so feel free to leave your kiddies to exhaust themselves while you explore the extent of the market – and have a sneaky glass of vino to get you through the afternoon.
One of the perks of a market on a wine farm is that it’s usually far enough removed to feel like a little bit of a holiday, but close enough that you can make the trip worthwhile even though you only spend half a day at the venue. If you do want to make a full day of it, however, check out our earlier post on Darling – a nearby town that’s definitely worth a visit.
Where Groote Post Wine Farm, Darling Hills Road, Darling
When last Sunday of every month
Cost Entry is free and pets are welcome (just keep ‘em on a leash)
Contact +27 82 877 6677, [email protected]