Small-town treats

2011-05-13 15:21

The twin towns of ­Riebeek Kasteel and ­Riebeek West are rival sisters, both set in one of the most beautiful valleys in the Cape.

Riebeek Kasteel is the artsy one, full of great places to shop, expensive property, a typical laid-back Cape atmosphere and excellent places to eat. And then, of course, there is the wine.

Park your car and amble through the town after visiting the Olive Boutique on the outskirts.

The area across from the Royal Hotel is the place to be on market day – nice and buzzy.

Wicked Treats
022 448 1419
Just off the main square, you will find this heavenly little shop that belongs to well-known baker in this area, Liesel Purnell. ­Usually, you will find cupcakes and baked goods that look great but taste, well, not nearly as good as they look.

Purnell’s goods, on the other hand, deliver on taste, making good on their visual promise. They are melt-in-the-mouth, decadently full of all the things your doctor tells you to avoid – fresh butter, farm eggs, loads of sugar and cream, and plenty of imagination.

The fresh breads are delicious, as are the quiches and cakes, but the first prize must go to Purnell’s dinky little cupcakes – adorably tempting.

Crisp
Short Street
022 448 1769

Like a lot of places in Riebeek Kasteel, you will feel as though you have stepped onto a movie set as you enter Crisp.

The freshest vegetables and fruit are piled up in baskets, looking as if they may be made of wax – they are that perfect. Purple aubergines, bright-yellow mealies, sharply orange carrots, fresh and crisp, sparkling white cauliflowers, all of which look as if they have been plucked from the local farms that morning just for you.

Garden Bleu
022 448 1289

If you are looking for something different for your garden, this is the place to find it. The shop has all sorts of things in metal or stone, imaginative large outdoor mirrors, screens and trellises from Provencal, Tuscan, Victorian and French designs.

Items large and small, like butler’s trays, chairs and benches, obelisks, benches, and spectacular chandeliers, both hanging and standing. The shop is large and it feels like you are stepping into Alice’s Wonderland.

Ancient Spirit
1 Short Street
022 448 1777

One would expect this to be one of those “alternative” shops, but you will find this nice and airy, wide-open space filled with light, most uplifting, and that’s probably where the name comes from.

They carry a wide range of quirky, offbeat garments for women and children, including a special hand-crocheted range made from cotton and wool nicely deconstructed, which encourages the wearer not to feel constricted by the design. They also have one-off handbags and shoes, especially for someone who wouldn’t dream of buying at the local mall.

Wine Collective
The Blue Building
Short Street
022 448 1008

Although you will find some of this famous wine area’s wines here at very good prices, that is not the raison d’être of the Wine Collective.

They specialise in difficult-to-get wines, something different. As you walk in, you will feel as though you have stepped back in time, possibly into one of
those Clint Eastwood Westerns that he made in Italy before he became respectable.

The light is not encouraged to enter through the small deep-set windows, and the air is filled with the musty, interesting odours of the hundreds of bottles of wine you will see stacked around you. But fear not, they do have refrigeration, and that is where you will find a few delicious white wines and some offbeat bubblies to crack open and enjoy.

Olive Boutique
49 Church Street
022 448 1368

Juliana and Michael Meredith’s names are synonymous with olives in this area. Michael presses the harvest right there on the premises for the finest, deliciously nutty, olive oil.

They make tasty marinated olives like Kalamatas in blueberry dressing, rosemary and garlic, lime, and roasted with lavender and white truffle oil as well as tapenades and mustards. They also make a range of olive oil beauty products, soaps, lotions and unguents. In fact, if it is olive based, start your search here.

Aitsa
27 Main Street
022 448 1492

This quaint little shop has all the things you may expect to find in a country shop. Browsing is a joy, especially on the day they have fresh bread. The smell from the oven will drive you mad with desire. The rows of jams and preserves glow like jewels, and under glass covers you will find fudge and coconut ice.

They also have real farm butter and biltong, the best in this area, or so they tell me. If you are looking for cushions, costume jewellery or other arts and crafts, you will also find them here.

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