Spice Route Stamps

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Contents - Text: Paula Ra­bel­ing Images © Spice Route Des­ti­na­tion

If you want to spend a day on a gas­tro­nomic jour­ney while sur­rounded by nat­u­ral beauty dur­ing this hol­i­day sea­son, Spice Route Des­ti­na­tion in the Western Cape is ideal.

I was gifted with a pass­port that would take me around Spice Route Des­ti­na­tion, so I made my way to Paarl with the pur­pose of gain­ing as many stamps as I could.

This new op­tion from Spice Route Des­ti­na­tion is per­fect if you are plan­ning on spend­ing a day ex­pe­ri­enc­ing all that the Des­ti­na­tion has to of­fer, or if you plan to take mul­ti­ple trips. Vis­i­tors pay once for the pass­port, and the book­let al­lows for stan­dard tast­ings at Spice Route Wines’ Tast­ing Room, Cape Brew­ing Com­pany (CBC), De Villiers Choco­late, Richard Bos­man’s Qual­ity Cured Meats, and Wilderer Dis­tillery – this gives a taste of the dif­fer­ent ar­ti­sans that make Spice Route Des­ti­na­tion such a suc­cess.

Pass­port in hand, my first stop was the Spice Route Wines’ Tast­ing Room. Walk­ing into the Des­ti­na­tion, one of the first things you see is the large, tiled world map on the wall of the tast­ing room, showing the name sake of the Des­ti­na­tion: the route ships took dur­ing the 15th cen­tury to ac­quire ex­otic spices from the East. The day was sunny, so I opted to sit out­doors un­der one of the um­brel­las, bask­ing in the breath­tak­ing views of the Paarl Moun­tains. The Spice Route wine host took me through five wines made from grapes around the Western Cape re­gion. Tasters are able to look through the menu, and choose which five wines they would like to try. I highly rec­om­mend the Chakalaka – a re­cip­i­ent of Dou­ble Gold at the 2017

This new op­tion from Spice Route Des­ti­na­tion is per­fect if you are plan­ning on spend­ing a day ex­pe­ri­enc­ing all that the Des­ti­na­tion has to of­fer, or if you plan to take mul­ti­ple trips.

Na­tional Wine Chal­lenge, this wine is the flag­ship of the win­ery, and pays tribute to lo­cal cui­sine.

With my first stamp ap­plied to my pass­port, it was time to swop grapes for hops at CBC.

A stan­dard tast­ing at the brew­ery will get you a taste of four craft beers – Pil­sner, Lager, Krys­tal Weiss, and Am­ber Weiss. Held in the on­site brew­ery, the tast­ing is done around a bar with the beers on tap, while the beers are be­ing cre­ated in the range of con­trap­tions be­hind you.

Opt­ing to in­dulge in dessert be­fore lunch, I fol­lowed up my beer tast­ing with a choco­late tast­ing at De Villiers Choco­late. The ex­ten­sive range of choco­late de­lights from De Villiers was ar­ranged along the cir­cu­lar bar, with a prod­uct dis­played and a plate of bite­size testers on of­fer. De Villiers is proud of the fact that its choco­late is “from bean to bar”, mean­ing that ev­ery step of the choco­late mak­ing process is done by the choco­late maker. The his­toric build­ing where De Villiers Choco­late is sit­u­ated at Spice Route Des­ti­na­tion is where choco­lates are hand-crafted from co­coa beans sourced from around the world. From sea salt and caramel, pep­per­mint and macadamia, and chili flavours, to chai milk and cof­fee and car­damom, the range of choco­late slabs is ex­ten­sive and de­li­cious. Af­ter I had been around the bar once, I chose a few slabs of my favourite ar­ti­sanal choco­late I had tasted to en­joy at home. De Villiers of­fers a gift box con­tain­ing six of the dif­fer­ent choco­late flavours – a great gift for the choco­holic in your life.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing my De Villiers Choco­late stamp in my pass­port, I was off to La Grap­pe­ria Pizzeria and Bistro. This lunch time hotspot’s claim to fame is its wood-fired, thin base piz­zas and Ital­ian/ Ger­man in­spired menu. If you are with a group, or­der some of your favourite drinks along with a few of the piz­zas (the flammkuchen is a win­ner). Sit back and en­joy this feast un­der the mas­sive oak trees, with gor­geous views of the Paarl Val­ley stretch­ing into the hori­zon.

Be­sides th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences, there is so much more to ex­plore at Spice Route Des­ti­na­tion: visit Richard Bos­man’s Qual­ity Cured Meats for a char­cu­terie tast­ing, and gin, grappa, schnaps, and other spir­its tast­ings are on of­fer at Wilderer Dis­tillery (the Fyn­bos in­fused gin has es­tab­lished it­self as one of the finest in the coun­try) also in­cluded in your pass­port.

Not in­cluded with the pass­port, but def­i­nitely worth the visit, is Bar­ley and Bil­tong Em­po­rium for de­li­cious CBC beer, bil­tong of­fer­ings and “larger than life burg­ers”. For those want­ing more of a fine-din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with a clas­sic, tra­di­tional twist, award-win­ing chef Ber­tus Bas­son’s restau­rant of the same name is a fan­tas­tic choice for lunch; and for dessert, get a su­gar cone topped with ei­ther caramel, cof­fee, vanilla, or choco­late ice cream from DV Café, just around the cor­ner from Ber­tus Bas­son at Spice Route.

Bring­ing to­gether some of the pre­mier food ar­ti­sans in South Africa at one des­ti­na­tion, spend­ing a day wind­ing along Spice Route Des­ti­na­tion is an ideal way to spend a Sum­mer day.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.spicer­oute.co.za.

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