Written by Helena (the cousin who does the social media & stuff); Photographs supplied
It has obviously been a strange and stressful year for small businesses, especially wineries, alcohol restrictions were in place for 4 of the last 18 months!
I’m paraphrasing here but I think if Pliny the Elder was around he would agree: “Ex Kalmoesfontein Semper aliquid Novi” – out of Kalmoesfontein there is always something new.
During the ﬁrst and most daunting lockdown last year, when we couldn’t sell alcohol or welcome guests into our accommodation, Charl started a small drive-by pizza operation. Every Thursday he would take pizza orders from neighbours and friends in the valley and ﬁre up the wood ﬁred pizza oven. Customers would then get a WhatsApp when their pizzas went into the oven and they could collect it, drive-by style, next to the road in front of The Old House.
More than a year later these pizza nights continue, now some neighbours still come to collect (often over a quick glass of wine) while others rock up with a cooler box to enjoy their Kalmoesfontein Special under the fairy-lit vines of the back stoep. Some weeks we have to throw in a Friday night offering too as Charl and his team can only do 60 pizzas per night, and that’s not always enough to satisfy everyone’s appetite for their dough and cheese creations.
The weekly menu usually includes “you can’t go wrong” classics like a Napoletana style Margarita, a Regina and the Kalmoesfontein Special (with homegrown capers, anchovies, red onion and mozzarella) while there is always something new and different (even the occasional Hawaiian!). Weekly specials include The Selma (our annual intern’s creation of mostly meats…), The Irish (probably for Irish wife Semma, with chorizo, red onion, ﬁor di latte and hot honey!), The Quattro and The Fun Guy (that must be for one or both of the Badenhorst brothers…).
Or order the “menu for two” which includes 2 pizzas, a bottle of Secateurs wine, a Caprese salad, Charl’s famous ice cream and coffee, for R450.
Staying with the kitchen, we also recently relaunched our daily staff lunch offer to visitors. The cellar team has always been supplied with a daily farm lunch, for the ﬁrst decade this happened around Adi and Cornelia’s kitchen table, but as the team grew and the kitchen developed this moved down to The Old House. These days Mina and Elsa, Charl’s sous chefs (and right and left hands) prepare lunch daily for around 15 people and outsiders have the option to book to join. Lunch is always yummy and wholesome with a menu of meat, salads from the garden and freshly baked bread and if you are a guest (i.e. not going back to work after lunch…) you can have a glass of wine with it.
Other offers from our kitchen (although only available to guests staying over in our accommodation) includes ordering a braai pack or plaas picnic basket full of goodies or asking us to make you breakfast. And there is always a nice selection of plaas produce and preserves, baked goods and our very own capers or honey available in the small farm shop located at The Old House.
Another offer that is daring to rear its head after a forced hiatus is our (mostly) monthly Tasting Lunches. One Saturday a month we invite you to explore the farm, tour the cellar, taste our wines and enjoy a three-course lunch prepared by the kitchen. Our next (and last of the year as we head into a bumper wedding season) is on September 4th, but keep an eye on our social media channels for future opportunities like that.
Meanwhile, in the cellar, we’re still making our very popular Cape Aperitif called Caperitif (and we recently acquired a cool Volkswagen camper van to convert into a mobile bar so that we can soon bring the Caperitif experience to a market or event near you!) and we’ve reffed up our production of Swaan Cape Tonic Water (now in a sleek 200ml can).
AND, we’ve recently added another offer to our accommodation options: Die Melkkamer is now available as a one bedroom cottage with its own private pool and outside courtyard (previously The Silo’s outside area) while The Silo has a stunning new greenhouse-style outside lounge with plaas pool and braai place.
For more information or to book any of the above, send Helena an e-mail via email@example.com and we’ll take it from there.
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While you will ﬁnd more about Swaan: on Facebook Swaan Cape Tonic