Diving into Adventure

Shark Cage Diving and Educational with Marine Dynamics.

 

With Gansbaai only 20 or so kilometers from Stanford, guests to the village can easily combine their country-getaway (complete with delicious fare, nature-inspired activities and award-winning wines) with the high-adrenalin adventure of Shark Cage Diving. Stanford Tourism and Business Manager, Nicky Currie, takes to the high seas to tick off one of her all time favourite bucket list experiences.

 

Hosted by Marine Dynamics, Nicky and fellow Stanfordian, Karla Erwee, prepared for their big day out and walked away with hearts pumping and a treasure trove of facts and information about the gorgeous creatures that call the Gansbaai coastline home.

 

Their day started with a delicious breakfast and coffee at the Great White House while Marine Biologist, Toby, briefed the team on what to expect on the dive, as well as key safety tips. They then headed out from Kleinbaai Harbour on Slashfin, the “coolest boat ever” – built for both work and comfort. After slipping into dry (well not for long) 7mm wetsuits, they prepared for the dive.

“I can honestly say that EVERYTHING that I experienced was flawless. From the moment you walk in through the doors at The Great White House…you feel welcome.”
– Nicky, ST&B

The big blue. Photo: Karla Erwee

Despite reports of killer whales and the dramatic effect they’re having on the presence of Great White Sharks in the Cape, Tourists can rest assured that there’s more to see than just the Great Whites –

 

“The Copper Shark sightings have been amazing and gave visitors memories that will last forever, as well as Sevengill sharks.  With these amazing sightings daily, we are able to still offer our five star trips and change perceptions.  Over the last week we had Great White Shark sightings again, and this morning we saw a beautiful Great White Shark.”
– Gretha, Marine Dynamics

 

Nicky echoed the sentiments of Marine Dynamics –

“Copper Sharks was showing off and I can honestly say that I just cannot get enough of them!… All the tourists on the boat was in awe of these majestic creatures and excitement level was HIGH!”

Photo: Marine Dynamics

Photo: Marine Dynamics

After their dive, the group enjoyed a much-welcomed steamy cup of hot chocolate aboard the boat, and then an awesome surprise, they had time for another dive to take in even more of the natural and graceful beauty of the Copper Sharks before heading back to The Great White House for hot soup, bread, and the chance to watch the video made of their dives (which are also available for purchase for those looking for the ultimate memento of their time with the sharks).

 

“The staff onboard is out of this world.
They are professional, yet fun and highly informative.”
– Nicky, ST&B

 

But the day was not over yet. Marine Dynamic’s Gretha treated Nicky and Karla to an educational at the African Seabird & Penguin Sanctuary in Gansbaai.

The African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary is well worth a visit on your next trip to the Cape Whale Coast. Photo: Karla Erwee

Photo: Karla Erwee

“How very special and educational! They are doing so much work for all these animals, it is inspiring to see that there are people putting in such an effort! Marine Dynamics will most definitely see me again and next time, I am taking the family with!”
– Nicky, ST&B

 

A big thank you to Marine Dynamics for an exceptional experience. For visitors looking to follow in Nicky and Karla’s footsteps, pop into the tourism office to learn more about Shark Cage Diving options and tours.

 

(Cover Photo: Marine Dynamics)

Bike, Paddle or Swim your way through the Cape Whale Coast

Are you ready to stretch those legs and get out and about in 2019? We’re showcasing the best of the Cape Whale Coast’s outdoor and adventure events and we can’t wait for you to come and explore our gorgeous part of the Cape with us. If you’ve ever needed an excuse to pack up your gear and road trip, here are 5 great performance and sports events that’ll have you racing to the Cape Whale Coast in the next few months.


1.
Stanford MTB Classic
When: 16-17 February

If you’re looking to explore 2 stages of around 45km each, and you’re new to multi-stage events (not MTB itself), this non-competitive weekend is just what you need. Explore jeep and single tracks with a max climbing per stage of 950m while taking in the “relaxed country village atmosphere”, scenic fynbos surrounds and more. Info here.

Image via Stanford MTB Classic FB Page. Photo by Oak Pics.


2. Lighthouse to Lighthouse Marathon
When: 23 – 24 February

“If you’re looking to ride a unique MTB experience in 2019, then the Lighthouse 2 Lighthouse is the event for you. On 23 & 24 February, 2019, enter as a 2-man team or single rider on this two-day event. Hosted by The Lions of Gansbaai, the L2L has been running for 18 years with all proceeds going to charity projects in the Southern Cape.”More info here.


3. Stanford River Festival
When: 2 March

Join us for our annual river festival right here in the village. Organised by the Stanford Canoe Club, the even marks the opening of the Western Province Canoe Club season. With around 20km to paddle, kayak or SUP the event is a great day out for water enthusiasts and families alike. Contact: Wilien van Zyl vanzylwilien@gmail.com

Stanford River Festival


4.
ABSA Cape Epic 2019

When: 18-19 March

Hermanus hosts Stage one, as well as the start of Stage 2 for this year’s ABSA Cape Epic. Come cheer on the riders as they complete 112km on the first day before heading off for an 86km trek to Oak Valley Estate. It’s not called the EPIC for nothing! More info here.


5. Hi-Tec
Walkerbay Extreme
When: 26-28 April

Something for everyone’s adrenalin needs at this epic sports adventure weekend in and around Hermanus. “The event features a host of sporting activities from running, swimming and cycling to functional fitness, paddling and SUPing.” Spectators and families alike enjoy the atmosphere while cheering at these multi-disciplinary events. Don’t miss out on the extreme action this April. More info here.

Stanford is conveniently located between both Hermanus and Gansbaai – ideal for accommodation, restaurant and recreation options during these events. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and What’s On for more great #capewhalecoast sporting events throughout the year. #visitstanford and make it your most active year yet!

 

Memories of the year gone by

Wow what a year in our little village, the holidays are upon us and there is still so much to see and do in Stanford before the clock strikes midnight and we bid farewell to 2018. For a fun little recap of Stanford life, we thought we’d bring you some Instagram Memories. Capture your own these holidays and remember to tag @visitstanford and #visitstanford #nowherebetterthanstanford so that we can share your experiences with other travellers looking for a country escape. Here’s to even more fantatsic memories in 2019, cheers!

– We celebrated the return of warmer weather with White Water Farm and Don Gelato.

 

– We shared moments of Stanford’s History (we like to think it boosted our IQ a little) with gorgeous images from Annalize Mouton Photography and Mosaic Private Sanctuary.

– Bikers galore showed that they have heart power along with horse power for the annual Overberg Toy Run

– The fit and fearless swam, cycled and ran in this year’s Race2Stanford

– We daydreamed about foodie things a lot (pictured here: Misty Mountain Estate, Zesty Lemon and Ou Meul Bakkery)

– Our members shone in Print (featured: HaesFarm, Springfontein Eats, Stanford Valley Guest Farm, Walker Bay Estate)

– We drank tea and wine and had another great year in Stanford ! (Lion Tea Party hosted by Stanford Tourism in support of Panthera Africa; Springfontein Wine joining the other members of the Stanford Wine Route at the Stanford Sunset Market)

Stanford, Unplugged

With the shops filling up with already anxious shoppers, not to mention the parking spaces – yikes, we’re taking the time to unplug here in Stanford. After all, we’re a Heritage Village nestled between a gorgeous mountain range and a tranquil river – what else would you expect? But what does it mean to unplug? Are we saying toss your iPhone into the cool depths of the Klein River? Well, not quite.

Instead we’re suggesting taking the time to unplug from the busy, that white noise constantly buzzing in your ear telling you there’s too much to do, hurry, hurry huuuuuuurry. Here it’s about taking it slow, about doing more of what you love, and less of the headache stuff. Walk more instead of driving everywhere, ride your bike, paddle along the river or go on a cruise and if you want to use tech, use it to capture beautiful moments with friends and family, or send someone a “wish you were here, let’s do this together next year” message.

Get together with friends and family and enjoy the beauty of the Klein River with a river cruise (image: Lady Stanford)

And down the river he goes…(image: Annalize Mouton)

Enjoy lazy lunches, sample some magnificent local food and wines, let the kids just play and play and play and skip a bath or two if you’re feeling rebellious.

Family-friendly restaurants like Stanford Hills where kids can play and mom and dad can relax

Springfontein’s Cellarmaster, Tariro, soaking up country living at Springfontein Wine Estate (via @springfonteinwine on Instagram)

Farm life at White Water Farm (via @whitewaterstanford on Instagram)

Unplugging can be as joyous as growing your own veggies – Goodwill Mountain Farm (via @goodwillmountain on Instagram)

Do your last minute Christmas shopping at a local market (try the Stanford Street Festival for some lovely ideas on December 16th) or shop right here in the village and support local entrepreneurs doing what they love.

The Stanford Street Festival on December 16th is a great day out to shop, eat and soak up a charming Christmas market right in the village’s main street.

Shop beautiful treasures at Stanford’s Antique and Vintage shops, this beautiful collection available at Bellairs Withers.

Handmade Soaps and body products along with a myriad of gifts and goodies from Antjie’s gift shop in Queen Victoria Street.

Sit on a beautiful stoep and take in the sights and sounds of village life, or go an adventure – hike to a waterfall or soak in the wonder of an ancient milkwood forest.

The dreamy stoep of Lavenders Blue (image: Stanford Country Cottages)

And if you need more inspiration, pop into the tourism office, we’d love to make some suggestions and help you make the most of your stay.

 

Whatever you do, and however you choose to spend your time in Stanford these holidays, do it at your pace, or even better, at ours. Let us rub off on you a little bit, and go home with some Stanford magic dust and a heart (and memory card) filled with memories.

 

Beautiful cover image of this blog by Annalize Mouton.

From Flowers to Fabulous – homegrown entrepreneurs’ flower farm blossoms into a full guest experience

Turn off the R43 from Hermanus up a gravelly road sprinkled with restaurants and vineyards and you’ll find Stanford Hills – a guest farm, function venue, vineyard and restaurant and flower farm born out of a love of family celebrations. We sat down with co-owner and entrepreneur, Jami Kastner, to find out more about making a success of life in the hills.

“Born out of family & celebrations – the good things in life and everything kind of came from that. Being parents ourselves we wanted to share our great life here on the farm. It gives us great joy!”

Kiddie fun at Stanford Hills

Having grown up in the area, with a keen eye for business and hospitality, Jami and husband Peter purchased their farm on April 1st 2005, an auspicious day for a young couple who originally started with Protea farming but soon branched out into the then unknown territory of wine – a decision Jami admits was both naive and a little crazy, but one which has guided their business into the food and hospitality realm.

The Shop serves as the wine tasting, sales and reception hub at Stanford Hills. Pop in for wine, flowers or even some pinotage jam. Sounds yum!

A small rustic building with gorgeous views over the dam grew from a deli/picnic type spot into a small tasting room for their estate wines and now has blossomed into a 140-seater restaurant with the same gorgeous views. The growth of the restaurant opened up the opportunities for special occasions and eventually weddings.

Chef Jana changes the blackboard menu daily according to what is fresh and available. There is also an extensive mezze menu to choose from

Live music concerts with some of SA’s finest musicians can also be enjoyed in the summer months with families spread out across the green lawns soaking up the sun, sounds and local food & beverages.

A big turning point for live music at Stanford Hills was the partnership with Louise Carver (who returns on January second with Ard Matthews).  She was the first big artist to take a chance on the venue and attracted 1000 people! Artists refer to their concerts at Stanford Hills as a ‘Kirstenbosch but more intimate’. Jeremy Loops will be rocking the hills in December, have you booked?

With each venture, the couple have been conscious of allowing for organic growth – while some elements were on their original business plan, others have grown from observing and listening to their customers’ needs, and branching out when the brand and team were confident and ready for the next step – bearing in mind that the new additions needed to reflect the brand’s values:

“Everything we do reflects a celebration of life” says Jami. From the food people enjoy to wine, beautiful pincushions or a family-holiday in one of the cottages or the Africamps. Keeping this ethos at the core of their brand has guided the family, and other entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry would do well to take note of their passion – “Be authentic and be consistent. Commit to your decisions. If you’re going to be open 7 days a week, be open 7 days a week. People need to trust they can come to you.”

Stanford Hills may seem laid back and casual – trademarks of their vibe, but their branding is sharp, well-displayed and consistent. Even Pinot the giant ridgeback is part of the Stanford Hills experience.

What about the challenges of running a business that relies on such a strong tourism focus? “One of the biggest challenges has been keeping up with the times and the technology. As a business owner you have to figure out a way to keep up.” says Jami. The brand has embraced social media and once she’s tuned into a new platform Jami explains “it’s such an easy thing to market something you genuinely love. Business has to have heart. People can feel that energy in your business.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to offer something based on revenue potential, but if it’s not your passion, you’re not going to have the fuel you need to get you through the difficult times. Authenticity is important, “consider what you love and offer that.”

“Peter & I both love the hospitality industry, we love watching people enjoying themselves.” Share your Stanford Hills good times with the team on their social media channels and tag #stanfordhills #visitstanford

And what about success? What works when marketing a business like Stanford Hills? “It’s vital to listen to your local people and keep them happy, it’s not just them coming here, it’s them telling people to come here.” says Jami. Mid-week food specials and community-initiatives like the Stanford Striders walking group who meet for a meal and glass of wine for just R60 after an active walk around the farm on the last Monday of the month, are just two of the ways Jami and her team reach out to the local market. Jami emphasizes how important it is for locals in an area to know that a business values them. Word of mouth marketing, especially in a small community like Stanford is invaluable. Other key points for the business’ success, in addition to being sensitive to a local market, has been clever collaboration with like-minded brands.

All accommodation is self catering but guests can order breakfast or braai baskets delivered to them to prepare at their leisure.

“What has really tipped the scales for us has been the collaboration between Africamps and Stanford Hills.”

While Stanford Hill’s accommodation arm was enjoying steady weekend trade, the partnership with the boutique camping brand has seen an impressive increase in midweek stays – which has a positive knock on effect for the restaurant, and surrounding businesses.

African Wings, an air charter service popular during whale season also based on the farm, has benefited from the Africamps clientele who are well matched to the service.

TIP: For entrepreneurs looking to expand their footprint or marketing reach, look for partnerships that complement your own, aim for a ongoing working relationship and nurture it.

The magic ingredient for Stanford Hill’s longevity, has been the very hands-on involvement of both Jami and Peter –

“Nothing can replace owner business involvement – nobody cares for or loves your business like you do. Keep your own finger on the pulse.” Says Jami. Complementing their management style is a happy, enthusiastic team who embody the brand. Jami shows a keen interest in her staff and loves discovering hidden success stories right in her own backyard – Vuyo, who started on the farm as a flower picker for example, is now an amazing, and proud, teacher at The Butterfly Centre, another family initiative Jami is unbelievably passionate about. (You can find out more about them here).

Despite the brand’s success Jami is very aware that no man is an island, especially not in the hospitality and tourism game. With experience on both the Hermanus Tourism Committee, and later as the chair of Stanford Tourism, Jami has a keen understanding of the value of Destination Marketing – she explains that tourism businesses shouldn’t look at tourism as competing against each other, rather with the idea that the whole town or region is competing against other destinations. This helps people to unify under their tourism brand and represent a strong front. 

“I couldn’t feel more strongly that we need to work together. It comes down to aligning with brands who have a similar ethos.” – explains Jami. Support other businesses trying to achieve similar goals; value word of mouth – it is more powerful than even the most active social media accounts!

Weddings are popular and very often become weekend celebrations – that means more and more people are benefiting. Her best advice for businesses in small towns and villages? Remain aware of the fact that you’re part of the bigger picture.

Jami goes on to discuss Stanford’s unique offerings, including the gorgeous river and its related activities – “People still don’t realise the beauty of the river. One of the most unique Stanford experiences” And don’t forget the village’s food scene – We are proud we are to be linked to Stanford, which has a number of very highly rated restaurants and is becoming more and more of a ‘foodie’ destination.”

A big thank you to Jami for her time and for sharing her entrepreneurial insights!

With so much on the go, the village of Stanford offers just about something for everyone. Come and meet our entrepreneurs, support owner-run businesses and enjoy an escape from the city with us. We look forward to welcoming you! Share your experiences with us on Facebook (@stanfordtourism) and Instagram (@visitstanford) and tag #visitstanford!

 

 

 

Overberg Toy Run is Coming

25 NOVEMBER 2018, 10:00 – 15:00
Stanford Market Square

The annual charity Toy Run has become an icon in South Africa since its inception in 1982 and is celebrating 33 years of giving and caring for those less fortunate during the festive period. It is now the largest motorcycle-related charity event in Southern Africa and arguably the world.

The Overberg Toy Run 2018, will be hosted by Stanford and motorcyclists will park on the Village Green (Market Square) on 25 November 2018. It is a national event supported by the Overstrand Municipality and administered via the Stanford Tourism Bureau (Stanford Info). Bikers and spectators are all asked to bring a plush toy and child’s gift to donate, for both girls and boys.

There will be a market on the Market Square to which there is free entrance to spectators, families and motorcyclists alike. There will be food stalls, children’s entertainment, craft beer, live music and more.

Bikers will be meeting at Gansbaai Wimpy 8:30am (riding via R43 to Bredasdorp), Bredasdorp Wimpy 09:30am, Hermanus Wimpy 08:30am (riding via Hemel ‘n Aarde to meet Caledon riders), and Caledon Wimpy at 09h30 – all to convene at Van Braakel Store and then to the Market Square in Stanford. Expectations are for more than 700 bikers to participate this year’s event.

The Toy Run provides an opportunity for motorcyclists to donate toys, educational items, etc for collection by Stanford Rotary for the distribution as Christmas gifts to disadvantaged children of all races in orphanages, shelters, homes and hospitals throughout the participating Overberg communities.

For more info, please see the Overberg Toy Run Facebook page

Photos: Overberg Toy Run Facebook

Contact:
Nicky Currie of Stanford Tourism 028 341 0340 or ask@stanfordinfo.co.za
Eddie Noble 083 261 5675 enoble@mweb.co.za

Stanford Through the Lens

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite Instagram photos taken by our Stanford Tourism members to give you a glimpse into art, weddings, activities, accommodation and the gorgeous landscapes that make up Stanford and surrounds. Enjoy! And if you’re an avid tapper of the photo button, tag us on your next visit to Stanford with #visitstanford and be sure to follow us on Instagram @visitstanford.

 

Goodwill Mountain Farm (@goodwillmountain)

We love Goodwill Mountain’s celebration of spring! With rolling views of the Stanford Valley, the farm is nestled on the side of a mountain. Accommodation options range from lovingly restored labourers’ cottages, to a Villa sleeping 8-10 guests.

Find them on Stanford Tourism Website here.

 

Panthera Africa (@panthera_africa)


Someone else enjoying spring is Panthera Africa’s gorgeous white lion, Oliver. If you’d like to make the most of the warmer evenings, why not book a Sunset Visit and experience the magical cats of Panthera in a unique atmosphere. Pre-booking is essential, you can find out more here.

The Zesty Lemon Restaurant (@zesty_lemon_restaurant)

If picture-perfect country weddings are your thing, you’re spoilt for choice in Stanford. We just love the mood of this recent wedding captured at The Zesty Lemon – vintage and retro country looking gorgeous!

In addition to small weddings, they also hosts team buildings, year-end functions, birthdays and kids parties.

Find them on the Stanford Tourism website here.

 

Graze Slow Food Café (@graze_cafe)

Graze Slow Food Café recently hosted yet another successful Self-Sufficiency Workshop. Participants learnt about animal husbandry, gardening and growing their own organic veg, herbs and fruits. Beekeeping looked like loads of fun (and pretty sci-fi) and cooking, bottling and preserving skills sent the participants home feeling like true pioneers (and no doubt friends and family will receive something pickled or fermented under their Christmas trees). To find out more about their Costal Forage in December click here.

 

Su Wolf (@sutroywolf)

Whimsical, quirky, playful, and of course, colourful, Stanford Artist Su Wolf’s work will tease your lips right into a smile. Her Instagram feed is a welcome patchwork of colours, inspiration and her travels – as well as some snaps around the village too. Read more about Su here, and why not book an appointment to visit her studio?

 

Blue Gum Country Estate (@bluegumcountryestate)

If a foodie getaway is on your wish list, accommodation establishments like Blue Gum Country Estate mean you never have to wander too far from your comfy room to find delectable dishes. Cleverly, Blue Gum’s restaurant has two sections – one more informal ideal for family get-togethers and open for 3 meals a day (BARKE), while The Blue Gum Restaurant caters to Adults only for more romantic dinners. The same menu is served at both sections, so the atmosphere choice is up to you.

Find out more about Blue Gum Country Estate here.

 

African Horse Company (@africanhorsecompany)

Saddle up and see the sights of Stanford and surrounds on horse back with African Horse Company. Enjoy an outride (around 1-3 hours) or gather your gusto and go for an overnight option – from 2 to 10 days you’ll really see some magnificent Overberg sights. Find out more here.

 

Springfontein Wine (@springfonteinwine)

Delivering wines that are “a combination of nature and human craftsmanship,” Springfontein Wine forms part of the @stanfordwineroute and showcases some South African favourites like Chenin Blanc and Pinotage as well as the ‘regulars’ like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Springfontein also have a small planting of Petit Verdot, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Pop into their Springfontein Bar(n) for tastings and food served daily from 11-9pm.

 

All photographs property of the respective members.

Pura Soda Race2Stanford gearing up for an even better Western Cape Triathlon

In November 2017, one of the oldest towns in South Africa hosted the inaugural Pura Soda Race2Stanford half iron distance triathlon with great success. The inaugural race attracted elite local triathletes including Matt Trautman, Stuart Marais, JP Burger, World Multisport champion Robyn Owen, Kelly van der Toorn and Vicky Van der Merwe.

 

On the 10th November 2018 Bravo, the Hermanus Whale crier, will sound off the second Pura Soda Race2Stanford. Athletes begin their challenging day out in paradise with a 1.9km swim in the new Harbour of Hermanus before making their way by bike, 90km through the magnificent Hemel en Aarde wine Valley, over Shaws Pass via Caledon to run 21.1km in the quaint & picturesque historic village of Stanford.

This 70.3 mile distance triathlon will begin with 2 laps of chilly but stunning setting sea swimming before embarking on a brutally beautiful 90km point to point bike ride and topped off with 3 crowd inspired, scenic relatively flat 7km laps along the river and through the charming cottages and farm trails of Stanford. The finish will be celebrated in Stanford’s Olde English style village square.

Families and supporters can explore the local art and antique stores and have the opportunity to run 1 lap of the run or enjoy a short historical tour walk in the morning before setting up picnics at the finish on the green or the banks of the peaceful forest lined banks of the majestic Klein River. There are also boat cruises serving the celebrated local wines along the river which boasts over 200 different bird species of which 30 are endemic to South Africa.

The traditional farm style market on the village green will be the setting for the vibey bike-run transition and race finish line. Supporters & spectators will be served artisanal farm foods, cheeses, wines and craft beers. Make sure to try a G&P (Gin & Pura) also made with locally distilled Gin on the green or at the after party.

 

The event supports community involvement with locally sourced marshals, music, infrastructure, food etc and we plan to ramp that up as we grow. The response from the community has been fantastic since we left the route cleaner than we found it and filled many bed nights & restaurants which too will grow as our field increases over time.

 

After 2 years of planning, Cape Town’s first ocean swim half iron distance triathlon was a dream come true. Once the road through the famed Hemel en Aarde had been tarred we realised we had a world class, custom fit course with equally beautiful, yet still very challenging & rewarding swim, bike and run legs. To have athletes of the calibre of Matt, Stu, Robyn, Gabriella and Kelly who have raced all around the world confirming that we’d unearthed a gem and that they loved it was enough for our event crew and partners to raise more than a few glasses of the Overberg’s finest.

 

Price of entries are the best value on offer at only R1950 for an individual entry and R2350 for a relay team of 3. Visit www.electricink.co.za/race-2-stanford for full race details and entry portal.

 

Follow the Race2Stanford on social media:
IG: @Race2Stanford
Twitter: @Race2Stanford
Facebook: Race2Stanford

 

For further information contact Electric Ink / Abre Roux on 021 438 5972 or race2stanford@electricink.co.za

 

 

Mead and the Medieval Feast

Stanford’s Home of Mead and the Harvest Kitchen celebrated the revelry of the Middle Ages

Noble knights and their lovely ladies descended upon Stanford Harvest on Friday, 27 July, for the launch of a ‘Meadieval’ Feast during the Blood Moon eclipse. The decor consisted of flags, shields and weapons, and long wooden tables decked with earthenware, goblets and candles. Outside, the fire pits, stocks and banners transformed the restaurant and surrounds into a magical, medieval setting filled with magic and excitement.

Going Medieval at Stanford Harvest

Young maidens welcomed the noble guests with song and dance on the lawns, whilst wandering minstrels serenaded the handsome crowd. All enjoyed the sunset whilst sipping Athol McOnie’s centuries-old, family recipe for Mead, described as the Drink of Gods.

The staff of Stanford Harvest together with Viv & Athol looked striking in their cloaks, masks, tights and hats. Raucous laughter could be heard as more people arrived, dressed in magnificent costumes, wearing crowns and jesters’ colourful, pointy hats. The mood for revelry was set!

And then the Vikings arrived! Outrageous and strapping men carrying long staffs with horns, and sexy warrior women, rolled in looking like they stepped off the set of Game of Thrones.

The Vikings arrived

Royal trumpet fanfare announced the arrival of King Peter & Queen Jami from Castle Herriot descent as they made their way to the top table, lording it over the wenches and lackeys.

Queen Jami and King Peter from Castle Herriott

Viv McOnie and her kitchen team spoilt everyone with a magnificent spread of four courses – most would gladly pay double for that meal. Athol kept the mead flowing, made from bee hives kept on the farm.

Belly dancer, Alyssa Bellingan, and troubadours, Jerry Fourie and John Gnodde, entertained throughout the evening. Guests took home prizes for best dressed, best morale, best cleavage, best limerick, scariest outfit and cutest couple.

Revelry and shenanigans

Stanford Harvest knows how to throw a bash that will live on in the memory books. Book now for birthdays, stag nights, bachelorette parties and end-of-year functions. The Stanford Harvest Team will work its magic to conjure up the most fun you can have in one place. Contact us on 083 409 8126

Words by Janet Marshall and Phil Murray

Recipes through the seasons: Koffie en melktert

While it sleets, snows and hails across the Western Cape, we are staying snug with coffee and milktart, Stanford style. Thank you to the Stanford Food Heroes at the Grootbos Foundation for this perfectly timed recipe.

 

INGREDIENTS
Pastry
2 cups flour
1 egg
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
125g butter
pinch of salt

Filling
4 ½ cups milk
2 ½ tbsp cornflour
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
pinch of salt
2 ½ tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
a big spoon of butter

METHOD
Pastry
Cream butter and sugar well together and add the egg, before beating well.
Add all other ingredients – making a stiff dough.
Press into one or two round cake tins/pie dishes.
Bake blind for 15 minutes at 180°C (use wax paper to cover the pastry and place dry beans/rice over the paper to weight the pastry down). Then remove the paper and beans/rice and bake for an additional 5 minutes until light brown.

Filling
Bring milk to a gentle boil.
Beat eggs well and add sugar, flour, cornflour and salt.
Mix well.
Pour boiling milk into the mixture and stir well.
Return to stove and stir for 10-12 minutes on medium heat until the mixture thickens.
Add butter and vanilla essence and mix through, then pour into cooked shell.
Allow to cool in the fridge (you do not need to cook the tart any further)
To decorate, sprinkle with cinnamon.

We are pairing this South African favourite with a local Cuppa-Jo. Choose your favourite local brew and smuggle it home in travel mug where you can kick off your gumboots, slip into your stokies and curl up on the couch with a slice (or 2) of melktert!

For tip-top posh coffee in Stanford, try Ou Meul BakkeryCoffee CornerYum Eat CafeGraze or La Tratorria or just outside the village at Stanford Harvest.

Words: Phil Murray