Driving towards Webersburg Wine Estate at around 9:20 this morning, I could feel my foot getting a little heavier on the accelerator as our levels of anticipation started to bubble over. This was it. The creative feast of handmade products that we had all seen snippets of on Twitter and Facebook had rolled into Cape Town, fresh from a whirlwind debut in Bloemfontein in October. At last, Kamers Vol Geskenke was finally here, and we couldn’t wait to get there. Neither, it seemed, could anyone else.
Though technically the food, clothing and craft fair has already been on the go since earlier this week, today was the first time most working people in the city would be able to make it through. And by most, I mean all. Literally, every person with a smartphone and enough petrol in their tank went into full combat Kamers mode this morning. We didn’t by any means think we’d be the only ones rocking up as soon as the doors opened today, but we weren’t expecting to find ourselves in the middle of an exodus of modern civilization, snaking their way with drooling determination towards wonderland in the winelands.
Once through the doors on the dazzling wine estate with knockout views in every direction, it was easy enough to forget that 90% occupancy was the norm in every room we’d be browsing through. Divided across several enormous tents, marquees, indoor sections and lawn areas were an intoxicating mix of products created with passion and dedication to each specific craft. Moving from aisle to aisle and indoor to outdoor, the genres had no end – from loose cotton button ups and pendants to dolls, cushions, letterpress cards, ornamental shells, plastic sculptures, printed t-shirts, shoes, stone decorations and potted plants. And that was in the first few minutes. The scale of sheer creative talent and entrepreneurial spirit we have in this country of ours was on display for all to see – and it was simply staggering.
And then, of course, the food!
We were a bit too early for Chef Wynand van Rooyen’s pop-up restaurant, The Flying Boar, but spotted the menu with glee. Both the lamb and yellowtail dishes sound like absolute winners, at a decent price. Pickled nasturtiums! For those with a more adventurous stomach, The Good Life food truck’s truffle burgers sounded like something I could sink my teeth into with a smile.
A permanent queue was firmly in place for most of the day at Barista Sista, serving the caffeine needs of some very pleased cup-wielding browsers who needed a pick-me-up after the long drive. For those who needed something calmer or cooler, Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour offered a hot and iced menu out on one of the lawns.
Speaking of cool, the 28° temperature masquerading as 21° was easily overcome with some intriguing ice cream flavours on offer in the food hall downstairs. Beetroot honeycomb and thyme or salted caramel and banana at Ice Cream Community? Worth trying both (and the rest of the flavours too) as far as I’m concerned. For something lighter but just as refreshing, Las Paletas’ range of artisanal ice lollies are R20 worth of summery goodness on a stick. Brownie cheesecake, roast banana, and coconut lemonade? Yes please, thanks, I’ll have another!
Before leaving, the Ma Mère stall is one you just can’t pass without happily handing over wads of cash in exchange for the most delicious handmade confections this side of Paris. My favourite favourites are their white chocolate fudge and salted macadamia nut brittle. The fudge should really be called something like ‘solidified liquid milk pillows’ because you won’t feel a single sugar crystal in each gorgeous mouthful. They are truly something very special, which is probably why I bought two bags, and why I only had one bag by the time I got back home. And why by tomorrow morning I’ll be counting down my next visit to their shop at The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.
As we made our escape from the madding crowd that was still growing by the minute, we chatted about the unusual combination of items and experiences, some of which we wouldn’t have thought we’d be interested in, but all of which we were delighted to have discovered. Lots of people? Yes. Loads of reasons to be happy we visited? YES. Even more excited about going again next year? Y-E-S! Ready to make sure we get there even earlier next time? Setting the alarm for 4am on 7 June 2014 as we speak.