There’s no denying that food and wine are some of life’s greatest pleasures. Well, Darling has all kinds of delicacies to tickle tastebuds. Go there.
Slow down but not too slowly as there’s a lot to see and do. Even the beer is made slowly, as it should be according to Darling Brew assistant brewer Joyce Denson. “Lagers are beers that ferment slowly at low temperatures and that’s what we do,” she smiles. Joyce started off behind the bar in the tasting room. Her interest and passion shone through and she was given opportunities that she grabbed with both hands. If you have a killer thirst, enjoy a beer tasting in South Africa’s first carbon-neutral brewery. They also serve hearty meals made from locally sourced ingredients.
Mystery Tour Through The Darling Museum
But I digress on one of many diversions of what should have been a one-hour mystery tour. Our day began at Darling Museum where we were given a map of the town and an entry ticket which we were told to keep. Under her gleeful eyes, we missed the first clue as we explored wagons, farm friezes, agricultural machinery and butter making equipment. With a bit of help on our quest for treasure, we took the back roads solving riddles, admiring heritage houses and Waterwise gardens.
We stopped to chat with locals. Josephine Hickley came to Darling 26 years ago and transformed what was a sprawling British Boer War headquarters, then a shop, primary school and hairdressing salon. Now this 93-year-old was planting marigold seeds in her gorgeous garden.
Tantalize Your Taste Buds At Darling Sweets
Tantalising smells drew us into Darling Sweet & Gallery where we watched the toffee making process and enjoyed contemporary art by local artists. How does anyone walk past a bookshop and not go inside, especially when there’s a friendly ginger cat on the doorstep. “Mamma wouldn’t let anyone touch her eleven years ago,” says Anne Greenwell, co-owner of the independent bookshop that opened 13 years ago. Actually cats seem to be everywhere in Darling. There’s even a shop called Cat Walk.
Next door is Marmalade Cat where, you guessed, a Cat Stevens song played as we tucked into roast veg, basil pesto and mozzarella tramezzini. Sandi Collins left farming Nguni cows in Polokwane in 2004. She then moved to Darling where she initially delighted by the striped field mice that scurried in and out of the restaurant until they multiplied. Putting two and two together she contacted the local S.P.C.A. who were looking for a home for a ginger cat. Marmalade arrived, disappeared, then returned with a gift which was presented at the feet of a customer.
Secret Ingredients Of Success
An important ingredient to the restaurant’s success is the staff seen in paintings (including Marmalade the cat) on the walls.
Back to the mystery tour where a clue led to Darling Wine Shop owned by larger than life Charles Withington. He is passionate and knowledgeable about all things liquor-related and a great raconteur. Darling Wine Shop does tastings and also stock gin, brandy, Ports and customised gift packs.
Popping next door is Carla Bryan owner of Udderly Delicious who was about to leave to milk cows. Originally from Zimbabwe, she started making artisan cheese from her Noordhoek garage in 2011. Her cheese was soon in great demand by friends and restaurants. Three years later she moved to Darling and now sells Skattie, Caciotta, Pepper Caciotta, Mascarpone, Ricotta and Pecorino, among other things. On the corner is Darling
Darling Is A Cornucopia Of Eateries
Standing on milk crates they earned pocket money while learning the butchery trade from dad Parker Kriel. They now create all things meat – smoked, cured, droewors, salami’s and charcuterie. Hungry again and having heard about Paul and Louis Van Zyl’s scones we drove to the other end of town and Brig’s Barn. They took over one year ago but have kept with the tradition of being pet and family-friendly while serving up delicious home-cooked fare. “Eat with your eyes”, laughs Paul. Darling is a cornucopia of eateries. An unwritten rule is that each restaurant is open on certain nights of the week. This orderliness is an innovative example of what makes this village tick. As for mystery tour….
There is treasure at the end.
Darling Brew: 022 286 1099 or email darlingbrew.co.za
Darling Sweet: 083 235 4002 or email [email protected]
Darling bookshop: www.bookleague/news.co.za
Marmalade Cat: 022 492 2515 or email [email protected]
Darling Wine: 022 492 3971, 074 194 1711 or email darlingwine.co.za
Udderly Delicious: 082 829 8111 or email [email protected]
Darling Meat Market: 022 492 2633 or email [email protected]
Brig’s Barn: 022 492 2451 or email [email protected]
Darling Museum Mystery Tours
Where: Corner of Hill and Pastorie roads,
Monday to Thursday from 9h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 16h00
Fridays from 9h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 15h00
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 10h00 to 15h00.
Join us on the West Coast Way and book your next trip of adventure with [email protected] or contact us on 0861 321 777
Contact: 022 492 3361 or email [email protected]
Karen Watkins started out as a travel writer and photographer supplying articles for numerous newspapers and magazines including Indiwe, Country Life, Go, Good Taste and others. Joined Independent Newspapers Limited in 2007 to work one year with Special Projects writing marketing copy before joining the Constantiaberg Bulletin as a multi-media journalist writing news and taking pictures until May 2019. And now she is writing for West Coast Way