Head out on South Africa’s longest road trip with the most twists! Your First Foodie Stop: Vygevallei Farm Stall & Wine House
The people at Vygevallei Farm Stall (it means fig valley) – on the R27, also called the West Coast Highway, about 40 kilometres from Melkbosstrand – know how to work hard. It’s not that often that you find an establishment – a farm stall, deli and coffee shop – that serves breakfasts and light meals with seating inside and outside, all on one premise – that is open 7 days a week and only closed for two days – Christmas and New Year – a year.
It’s not only fig lovers that rejoice because they can get their figgy fix – nothing beats Vygevallei’s fig jam laced with rosemary and thyme ladled on to a sliver of brie or camembert – whenever they are heading up or down the West Coast Road.
The fig jam, as well as the apricot jam, are two of the best sellers at the farm stall – it evokes memories of your ouma straightaway. The strawberry jam, with a hint of mint, pairs well with scones hot out of the oven.
The people at Vygevallei Farm Stall also know how to create other utterly delicious preserves, salad splashes, chutneys and glazes. Their flavour combinations are innovative and versatile – imagine curried mango or roasted butternut chutney with poppadums, and a sherry glass of their rosyntjiewyn (raisin wine).
One glass of rosyntjiewyn asks for another – with a slice of panettone (an Italian sweet bread loaf) this time.
Once you have tasted the Mediterranean chutney – with tomato, chilli, baby marrow and aubergine – you will be converted. Spread on a pizza base or stir it into a lamb stew, advises Marietha Louw, the jam (and chutney) alchemist.
On their shelves – amid enamelware, boerseep, Medjool dates, tin candle holders, bokkoms (whole, salted and dried mullet that is a delicacy all along the West Coast), place mats, farm butter, waterblommetjies (a type of flower that grows in dams and marshes and that is used to make flavoursome stew), rusks, casseroles and fresh pomegranates – you will find jams such as strawberry, grape, nectarine and passionfruit, olive and lemon, and chilli jelly shining in jewel tone colours.
The hanepoot jam has developed a following of its own on the West Coast where it’s enjoyed with ubiquitous snoek as you will find only here. Start a new trend and have some korrelkonfyt (the colloquial name for grape jam) with thinly sliced bokkom.
In summer the salad splashes – strawberry or mulberry – fly off the shelves; in winter the balsamic or rooibos and rosemary glaze partners well with roast vegetables or free-range chicken.
Vygevallei Farm Stall is also well-known for its freshly baked bread and homemade pies, the latter with, apart from more traditional fillings, bobotie or mutton curry. Alternatively, there is vetkoek and samosas. It’s kid-friendly – in-store there are gifts for the young ones too, and for the grown ups there is a wine shop with wines from local cellars – and some craft beers – as well.
The farm stall is owned by the Louw family of Malmesbury. Cooking jam is an art, they say. It is hard work too. The Louw family has artisanal skills and an admirable work ethic as the Vygevallei Farm Stall and their handiwork attest.
Vygevallei, on the R27 to the West Coast; about 60 km from the centre of Cape Town. If you are coming from Cape Town the turnoff is on your right.
Written by: Ilse Zietsman Photos by Dominique in the City
I’m a freelance journalist – I love writing about travel, food, and people. Travel is my passion – I’ve traveled to 44 countries and I’m always planning my next trip.
I have a curious mind, I love learning new things and doing something different. And yes, I confess, I listen to Boney M over Christmas.
West Coast Way is South Africa’s road trip with the most twists. South Africans and visitors can explore a unique collection of themed routes to do adventure-filled Cape West Coast self-drive trips or a West Coast Holiday. The new West Coast Way “basket” of free routes on offer include the West Coast Way Tractor Route, the West Coast Way Berg Route, the West Coast Way Foodie Route, the West Coast Way Cultural Route – as well as the newly launched West Coast Way Wild Route, all of which are designed to showcase the many attractions and activities that are already on offer on the Cape West Coast and inland areas – but may be unknown to many. For more information on West Coast Way’s #WestCoastTwist and the list of 101 Things to Do on the West Coast visit www.westcoastway.co.za or call West Coast Way on 0861 321 777. Connect with West Coast Way on Facebook and Twitter at WestCoastWaySA.