TGIFOOD

MARKET REPORT

Magical nights at Lourensford Market – Winter Edition

The market at night, awash in fairy lights and bonfires. (Photo: Lourensford Market) Fresh-from-the-oven pizza from Corlie’s Italian. (Photo: Louzel Lombard Steyn)

For a few weeks in winter, South Africa’s wine-producing dorpies become little European villages complete with dreary weather and cashmere-clad coffee sippers. It’s one of the most underrated times to experience the handful of evening markets in the Winelands.

There’s much to love about summer in the Winelands. Long balmy days, sunset picnics on sprawling lawns at every other wine farm and easy, picnic-style grub to go with it. For all its whimsical allure, summer sure deserves its place in the sun. But let’s not overlook the charm of wrapping up in a thick coat and strutting out in your favourite boots to enjoy a bottle of red wine with friends. Add to that a fresh-from-the-oven pizza creating steaming puffs of air from your mouth as you eat, enjoyed at a lively night market in the Winelands, and you’ll forget all about your longing for summer.

One of the most anticipated is the Lourensford Market Winter Edition – a smaller, curated version of the larger Lourensford Harvest Market happening during summer, autumn and spring for the rest of the year.

Fresh loaves and cheese for easy to put together platters. (Photo: Lourensford Market) Fresh bakes and friendly faces at one of the popup vendors. (Photo: Louzel Lombard Steyn)

“In winter, we allow the big market to hibernate for three months, but still want to welcome our loyal patrons to the farm,” says market manager Vanessa Lampon. “During this time, the magical Laurent wedding venue on Lourensford plays host to our exclusive winter edition.”

Here, perched on the foothills of the Helderberg Mountains and overlooking the manicured gardens of the estate, winter is welcomed with live music, good wine and even dancing – if the crowd is lekker! 

The Vibe

The Lourensford Winter Edition at night. (Photo: Lourensford Market) Select popup stalls with jewellery, clothing and art will be at the market throughout winter. (Photo: Lourensford Market)

The market is harboured in a massive permanent glasshouse which has hosted many glamorous celebrity weddings. The venue in itself is reason enough to visit this cosy market; it sparkles in the night sky with a modern twist on classic elements including marble flooring, crystal chandeliers and some earthy features like sandstone and wood. On cold nights, bonfires blaze on the large open stoep where cosy couches and seating are arranged for casual “kuiering”. 

For the market, Laurent acts as a blank canvas where patrons get to meander past while the curated group of vendors grill and fry and wok and bake their fare. Inside, the stalls are set up with enough space not to make the space feel crowded and outside, the large stoep is a favourite get-together spot. The latter often sees market-goers dancing to the live tunes from one of the favourite local line-ups. Mostly, however, it’s a laid-back space where you can kick back with a bottle of wine after you’ve had your fill of the food options inside. 

With the picturesque backdrop of the Winelands mountains and vineyards, manicured lawns and gardens and some of South Africa’s most sought after art and sculpture on display, Lourensford Market does well to be both world-class and laid-back. 

The Grub

Nothing like a cup of Boeretroos just as you arrive. (Photo: Lourensford Market) Stacked waffles with strawberries, cream and chocolate drizzle from Wicked Waffles. (Photo: Lourensford Market)

Comfort food is the name of the game at the Lourensford winter edition. Think wood-fired pizza, sticky ribs and Belgian waffles, made on the spot. A full bar, Boeretroos coffee (they offer coffees “met skop” too) and a hot chocolate stand will keep you and the family well-hydrated throughout winter. 

When it comes to food, there are many warming favourites to choose from. A cornerstone is Corlie’s Italian pizzas, made on the spot and to order in a nifty wood-burning oven that’s wheeled in on a trailer. There are always tiny slivers to taste and a famished crowd gobbling them down as they await their own, fresh from the oven. In the competitive Neapolitan pizza milieu that is the Cape’s current food scene, Corlie’s authentic pizzas rank right up there with the big guns. The dough, particularly, is sublime in its chewy, well-fermented and puffed-up crust perfection. Any of the topping choices are amazing, especially paired with a bottle of red wine and good company. However, the classic Margarita remains the crowd fave. Corlie is at Lourensford throughout the year, and also at the nearby Elgin Railway Market. If you can’t wait for the weekend, however, she recently opened her own restaurant in Paardevlei, Somerset West… 

If Italy isn’t your food destination of choice, don’t fret. There are plenty of selections to choose from – from the far East to the West. For iconic Indian bites including bunny chows and curries, House of Indian Cuisine serves authentic bowlfuls. They also have an extensive selection of steamy samoosas if you’re feeling snackish, or would like to grab a few small bites for sharing.

Tables and couches on the big stoep are the favourite ‘kuiering’ spot. (Photo: Lourensford Market) Fresh oysters are a winter favourite and are available throughout the season. (Photo: Lourensford Market)

No fancy Winelands market is complete without the winter seafood staple – fresh oysters! Shucked on the spot and slurped down with a squeeze of lemon and shake of Tobacco sauce, these seasonal beauties can only be improved with a bottle of Lourensford’s Cap Classique Brut on the side. Luckily, there’s that too. From Blue Waters, you can order a dozen of these to enjoy and it still won’t be enough. They also serve seafood platters – the fried calamari is a hit with kids – and sushi. 

Along with the Brut, a select range of Lourensford Estate’s superb wines are on offer while the Shaken & Stirred stall draws foamy draughts that flow throughout the day and night, contributing to the festive atmosphere. Best with an ice-cold estate-made ABRU craft beer is a brunch burger from Café Ria. These are a firm favourite with bulky lads and dads who frequent the market with their families. Café Ria also serves other brunch options for the early birds who enjoy basking in the mild midday sun of winter.

The food quality at the market is on par – or surpasses – that of many established restaurants in the area and the constant friendly competition between vendors keeps the standard of grub at a high level.

“The Winter Edition will mainly focus on food vendors,” Vanessa says. “But there will also be a variety of art, clothing and jewellery vendors that will pop up each weekend.” Whatever your fancy, you’re guaranteed a top-class day in the Winelands’ winter at Lourensford. DM/TGIFood

Quick Info

The Lourensford Market Winter Edition is open from the first weekend in June until the last weekend in August. Come spring, the regular Lourensford Market will kick off again in the property’s large shed-like structure. 

Opening times during winter: Friday evenings from 5pm till 9pm; Saturdays and Sundays from 10am till 3pm. 

As a health precaution, no cash is accepted. Cards and/or Snapscan only. The market is fully operational during load shedding. Kids and pets are welcome – both should be well-behaved and the latter leashed at all times. Entrance to the estate is free. Parking costs R10 per vehicle, however, the fee is waived if you purchase any of Lourensford’s estate wines. [HINT: The estate’s Limited Release SMV is divine.]

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