The West Coast Way Road Trip #followthekoeksister
A road trip is much more than tyres hitting the tar, turning onto gravel, and sometimes getting lost.
It is a journey of discovery with a wide-open mind.
It is as much about the tastes, people, and lifestyle as it is about the scenery and the adventures.
The West Coast Way Routes twist and turn like the strands of a koeksister, and the places they lead to are just as sweet. Every stretch of tar or gravel past mountains and bays linking the Northbound R27 and N7, just screams road trip of note as the discoveries and delights are endless.
The people behind every discovery are attractions in themselves as I found out on a recent jaunt up the R27 to Darling, just 80 km from Cape Town, where I got reacquainted with Evita se Perron.
Evita se Perron was a cabaret theatre and restaurant created by South African satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys in 1996. As the home of Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout, the most famous white woman in South Africa, it definitely earned its place on the West Coast Way Culture Route. The pink décor and overall ethos of this converted train station remain, but the venue has undergone a lot of changes during lockdown.
Partners Hentie van der Merwe and Frits van Ryneveld are the passionate new owners of Evita se Perron and proud custodians of the Evita brand.
Frits was born and bred in the Free State but when a road trip led him to Darling, he fell in love with the place, put down roots, started an antique shop, met Hentie, and fell in love again. Together they came up with the idea of the now famous Darling Sweet, a local business that started with the two of them and now employs 23 people, including his mom who is the quintessential sweet shop Tannie from the 1950s.
Hentie is an artist, was a lecturer at Stellenbosch University until Darling Sweet got off the ground and, being passionate about food, is a trained chef, having done the course while living in Belgium.
Evita se Perron could not be in better hands. Hentie and Frits are crazy about Pieter Dirk Uys and the work he does. They understand the character of Tannie Evita, and the era that spawned her. With tongue firmly in cheek, drama and creativity in their blood, and rolling off tannie’s phrases dripping syrup as sweet as the numbers on a tender cheque, Evita’s is in good hands.
I’m no foodie but I love #LocalisLekker, funky packaging, descriptive names, and interesting décor, so the revamped Evita’s was a triple treat for me. The local brands sold in this Swartland emporium are all handcrafted and are creating employment opportunities. Shopping becomes a tasty nation-building activity.
The products are displayed in a mishmash of wooden cabinets,1950 style Formica cupboards just like your granny had, and functional aluminium stands.
A stage sits at the far end of the room, Tannie Evita’s flamboyant frocks hang from the top of the glass wall, her high heel shoes stand tall in a glass display case, and art deco chairs offer a soft landing for the ample bottom to rest awhile with a coffee and koek. Tables and chairs inside and out are provided for eating or takeaways.
No self-respecting foodie will leave the deli at Evita’s without a basket full of deliciousness. The Tannie is also online, so if you want to fill your cart lockdown style, just follow the link to www.evitaseperron.com
Everything is local and very lekker, and the tannie’s recipe books, Evita’s se Kossie Sikelela and Evita’s Bossie Sikelela will take your cooking to another level. After all, she was a caterer to the highest officials in the land. The Book League Shop on-site has copies available.
The Tannie Evita range includes lemon atchar, onion marmalade, apricot jam, green fig preserve, chutney, vla cookies, Moer koffie, and of course the full range of rusks.
A glass wall inside the deli looks into the rusk production area and you can taste the rusks with a cup of coffee at the deli for just R5 each – granola, sugar-free, or almond and orange if you are feeling exotic. For R7.50 you can have a freshly baked koeksister, so golden sweet, twisted and authentic you will want to speak Afrikaans for the rest of the day, and why not, it was rated the sexiest language in the world last year. So, eat up and praat die taal.
Funky Ouma has all your salt needs covered and then some. Tumeric and Ginger, Beetroot, Chilli, Black Garlic Pink Salt, Biltong and Parmesan.
Het Bos olive oil from the farm down the road, !Khwa Ttu Brew Wellness Tea from the San Cultural Centre on a Darling hill, Droë Wors from the Darling Meat Market in town, or unique Darling Brew spent grain chips, from the first carbon-neutral brewery in Africa, and situated just over the railway line. All the way from Mossel Bay from Sharlebel Food Delights are Dried Shiitake mushrooms, still local and lekker.
Dukkah will change your life. It’s an Egyptian side dish made up of a mixture of nuts and spices. Use as a dip for bread and extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle over salads or veggie dishes, or give your cheese platter a fantastic taste twist. Soefija’s biltong dukkah, olive jam, Moroccan rub, roasted seeds, or sweet mustard sauce will add pizzazz to any table.
The stuffing, crushing queen of all things pickled is Ouma Swesie Se Spens, making magic on a farm in Darling. Garlic stuffed Jalapenos, garlic crush olives & sundried tomatoes, black garlic, garlic sweet cherry pepper snack, all must-have items for the discerning tastebuds.
Toffees Made The Old Fashioned Way…
Darling Sweet has so many flavours from the original “take me back to my childhood toffee” to honey and salt, birds’ eye Chilli, or ginger and cardamom, it’s so difficult to choose. Just buy the large, assorted gift box and try not to eat them all on the way home.
But that’s not all.
Roadtrippers who want to #followthekoeksister should start their expedition at The Lodge at Alantic Beach. This 4-star Lodge is located on Cape Town’s most prestigious golf estate in Melkbosstrand.
Just down the road of The Lodge, you will find Darling’s Groote Post vineyards, where the cellar door is open 7 days a week. This 18th century farm is home to Hilda’s Kitchen. Their menu is designed to complement the world-famous wines of Groote Post.
One of the West Coast’s most famous Sunday lunch spots is Thali Thali Game Lodge at Langebaan. This place is like a sweet koeksister: great food and friendly guides braided tightly with game drives and 3-star Glamping Tents, Chalets and a huge Farm House.
Find the sweet rewards of slow living at Bokkomlaan in Velddrif where Cracklin’ Rosie river cruises, the River Studio art gallery, and Ek en Djy eatery, have captured the soul of the West Coast on the bank of the Berg River.
This is just a fraction of what awaits on the West Coast Way of South Africa. It’s road trip heaven on the tar, and pure magic at every left or right turn.
How to start discovering the West Coast.
West Coast Way are the experts in the Cape West Coast, and they have made it easy for you to start discovering the area. They created a series of routes that blend together into the West Coast Way Road Trip. Follow the themed routes of culture, sustainability, and adventure for unique experiences of agritourism, pure nature and wild wonders that all make the West Coast the best coast!
They can also assist you to create a tailormade road trip to suit your unique interests, provide you with a digital map, loads of suggestions and then let you loose in this incredible part of South Africa.
Open their website www.westcoastway.co.za for tips on how to make your West Coast road trip richer and follow them on social media via #westcoastway @westcoastwaysa.
Good To Know
Evita se Perron can host indoor and outdoor functions and has conference facilities available. Birthday parties, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, or any other reason you can think of to celebrate. Contact [email protected] or phone 083 235 4002.
Trading hours are 09:00 – 16:00 daily. www.evitaseperron.com
-Editorial And Photos By Di Brown
May 11, 2021
May 06, 2021
May 04, 2021