As experience-minded food lovers, we are no longer content to sit on the side lines and have our food happen to us. These days we want to get our hands dirty, chat with the chef, amble into forests, be whisked off to secret locations and see and understand exactly where our food comes from. Happily, there are all sorts of cool and unusual foodie experiences to enjoy in Cape Town and further afield that tick all these boxes.
Cape Town is known as one of the most inspiring foodie destinations around the world, and with good reason -Capetonians like to eat well. It also just so happens that there are lots of creative local food experts that are passionate about doing things well, and in a fresh new way. This trend is of course not unique just to Cape Town, there are immersive food experiences to be discovered in other food-centric parts of South Africa, and further afield. Grab your drooling bibs and follow in our slipstream as we share a our round-up of note-worthy experiences of the moment. **Drumroll please**
Dine at the uber-cool loft of a Michelin-trained chef
If you like to kick it home-style when you dine out, the chef’s table at chef Santi and Dominique’s New York loft-style apartment in Cape Town CBD is bound to be right up your alley. Santi was born in a small fishing village in Spain and learned the cheffing trade at some of the finest restaurants in Britain. Then he met Pretorian-born Dominique, fell madly in love and they eventually returned to Cape Town to set up shop. After a few years of dealing with the Bree-street bustle, they swapped their storefront for the comforts of home, where they now open their doors to foodies who congregate around their convivial long table to dig into Chef Santi’s exceptional food paired with some epic Cape vintages sourced by Dom. It’s chill, delicious and entertaining to boot. Book the whole table for a birthday or event, or simply take a seat and join a few other likeminded lekkerbekke. Read more or book.
Feast by candlelight in a creative space of inspiration
There’s something very humbling about being allowed into an artist’s studio. It’s like you’ve been given the opportunity to peek behind the magician’s curtain and view the creative process from a whole different perspective. Now, combine a studio visit with a family-style feast served at a candlelit table, and you can see why the Bronze Age Studio in Woodstock has suddenly become an unlikely foodie hotspot. Chef Maia du Plessis chooses to host her seasonal long-table dinners in this space that is shared by her husband Otto and a revolving roster or artists like Trevor Potter and Melanie Lourens, because it gives people an opportunity to experience art in a space that is not a gallery. Maia established her catering business Provisions after cutting her teeth in the world of food styling and menu developments. These days she likes nothing better than feeding art lovers simple, seasonal food lovingly paired with South African wines. Read more or book.
Uncover the age-old secrets of Persian cuisine
Exotic cooking classes have started to crop up all over Cape Town, but you haven’t really learned to cook foreign until you’ve joined Aliya Ferguson in her home kitchen to learn all about an ancient cuisine laced with saffron, dried limes, barberries and rose water. Persian cooking as Aliya teaches it around her well-used kitchen table is a fragrant history lesson that encompasses centuries of verve, vigour and passion, distilled into fresh, inspiring dishes that feed the soul and imagination. Sound good? Book your spot and get ready to get your hands dirty. Read more or book.
Delve into distillery with an ex-rocker & his dad
Pienaar & Son is a decidedly cool artisanal distillery in the heart of Cape Town. And we do mean slap-bang in the middle of the gritty CBD. Here, you can join ex-rocker André Pienaar and his chemical-engineer father to learn all about the gin- and vodka-making process. They’ll walk you through the fascinating journey and teach you to make a few fancy-looking cocktails to boot. You’ll also get to go home with a bottle of your favourite spirit to recreate the experience at home. Cheers to that, right? Read more or book
Feast on fresh seafood on one of Cape Town’s prettiest beaches
Freshly foraged mussel pot on a secluded beach in Cape Town? Yes please! Expert forager Henk Brand is a salty soul who knows Cape Town’s beaches inside-out. Follow in his wake as he guides you to a prime beach spot where he will show you how to forage for mussels the responsible way, and then cook it all up al fresco style. While you’re helping Henk, his wife Suna will be setting up your beachside retreat, where you will tuck into a gorgeous mussel potjie and refreshing beverages once you return from the shore. Read more or book.
Enjoy the ultimate view and keep it classy with a luxury gin safari
If being whisked away to a secret scenic location to enjoy artisanal cocktails sounds like your idea of a good time, you’re in luck. Ozzy Yerlikaya is a dyed-in-the-wool adventurer who has found a few undiscovered Mother City lookouts and he’d like to take you there for a bespoke cocktail experience. Rustle up a few buddies or join miscellaneous merrymakers for a sundowner encounter unlike any other. Expect actual carpets, fancy chairs, a legit mixologist setup and a fun host to top it all off. Read more or book.
Have your cake & eat it at a reimagined high tea
Move over limp cucumber sandwiches and instant coffee sachets – there is a new High Tea in town and it’s regal AF. Truth Coffee Roasting has upped the teatime ante with an out-of-this-world experience that includes artisanal coffee blends, exotic teas, Pol Roger champagne and a delectable selection of petit fours. Yep – it’s exactly as decadent and la di da as it sounds. An excellent option for reimagined ladies’ lunches, kitchen teas and random Tuesdays when you feel like wearing long-ass cloves and putting on a Brrrritish accent. Read more or book.
Venture off the beaten track with wild food foraging and cooking
Nature is a bountiful mistress – all you need to do is keep your eyes open and she will provide. If you’ve always wanted to know more about wild food and how to gather it, a foraging experience along the Cape Peninsula is sure to have you giddy with delight. Join Roushanna Gray on a gathering expedition that leads to a sumptuous fynbos setting where you will enjoy a four-course meal paired with four botanical cocktails. Magical much? Read more of book.
Flit into the forest with a fungi forager
Mushroom foraging is having a moment in the limelight, and with good reason – it’s so much fun! Heading into the woods with a basket and a pocketknife to gather fungi brings out the kid in you. It’s Tom Sawyer and Huck Fin all over again. This particular experience in with Gary Goldman is extra awesome though – you’ll be shown exactly what and where to pick so you don’t impact negatively on the environment. Read more or book.
Further afield –
Sip & stay at a gorgeous Winelands estate
The Cape Winelands are peppered with all sorts of beautiful weekend destinations, but Bartinney Wine Estate should be at the top of your list if you want to combine foodie adventures with a scenic getaway. Stay in stunning cottages on the working farm and enjoy an unique fynbos & wine pairing that is included in the stay price. Your excellent hosts can also fill your cottage fridge with an array of delectable local treats on request and guide you in your choice of restaurant bookings. Just the thing if you want to kick back and enjoy a weekend of sensory delights without having to do too much of the legwork. And this, my friend, is the very tip of the tasty iceberg. As we speak, the Eatsplorer team is out and about sourcing even more encounters to keep you well-fed and thoroughly inspired in Cape Town & surrounds. Keep an eye on our website and social channels to stay in ahead of the culinary curve. Read more or book.
Blaze the foodie trail in an underrated West Coast village
If your idea of Saldanha is still ‘stodgy little harbour town’, you’re in for a wonderful wakeup call, my friend. There is all manner of awesomeness afoot in this seaside hamlet. Sure, it’s still one of South Africa’s most prolific harbours (yay for commerce!), but there is also a bunch of creatives out there who have rounded up a laundry list of rad stuff to do, taste, see and explore in Saldana. Mart-Mari Wicht, Kyle Dods and Luke Wonnacott (renowned chef who worked in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze and ran a tight ship in the best seafood restaurant in Dubai for three years running) have started curating bespoke weekends away in their neck of the woods to show off its trendy and tasty side. The first one showcases the town’s oyster and mussel offering and takes visitors onto the waters and into cool-looking factories to shuck, savour and sip. Accommodation and paradigm shifts come included. Read more or book.
Make a weekend of it with some of SA’s hottest chefs
Prince Albert is one of those little fairy tale villages that seem straight out of a Hans Christian Anderson tome. It’s utterly gorgeous and delightful. Now throw in a whole weekend of immersive cooking classes at the hands of a range of SA’s most celebrated chefs at African Relish cooking school, and you can understand why the town is overrun by foodies more often than not. Visiting chefs set up shop and invite you to get stuck in the making of communal feasts and in between you get to go on ghost walks, village ambles and veld excursions with a renowned botanist. Yep, it’s that amazing. Read more or book.
Cook your heart out in a French medieval village
Okay, a foodie visit to the French countryside might not be exactly ‘in Cape Town & surrounds’, but you will be enjoying it alongside one of the Mother City’s best-loved chefs, so it kind of counts. Marlene van der Westhuizen is renowned for the immersive cooking demonstrations she hosts at her South African cooking studio, and now she’s opening the doors to their family holiday home in the 12th century French medieval village of Charroux as well. Join her for six full days of market hopping, cooking, sipping and feasting – a food traveller’s dream come true. Read more or book. Read more or book.
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