I woke up a while ago and suddenly realised the past few weeks had been a blur of events. We hadn’t had any proper family time in what felt like an age. So I decided to take my boys out for lunch, so the search for a child-friendly restaurant began.
I wanted to go somewhere with a bit of space so my new walker could put his little legs to the test without us constantly worrying about him taking a tumble. Somewhere chilled that we could spend the day together, without being chased out as soon as we’d eaten.
On a friend’s recommendation I booked at Hartenberg, a vineyard in Stellenbosch that does ready-packed picnics to enjoy on the estate.
We arrived to an expanse of lush green lawn looking onto Hartenberg’s beautiful vines, perfect for the little man’s busy legs.
Tables, complete with the quintessential checkered tablecloths, were peppered under the shade of the downcast arms of Weeping Willows and proud boughs of ancient Oaks. Rugs and big cushy cushions lay invitingly next to them.
A lovely gentleman showed us to our spot and we settled in for the day on the comfy cushions. This was going to be a long, lazy lunch.
He returned soon after with an ice bucket and a chilled bottle of the estate’s Sauvignon Blanc, which I have to say, is dangerously delicious.
Our picnic arrived in a wooden box filled to the brim with an array of dishes made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, much from Hartenberg’s own gardens so I hear.
We tucked into Freshly-baked Farm Bread, Eleanor’s lovingly-made Snoek Pate, a Selection of Cheeses, Terrine and Caramelized Onion and Goat’s Cheese Tarts to name just a few of the tasty treats that were the order of the day.
Each dish was beautifully presented in farm-style glass jars or completely biodegradable containers that are made into compost and used to feed their vines. Pretty impressive I think.
Little E got stuck into everything we had on offer, but they do cater for the kiddies. A picnic pack for the little ones includes a burger and chips, a strawberry yoghurt mousse dessert and a fruit juice.
With tummies full we lazed on the lawn and were entertained by an impromptu cricket ‘match’ with all the kids from the different families and a few overzealous dads.
The littler ones were kept busy for ages chasing giant bubbles a well-organised mom had thought to bring with her. (Note: never leave home without a bottle of bubbles.)
All in all it was an awesome day, and just what I was looking for, for my little family. Worth every cent of the R175 per person. Hartenberg and its people make you feel like their garden is yours, and as such, make it pretty hard to leave. Go see for yourself. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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Kate Royce is an advertising copywriter, co-founder of Mammas’ Meeting Place and adoring mother to little Ethan whom, she is convinced, is set to be the greatest adventurer and explorer the world has ever known. Her dad once described her as “having the ability to find beauty in the strangest places,” which she thinks is one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said about her.