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Explore the Karoo in a Tuk Tuk and Pick Up a Few Culinary Skills at This Adventurous Escape
Head to the countryside for an adventurous cooking experience, food tours and then unwind at the luxury cottages at African Relish
Winner of the Best Cooking School/Class category in the Food Trekking Awards 2018, African Relish offers a number of themed cooking courses coupled with exciting Karoo adventures and self-catering cottages owned by Philip and Lisa Key.
“The cooking school developed from experiences that Philip and I had around the world, in Italy, France, New Zealand and Portugal,” says Lisa. When they decided to bring the foodie travel experience to South Africa, it was to Prince Albert, a town abundant in flavours and fresh produce, from the dairy and the meat to the olives and the wine.
The Keys created the cooking school in 2009 to offer travellers a unique and unexpected culinary Karoo experience, and these travel-cooking course experiences have proven popular with local and international guests since. Prince Albert’s scenic landscape makes African Relish’s location ideal for combining cooking with adventures: from park runs and cycling through the Swartberg Mountains to exploring the historical town on foot or the greater Karoo in a quirky tuk-tuk.
ANYTIME COOKING COURSE AND ADVENTURE
Anytime cooking courses, led by award-winning chef Camilla Comins, are available for passing travellers looking to sharpen their cooking (and knife) skills and are best enjoyed as a group activity. Besides the themed cooking classes, such as Karoo tapas, pastry making and kids cooking, there are specialised activities as well.
Embark on a journey through the karoo for a foodie tour, visiting various food suppliers in Prince Albert in a tuk-tuk or opt for a bicycle on which to explore the breathtaking surrounds. If you’re looking to be more hands-on with the fresh produce, African Relish offers foraging excursions, in search of the finest seasonal produce and using those ingredients to cook a delicious meal when you head back to the culinary hall. There are full- or half-day courses so you’re always entertained.
SCHEDULED COURSES AND THE GOURMET CYCLE TOUR
An option to create your own course or book a scheduled course is also available. From masterclasses to gourmet cycling tours, these courses are not be missed so be sure to book in advance and reserve your spot. Kitchen Confidential, a new course at African Relish, puts you under the guidance of Camilla Comins for a weekend masterclass where you cook a dish that will be on the restaurant’s menu, giving you the experience of running a small restaurant kitchen. The Gourmet Cycle Tour couldn’t be any more perfect for the adventurer who enjoys exceptional food as much as adventure. Cycle up the great Swartberg Pass and down to Die Hel valley, all while indulging in tasty foods along the way. It’s a culinary journey like no other.
DINE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE
The restaurant at African Relish, Camilla’s, is a casual and cosy eatery that serves up country but contemporary seasonal dishes made from produce and ingredients sourced from the on-site garden. The restaurant has a harvest table, which changes every week and is only open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays only from 6:30pm. Look out for special offers on their Facebook page that caters for particular occasions such as Mother’s Day or Christmas. The restaurant is also fully licensed so there’s no need to bring your own drinks.
TIE THE KNOT AT AFRICAN RELISH
Enjoy your big day at African Relish and you’ll be everything but disappointed. It all happens at the culinary hall. The sunny, airy hall with high walls, can seat 100 people and though it is modern, it’s still complementary to the town’s history and aesthetic. The hall slides open to the dining room and the organic vegetable and herb garden with a pool and has a cosy nook at the back for winter evenings. Planning a summer outdoor wedding? You can make use of the courtyard and celebrate your dream garden wedding.
STAYING IN PRINCE ALBERT
To fully enjoy all the tours, sporting activities and beauty of this town, it would be ideal to stay there, right? African Relish’s self-catering accommodation is fully equipped with everything you’ll need to make this the perfect weekend getaway for couples or small families. There are four cottages, all just a walk away from the African Relish culinary hall. Akkedis sleeps four; Doringbos and Deurdrift 1 sleep two; and Deurdrift 2 accommodates three people.
All of them reflect the simplicity and architecture of the Karoo in the exterior, and you’ll appreciate the attention to decor detail when you enter into their coolness away from the Karoo heat. The cottages are furnished using local craft and designers with the help of Jacques Erasmus of Hemelhuijs restaurant in Cape Town.
Tip: Make a meal out of your trip and stay longer. You can custom-make your classes, choose as many as you like and use the non-cooking hours to explore Prince Albert. Don’t leave town without driving over the majestic Swartberg Mountain and taking a tour of the Swartrivier Olive Farm.
Bill: Half-day courses are from R875 per person and come with lunch or dinner. For full-day courses the cost is from R1525, including lunch and dinner. The cost for the cottages starts from R860 per person per night, depending on the cottage, to R1875 for a full cottage sleeping four guests.
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