If you should ever find yourself in the Stellenbosch/Somerset West region, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking out the magical Lourensford Market.
Venue: Lourensford Wine Estate, Lourensford Rd, Somerset West, Cape Town
Contact: 072 284 1654 | [email protected]
Trading hours: Friday 5-9pm | Sunday 10am – 3pm
At the Lourensford Market, you will find pretty much everything you would at any other market in the Cape Town/Stellenbosch/Cape Winelands region. You are able to take your pick of every type of food and cuisine you can imagine, from scrumptious Belgian waffles and Turkish Shish kebab to Syrian kibbeh, Lebanese falafel and good old-fashioned Italian pizza. And of course it doesn’t end with the food either. There are small stalls selling clothes, jewellery, real leather handbags, craft beers, ciders. And what would a farmer’s market be without ice-cream and a strong cup of coffee prepared by fresh-faced, friendly baristas?
What really hit me about Lourensford, though, the second we drove onto the wine estate which is over 300 years old, is the sheer beauty. I’m not just talking about vineyards as far as the eye can see and enormous old trees…
I’m talking about stone paved roads, diverse, floral gardens, beautiful modern architecture and an atmosphere that truly makes you feel like you’re in paradise. It is utterly gorgeous from corner to corner. Even the parking lot feels like a cool place to hang out!
So, stepping into the quad where the market stalls are located, after your senses having undergone a visual assault, you’re met by the fantastic and alluring smell of the various foods being prepared wherever you look. The soundscape is made up mostly of live music and an unobtrusive melody of children playing in the surrounding grass banks and running through the garden’s fountains to cool off. Combine that with the indistinct chatter of market-goers soaking in the atmosphere and you have an aura that tells you that this is the place to be.
Then you get some extras that take this market to the next level, such as the garage/warehouse out back which boasts a display of classic motorbikes and cars like a Ferrari F500 and a 1966 MG roadster. Whether you’re a car person or not, you can genuinely admire the vehicles on display that adds an extra element that separates this market from anything else I’ve seen so far.
So once you’ve done the rounds and checked out all of the stalls, weaving between the adorable and incredibly well-behaved four-legged friends that accompany many of the people, you find yourself something to eat. And this is what really sold me on Lourensford. Despite the fact that the quad is littered with stalls, there still seems to be a ton of space available and, somehow, the queues genuinely seem to move faster. I’m not sure if the staff are just more efficient or if the additional space makes it easier to cook the waffle I ordered. You don’t feel like you’re being packed like sardines while painfully waiting on the 3,000 people ahead of you in the queue to pay for their orders – a major downside to most of the other markets I’ve visited.
And yet, the best is still to come. Those beautiful, floral gardens, lined with centuries-old acorn trees and bright falling autumn leaves that I discussed earlier… you take your food to the picnic tables for a private setting that takes you away from the center of all of the action if you want to be. It’s a perfect spot for a small group of friends, you’re still able to hear the music and the natural beauty and, of course, your meal.
The Lourensford Market genuinely has it all, and I can say without a moment’s hesitation that, of all the incredible markets that us Capetonians are able to enjoy every weekend, it is the best I’ve seen so far. It’s worth the drive, it’s worth the price, it’s worthy of a perfect score.
Essential Millennial rating: 5 out of 5 avocados