Variety is the spice of life, and much like the saying applies to life, food too would be bland and boring without a pinch of parsley or rosemary rub. Flavours, scents, and textures all play a part in making meals memorable, but there are other factors to consider too. What wine or beer to pair with your food? What dessert will enhance the experience?

If you’re stretching your culinary wings, then Spice Route Destination in Paarl is sure to inspire you!

Spice Route Destination

The Spice Route Destination is a unique group of passionate artisans that offer a family-friendly outing in the Western Cape.

Several adjoining shops provide visitors with every kind of sensory experience possible. What makes this group unique is the fact they don’t closely guard their recipes. Oh no, instead they freely share their knowledge with the public and each other, leading to exciting discoveries, mind-blowing blends, and fantastic fun for all.

They also hold all kinds of workshops throughout the year for the public to enjoy. Visit their website for more information on these.

A plate of biltong sliverss. By Jamsta (Creative Commons)

–          Barley and Biltong

This gorgeous beer garden has an enviable view of Table Mountain and the lush Paarl winelands, and offers visitors a selection of craft brews which are perfectly complimented with a variety of biltong options such as kudu, springbok, and beef.

Why pair biltong with beer? Well, the fact they are South African springs to mind first, and secondly, both products are national staples, especially come the weekend with televised sports! But the real reason for this pairing is that biltong enhances the beer’s flavour. Vegetarians and vegans aside, who wouldn’t be tempted by this?

A variety of craft beers. By Kranz_Koelsch (Creative Commons)

–          Cape Brewing Company (CBC)

Apart from sampling the finely produced range of craft beers at the CBC, visitors watch the beer production process from start to finish. All beers are produced and boxed on-site. Beer tastings are priced at R25 per person* for 4 beers, and R35 for all 6 beers. The beers offered are: Devil IPA, Smokey Malt, Lager, Pilsener, Amber Weiss, and Crystal Weiss.

Various chocolates, dark, milky, white. By LivingShadow (Creative Commons)

–          DV Artisan Chocolate Roastery & Espresso Bar

A mouthful to say, but delightful to try are the hand-crafted chocolates made by the De Villiers family. It’s safe to say that the warm, welcoming coffee and chocolate scent will win you over long before you set foot inside their door.

This little shop is one of the only Bean-to-Bar micro batch chocolatiers in the world, with a variety of chocolates as far as Guatemala and Trinidad! Chocolate tasting cost R25 per person for 20 minutes, while tutored wine and chocolate tastings cost R100 per person for an hour. They also offer chocolate appreciation workshops from R150 per person for around an hour and a half.

Pairing wine and chocolate. By Rod (Flickr)

–          Spice Route Wine Tastings

The face of this artisanal set-up is the Spice Route wines, owned by Charles Back, who also owns the adjacent Fairview Wine and Cheese farm (you know, those heavenly Brie and Camembert cheeses sold at Pick ’n Pay and Checkers).

Here you can enjoy exotic wines like Chakalaka and Flagship Syrah, both of which are included in each of the wine pairing choices. Enjoy a Wine Journey with six wine tasters at R25 per person, or (ladies, take note) the Wine & Chocolate journey R60 per person, which includes six wines paired with four chocolates from DV Artisan Chocolates. There is also a Food & Wine Journey at R90 per person, which includes seven wine tasters and five food pairings, prepared by the chefs at the Spice Route restaurant.

A tasting platter. By Allagash Brewing (Flickr)

–          Spice Route restaurant

The Spice Route restaurant is a must for those seeking culinary guidance, as this is where the magic of pairing wine, food, and spice is done. Each dish is carefully crafted by fusing South African cooking with a variety of influences from the East right up to Europe,; all designed to complement the above Spice Route wines. Their restaurant is open daily (closed on Tuesdays) from 11:00 – 17:00. The kitchen closes at 16:30).

Blown glass. By Gogie B (Flickr)

Other great finds on-site

Red Hot Glass offers authentic, Venetian-styled glassblowing and each piece in the store is unique! You can view incredible perfume bottles, decadent vases, abstract art, and more. La Grapperia Pizza and Tapas offers another great dining option, where you can choose from interior dining (with a fireplace) or enjoy the breeze while seated below ancient oak trees. They are located next to Wilderer Distillery, so, you can browse an award winning collection of grappas and eaux de vie after your meal.

Have you ever stopped here? Which artisanal shop is your favourite?

*Pricing correct at time of publishing

Main image credited to judepics (Creative Commons)