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  • Bridget Hilton-Barber


This winter’s food flavours are set to be warm and spicy as mountain temperatures drop to a daily average of around ten degrees, with nippy nights. Think Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, and of course, good old-fashioned comfort food, like soups, pies, curries and freshly-baked sourdough bread. Add red wine, rum, jazz and anything in front of the fire and you have the perfect recipe - food for the soul.

The mountain mamas – and papas understand that what people want in winter and one of the best things to emerge from a tough lockdown has been cuisine whose ethos is delicious and nutritious, local, seasonal and sustainable.

Here are six signature winter food experiences on The Mountain this winter:

Freshly baked & freshly ground

A happy place in the heart of the village, The Eatery smells like brewing coffee and freshly baked bread. Their out-of-the-oven sourdough is divine, and you can also pick up croissants and pastries like custard & apple doughnuts, home-baked pies, prego rolls (yes!) and pre-cooked lasagnes. Stop in for deli delights; great coffee and breakfast or lunch next to the fireplace. Call 083 326 5836.

Take a break for Bunnychow

Bunnychow is a national street dish, consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry. It’s such a fabulously South African thing on a winter’s day. And you’ll get it at Stella’s Farm Deli, plus other delicious country meals like roasts, stews, soups, pastas which you can eat out on the deck or indoors when the mist rolls in. Their Deli has a fantastic selection of free-range meat, as well as local baked goodies, rusks, nuts, sauces, spices and biltong to take home for a fireside picnic. Call 071 736 6424. Next door is The Pancake House, another iconic South African small town experience with sweet or savoury pancakes any time of the day. Call 083 444 5835

Fire & spice Two years of lockdown led Laaika Moosa to combine her two loves, cooking and teaching. Laaiksfood has catered for a variety of events all over The Mountain and had several pop-ups at local restaurants. She recently did a Middle Eastern food and jazz journey at Mina’s, with ten tables of ten, indoor fires, a saxophonist and an incredible Ottoman feast. ‘It’s not just about cooking’, says Laaika, ‘it’s an occasion, I try to curate the whole experience. It is immersive. It’s about the food, the occasion, the vibe, the music, the conversation.’ For information about cooking classes or events, call 083 366 8999.

Mountain soul food

The Red Plate in the main road of the village has been connecting and nourishing people on The Mountain for years. They are vegetarian and vegan-friendly, but also offer interesting dishes like shredded pork chimichanga - a deep-fried burrito that is common in Tex-Mex and other Southwestern U.S. cuisine. On a wintery day, go for a spicy curry or steaming soup next to the fireplace. Owner, Colleen Pirie caters for weddings and functions. Call 083 305 2851.

The original village pub comfort grub

An essential village experience is the good food and good cheer at the Iron Crown. In winter, when the fires are going, locals and visitors stop in to meet, greet and eat. They have delicious comfort grub pub – like their famous steak & ale, pepper steak or chicken pies, curries, steaks or soup-of-the-day. Order a jug of spiced Gluhwein to make it the perfect meal. Call 083 254 6679.

Market Curry

Beloved Curry-Queen of the Mountain, Hloki Sebola has been delighting people with her beef curry for years. She sells to order and is a mainstay of the local Neighbourhood Market at Minas Farm Venue. She makes a more-ish chicken curry and goat stew with steamed dumplings, but people can't get enough of her fragrant beef Market Curry originally created by her husband Moss. The recipe is a winning mix of handpicked spices, homemade organic stock paste and slow cooked in a well-sealed, heavy-based pot for hours. Hloki’s beef curry is featured in the wonderful book Curry: Stories and Recipes Across South Africa by Ishay Govender-Ypma. Call 082 802 7621.

Fireside rum and brandy

Local, award-winning distillery The Old Packhouse produces small-batch craft rum and brandy that are fabulous alongside a fire or to end off a delicious winter’s day meal. Check out

Bridget Hilton Barber is a renowned writer, author, photographer and lover of life in Limpopo.

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