The Kalfiefees long weekend has traditionally been a kuier weekend, when friends and family get together to enjoy the various theatre productions, music performances and other cultural events on the programme and, in between shows, spend time together over a glass of wine or beer and a plate of fabulous food.

This is the 15th year that the Kalfiefees is hosted in our neck of the woods, bringing with it much-needed entertainment and a festive atmosphere to lift the spirits of locals and visitors alike during the worst of the winter season. 

It is also tradition for the Kalfiefees to have a kuiertent but unfortunately this has not always proven to be very practical, and I remember more than one festival when an untimely winter storm caused the marquee to collapse. This year there will be no need to fret about the weather, however, as the new Kalfiefees kuierplek is the Hemel-en-Aarde Brewery, where live entertainment and plenty of food and drink will be on offer.

If there is one thing our region has no shortage of, it’s reputable restaurants where festivalgoers will be able to find not only great winter specials and acclaimed local wines and craft beers, but also a warm refuge from the inhospitable weather.  

Starting in Hemel-en-Aarde Village, just across from the Brewery, there is EAT Restaurant, where new owner JF van der Westhuizen of Kokkedoor fame and his team keep the fires stoked while the kitchen turns out hearty and affordable fare. JF’s blackboard specials vary according to the availability of fresh produce but usually include hearty comfort food such as waterblommetjie bredie, oxtail or lamb shank. EAT is now also open for breakfast daily (closed on Mondays) and offers a delicious Sunday buffet lunch at the unbeatable price of R145 pp (R165 inclusive of a glass of wine). EAT is open Tuesday to Saturday from 08:00 – 21:00 and on Sunday from 08:00 – 15:00. Call 028 316 2348 to book.

Also in Hemel-en-Aarde Village is The Class Room Restaurant which, apart from hosting functions and events, offers a daily winter special comprising a main plus dessert for around R100. They are also open for Sunday lunch, with a choice between two three-course menus, one for R190 pp and the other R225. On Friday 9 August (Women’s Day), The Class Room will host Harry Campbell, the father of ‘Die Campbells’, who will perform a tribute to the ‘60s. This cost of this live show, along with a two-course menu, is R200 pp. Make your reservation on 028 316 3582 or 082 359 5608.

Before heading into town, you might want to take a drive down the Sandbaai Main Road to the laid-back VB’s Restaurant, located a mere stone’s throw from the beach. Known for their friendly service, great burgers and pizzas, VB’s has been warming the hearts and tummies of its loyal customers with its Winter Blues Buster – R99 for any pizza! And we’re not talking your run-of-the-mill, franchise-chain pizza here; VB’s pizzas from their wood-fired oven are imaginative yet authentic – and dangerously delicious. On Women’s Day VB’s will be open from 12:00 and offer a complimentary wine tasting by Seven Springs with any meal ordered. Call 028 316 3427.

In Hermanus, one of the most popular spots for visitors is the waterfront, especially on sunny days when you can soak up the views across Walker Bay and maybe even spot a breaching whale. Here you’ll find the Wooden Barrel, a cheerful bistro where you can either sit inside or outside on the piazza. In addition to their extensive menu, the Wooden Barrel regularly offers specials (often paired with a glass of wine or beer) and have been treating diners to daily specials this winter at only R69.90. Their latest addition is a brand-new kiosk, where those in a hurry can get anything from coffees, smoothies and milkshakes to toasties, burgers, sausage rolls, fish cakes, calamari wraps, and fish and chips. Wooden Barrel is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. Contact 028 312 4377.

Remaining on the waterfront, just a little further down Marine Drive, you’ll find Hermanus’s grand old lady, The Marine Hotel, which has been a landmark for more than a century. During the chilly winter months, The Marine serves up various tempting offerings that make this the ideal venue for cosying up with family or friends. In fact, a visit to Hermanus would not be complete without a visit to The Marine. Their winter treats include a Breakfast Special at R145 pp, a weekly curry special at R170 pp, Friday Fish & Chips at R120 and a Sunday Roast with all the trimmings at R170 pp. On Women’s Day, The Marine will host a Pink High Tea at R180 pp that will include an exclusive gift, wine from Sumaridge, and an array of delectable bite-size morsels, dainty sandwiches and oven-fresh scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Guaranteed to make you feel like a princess! Contact The Marine on 028 313 1000 to make a booking. 

The Eatery is a delightful establishment that has been popular among the locals of Hermanus for many years. Tucked away in Long Street Arcade just off Long Street in the Old Town, it offers wholesome, unpretentious cuisine and innovative daily blackboard specials, along with a selection of quality local wines. Their breakfasts, coffees and freshly-baked cakes are exceptionally good and they also stock home-made meals to take home. The Eatery is only open during the day, from 07:00 – 16:00, Monday to Saturday. Call 028 313 2970.

Not far from The Eatery, in Aberdeen Street, you’ll find another local favourite, The Barefoot Cook. With an attractive art gallery at the front of the restaurant and a delightful courtyard at the back, this cosy restaurant is housed in a traditional Hermanus fisherman’s cottage, one of the few that have escaped the developers’ bulldozers. A blazing fireplace greets diners as they enter, creating a warm, charming and intimate atmosphere. The cuisine prepared by the owner-chef is excellent, with a touch of European sophistication. The menu is written up on blackboards and changes weekly according to the seasonal availability of produce. For the month of August, an additional winter special has been added that comprises two courses, with a free glass of wine, for R150 pp. Booking is essential on 028 312 4681.

Just up the road from the iconic Voëlklip Beach is the Walker Bay Grill, a classy establishment where the focus is on steak, seafood and pizza, complimented by a fine wine list. Here, too, you will find great winter specials such as a lamb rack served with sautéed potatoes and vegetables at R195 pp or a mouthwatering seafood platter for two at R350 pp. When the weather is good, the verandah is an idyllic spot for sundowners. An exclusive shuttle service to and from the restaurant means you can indulge as much as you like, knowing that you’ll be returned home safely. Contact 028 314 1637 or 072 488 9499 to make a reservation.

About half an hour’s drive from Hermanus lies the quaint village of Stanford. This region boasts several fine restaurants and wine estates that are well worth a visit. If you take the R326 turn-off at the entrance to Stanford, you’ll wind your way to Boschrivier Wines, located on two farms that lie at the foot of the Klein River Mountain range. Remhoogte farm hosts the vineyards from which Boschrivier wines are produced and a manor house turned into a wine house/coffee shop that is open to the public for wine tasting. Light snacks and beverages can also be enjoyed on the large covered deck while the little ones play in the kiddie’s play area on the sprawling lawn. The venue is ideal for functions and special celebrations, seating up to 60 people. The Boschkloof farm also offers three different accommodation units for guests who want to experience the tranquility of country living. Contact 028 008 5031.

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