Walking into the Root 44 Market in the Cape Winelands on a Sunday morning was a total surprise for my senses. Once I was past the proteas and fresh flowers, the sweet smell of pancakes wafted into my nostrils and left me leaning towards the food tent.
As it began raining outside, people cleared the tables and chairs around the tree and moved inside to where it was warm and toasty. The combination of scents that circled around inside, over the wooden tables and beneath the black, grey and white flags was heavenly …
The choice of what I could eat was too overwhelming, so we focused on finding a table. As a family packed up their picnic basket, we waited eagerly to sit down so that the food search could begin. I can’t tell you if it was laziness or the look of the lamb that beckoned me to choose lamb, feta, tomato and rocket on ciabatta. But I was fully satisfied.
Walking around, I passed stalls with fresh oysters and pink bubbly. A wine stand was buzzing as the Bier Hier poured beer after beer and smiled as he did so. ‘Baba Tunisia’ stand sold shwarmas with an assortment of pastes and spicy sauces to add it.
The Indian stand ‘Saville’s Eastern delights’ presented pots of Red and orange spices of chicken tikka, masala, tandoori and paprika alongside stood half-moons with vegetable and chicken samoosas. Right beside them, fruits and vegetables of all varieties covered the table beside.
We started chatting to the two friendly guys running the stall and they offered us a taster of a smoothie infused with baobab, barley grass, hemp seed, spirulina and moringa leaf amongst many other healthy ingredients.
Unlike The Family Pancake stand inside the clothing and crafts tent which offered sweet pancakes with lemon, sugar and nutella, the pancake man made savoury pancakes with mouth-watering fillings such as Peri Peri chicken livers or biltong with cream cheese.
The pancake stall with red, blue and yellow skull flags displayed their pancakes in plastic pipes and left my mouth watering all over again with combinations such as chicken, avo, roasted garlic and mayo; rare roasted sirloin, caramelised onion with horseradish dressing.
‘Dankie Tannie’ vetkoek offered all sorts of options with names like Wimpie, Hendrik, Maggie and Nelsie whilst the red and white ‘I Love Biltong’ stall had long chunks of home-made biltong hanging by string and smaller, moist pieces ready for eating right up front.
La Messaria sold fresh artisanal breads, handcrafted cheeses, home cured meats, specialty pastas and chicken pies.
When it came to the sticky and incredibly sweet, one man displayed jars filled with fudge. Another lady displayed fluffy white and pink cakes on silver trays and further down the aisle was red velvet cupcakes topped with grapes and strawberries with an iced cake beside it decorated with purple blooms.
‘Truly Scruptious’ was heaven for dessert lovers with freshly baked fruit squares, choc crunchies and white rocky road chunks.
If you’re on a diet or hoping to eat a light meal, this is dangerous ground to step on, but it will be oh so worth it.
Find Root 44 Market at …
Address: Audacia Wines, Corner of R44 & Annandale Road, Stellenbosch, 7600, Cape Winelands
Telephone: 021 881 3052
When: Saturday and Sunday from 09h00 to 15h30, Rain or Shine!
Overnight at: Fabulous accommodation in Stellenbosch
Photographs: Courtesy of and © Root 44 Market