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Culinary Getaway with African Relish
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“Never thought you’d be in Prince Albert and be swamped with choice,” says my husband. The Karoo town where most locals retreat to their homes in the early evening is the perfect place for languid holidays and weekend retreats. But there is so much activity under the roofs; the churches, galleries, restaurants, B&Bs and antique shops - most of them historic buildings. Central to the town’s activity is African Relish, the recreational cooking school and cottages owned by Philip and Lisa Key. African Relish is found in The Langhuis, right behind Richard Forbes noble monument ’Die Burgers van Prince Albert’.
“Instead of doing a Tuscan holiday you come to the Karoo,” says Lisa. “We have a beautiful town, the lamb, the cheeses, the figs…”
Prince Albert does have amazing produce. The dairy comes from up the street at Gay’s Guernsey Dairy and Deli – unpasteurised, natural products without hormones and antibiotics. The meat is collected steaming from the local hunter. And the olives and wines from neighbouring farms. The fruit and veggies and herbs are picked from African Relish’s own garden, if not from the market.
Plus each corner of the town, from the majestic Swartberg Pass, to the churches and the houses have long and fascinating histories, which is enough to have you in the town for the weekend or more. “We have people who have stayed up to 10 days and two weeks, “says Lisa.
They stay for that long to sample more of African Relish’s cooking classes, but also because Prince Albert is rich in history. Soldiers of the Anglo-Boer War lived here. So did the coloured community that was forcibly removed to the adjacent North-End township. When you are not cooking, hop on the Red Bus or take the evening Ghost Walk. Their guides are brimful of stories and pride about the old inhabitants, who lived in the houses that still stand today. Like the Haak family, who once owned the Swartberg Hotel opened in 1864 and lived in what now is the town’s museum.
The Red Bus tour is the best way to experience and learn about the town’s architecture. From the Dutch gabled houses and the Victorian mansions to the more humble Karoo and Cape cottages. You’ll learn about the community-managed farrowed system built in 1850 and today still brings fresh sweet water from the Swartberg Mountain.
You’ll also want to sample some of the recent changes that make this historic town very much a modern tourist destination, like the galleries to the recently refurbished art decor The Showroom Theatre. Old Eden’s Lemon Ice Cream, made with real lemon and Guernsey cream frozen in a lemon, is a treat you’re unlikely to forget.
So is Prince Albert.
For more information about this unique spot, check out the African Relish Cooking School in Prince Albert write-up. We also suggest you check out other Awesome and Unusual Places to Stay in Cape Town and Surrounds!
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