This weekend I had the privilege of attending my cousin’s wedding near Clarens, Free State, and what an experience this was. I not only found one of the most beautiful locations in South Africa, apart from the Cape, but also discovered a hidden gem in terms of wine and food. When going to a wedding, numerous things run through ones’ mind concerning all aspects such as food, entertainment and most importantly drink.
My mother and I flew from Cape Town International to a tiny airport in Bloemfontein, which I discovered actually had a small café, plus an unexpected 20 minute wait for our luggage. This was our stopover before our wedding adventure. I, like most people I know, do not really enjoy visiting Bloemfontein, as it reminds me of a city that has decided to stop breathing and developing. The one redeeming fact of Bloem is that the people are really friendly.
The next day we were off to the great unknown. The trip usually takes 1.5 hours, however as people that have visited the Free State know, the potholes are the size of craters and the stop-and-go roadworks are a thing of nightmares. As the trip got longer and longer, my temper, as well as my need for food and a good glass of wine became increasingly more important for the survival of my fellow passengers. We finally managed to find the tiny village, called Rosendal, a couple of kilometres away from the farm where the wedding was held. I held no possible hope of finding even a tuck shop let alone a restaurant. But, oh behold, there around the corner of the ‘main road’ (which only consisted of a few houses on a dirt road), a restaurant sat, beckoning us. I couldn’t have been more jovial, but this sudden euphoria vanished as I realised that this was a tiny village where wine could not be possibly found… ever. However as the waitress, who might have been the owner, placed the menus down in front of us, my eye caught a glimpse of the most wondrous thing of all; they had a fantastic selection of wine. From Springfield Sauvignon blanc to a Beyerskloof Pinotage. I was completely in my element and decided to order their specialty, a nice big burger with homemade chips paired with a beautiful Sauvignon blanc from Diemersdal. Oh and to my fellow passengers delight, my hunger and irritation subsided immediately and a content happiness was seen again on my face. This restaurant showed me that, no matter how isolated you are as a restaurant, there is no excuse for having bad box wine, instead of a just a couple of good bottles. A recommendation to all, visit Rosendal and Rosa’s for a very special experience!