A turned 35! To celebrate, I planned a little weekend getaway to Stellenbosch filled with everything he loves. The best part of the gift? We took the train, which made him over the moon happy.

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Our first day, we arrived in the early afternoon and went on a wine tour, visiting three places.

IMG_5144We were starving, so we grabbed a charcuterie board at Spier Farms and enjoyed some of the grounds.

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Next was Bilton Wines–their specialty is chocolate pairings, which were divine. We ended up buying two bars of chocolate–the Milk Cape Malay and the White Tropical Guava. Both were divine, but I’m regretting not buying another bar of the white chocolate.

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We finished at Kleine Zalze, sipping on our wine outside.

Delicious wine on a beautiful day!

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On the bus ride back, we met some other travelers and they invited us out, so we joined them for dinner at Hudson’s (I can’t escape this place–it’s everywhere! Hudson’s is a huge chain of NY-style eateries. The food is delicious but it doesn’t seem very “New York” to me) and drinks at a bar afterwards.

The next day I arranged a private craft beer tour. Stellenbosch is known world-wide for its wines, but the craft beer scene has been growing quite quickly in the past few years.

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Our first of five stops was Stellenbosch Brewing Company. The owner’s wife is actually from Utica and we got a little behind the scenes tour. They, and pretty much every craft brewer here in Stellenbosch started in their garage and expanded from there.

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The next place was Wild Clover and it had a beer collection from all over the world. I wandered around puttering with my camera (I thought it was broken there for a few minutes!) while A enjoyed his beer.

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This next place was tiny, but super worth it. Zebonkey is in a rented garage on a wine farm, with a tiny production. We got to chat again with the brewer’s wife and she gave us a nifty map of all the craft beer in South Africa.

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The Spice Route has basically everything you’ll ever need. It’s a wine farm and the owners have rented out spaces to a variety of restaurants, art shops, and a brewery. They even have a coffee and ice cream shop!

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We had ate at Berton Basson, a farm-to-table restaurant. We had a seven course lunch: olive tapenade + bread, pea soup, fennel salad, a roasted veg plate, chicken pot pie, sirloin steak (so tender I cut it with my fork!!) with roasted cauliflower + potatoes, and we finished off with an apple crumble. All with a bottle of delicious wine. Swoon.

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Pretty views outside the restaurant

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This is where I sat and drank some wine while A had his final beer tasting at Cape Brewing Company.

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While I was downstairs wine tasting, A was up here making friends with a bunch of folks who had way too much to drink.

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On our way home, the train was delayed for nearly two hours, which was a bummer. Luckily, we’re easily entertained. And can take pictures of our feet. =D