There is a charming little town about an hours drive from Cape Town that seems to take you a million miles away. A small town where everyone knows your name, neighbours from one to the other are friends and every day feels like a laid-back Sunday. This little town lies between the hills, dairy farms and the vineyards and is home to the gorgeous wildflowers.
This little town is called Darling.
As small as it is, Darling has a lot to offer.
The town is abundantly rich in entertainment, restaurants, bistros and wine farms.
The town has its own theatre, by the famous satirist Pieter Dirk Uys, called Evita se Perron. As well as a quaint little toffee factory called Darling Toffee. There is a Museum, a Mystery Trail, and a microbrewery called Darling Brew.
On a recent trip up the West Coast and after having stayed the night at !Khwa Ttu, we woke up early ready to venture through the little town of Darling and savour its offerings. We started off at the Darling Museum, did the Mystery Trail and ended off with a well deserved beer tasting at Darling Brew.
A visit to Darling is not complete without a trip to Darling Museum.
Darling is very rich in history and most of all, the history of butter making. From antique furniture and clothing to the interior of a school room and what life was like back in the day, you will be transported back to at least two centuries ago. There is also a unique butter museum filled with wooden butter churns, butter washes and other historical equipment and interesting information.
The museum was actually founded by a group of local farmers’ wives in 1978 whose aim was to preserve the butter making history of Darling. And, this they did.
As a foodie, who loves an extra thick layer of butter on her bread … And loves to cook with butter, this was the highlight of my meandering through the museum. It was interesting to learn how the making of butter evolved over time. So now when I spread the butter on my bread, I appreciate the creamy deliciousness a lot more!
If you are a foodie reading this, I suggest you put Darling Museum as the top of your culinary bucket list. You can thank me later 😉
The Mystery Trail
The Mystery Trail is the perfect excuse to take a stroll through the streets of Darling. It is all about exploring fragments of a mysterious story that still exists – you can read more about that here.
This is how it works: grab your friends and family and meet at the Darling Museum. Bring with a pen, paper and a GPS (or an old school compass). You will be provided with a map. The first clue of the Mystery Trail is in the Museum … Once you find this, you will be given the second clue. And so on and so on. There are 10 clues in total.
Allow yourself about two hours to explore and get lost. And also allow yourself a little bit of bickering along the way. Someone will want to go left, you will want to go right and the GPS will say straight. But don’t worry, its all part of the fun! And it is a lot of fun, let me tell you!
Without giving away too much, pictured below is one of the clues we found.
We had so much fun but were so parched that I was more-so thankful our next stop was Darling Brew.
Darling is home to a microbrewery, Darling Brew.
What started out as just an idea by a husband and wife duo, Philippa and Kevin Wood, in 2007, has now become an award winning microbrewery. And as a result, Darling Brew is now available across the whole country, thanks to more and more fans loving this craft beer.
Darling Brew is not like you average craft beer. It is full of flavour, high quality ingredients are used and it undergoes a slow brewing process. The result is each beer has unique and different characteristics.
There are four unique flavours, the Slow Beer, Native Ale, Bone Crusher and Black Mist. The beers also have unique but peculiar names. Like Blood Serpent, Gypsy Mask, Desert Dragon, and Rogue Pony, I don’t blame you for raising an eyebrow. The beers are named after nature and animals that inspire both Philipa and Kevin.
Darling Brew also offers a Tasteroom that overlooks the microbrewery. So while you’re tasting your favourite brew, you can watch the brewing process. Together with your beer tasting you can also choose either a light meal option off the menu, or opt for the braai menu and enjoy some delicious meat! The tasting room is a wonderful opportunity to pair good food with good beer, and ensures an exciting experience.
As we walked into Darling Brew we were struck by the electric atmosphere in the air. Our senses also came along for the ride, as the powerful smell of beer took over our nostrils and the beer tastings took over out taste buds.
We were also taken on a tour of the microbrewery by Philippa herself. She oozes passion, drive and a zest for life … And craft beer. And the result: Darling Brew.
After tasting nearly all of the beers and munching a delicious cheese and meat platter, we ended up buying a few cases of the beers we liked the flavours of.
As I sit here typing, I am sipping on a Rouge Pony.
Did you know?
The 99th Darling Wildflower show is on the 16th – 18th of September 2016 (more info click here).
For more information on Darling Museum, you can visit their website here.
For more information of the Mystery Trail, you can visit their website here.
For more information on Darling Brew and the Tasteroom, you can visit their website here.
A huge thank you to Darling Museum, Darling Brew and West Coast Way for organising this trip and experience.