Horse riding and a picnic – the perfect Sunday at Boschendal

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IN case you missed it, I spent a wonderful weekend at Boschendal, full of eating, drinking and playing.

I’ve told you about The Werf restaurant, the amazing farm shop, the Deli, drive-in movies and luxurious accommodation in there Werf Cottages. There’s a super deal on at the moment for Bertha’s Retreat, where children can stay free (Ts&Cs obviously, more info here). Boschendal is a brilliant destination for families with children; there are loads of activities for them that are fun and educational.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the small humans, which is fine because there’s even more for large ones to do, as you have already seen.

On Sunday morning, I swopped friends (sharing the love, you see) and bade Sexy Deborah adieu and bonjour Nicole Biondi. We were to go horse riding. I love horse riding. Nicole Biondi did not, as such. She’d done it once before and her feelings were similar to mine about children. However, she dressed the part and it worked.

Bra Jakes and Nicole Biondi

Off we went to the stables where we were greeted by a gentle man by the name of Bra Jakes, who brought our horses and ascertained our skills level. I got the dapple grey named Bazooka or Bamboozle or Bazinga (I’m going with Bazooka, touched by an angel) and Nicole’s was Queen Elizabeth. Bra Jakes was very calming and reassuring and his manner put Nicole at ease.

With this kind of riding, it’s pretty much as safe as it can be (of course, it’s an animal and unexpected things can happen); the pace is gentle and the horses are well-trained for novice riders. Things became easier with Bazooka, when Jakes told me the reason he wanted to walk off the path and in the undergrowth was because he didn’t have shoes on all his feet, shame. We took a slow amble around the farm, eventually emerging through the trees into the vegetable garden in front of The Werf restaurant.

From there we headed up to the werf itself, with throngs of day visitors. As we casually passed them, they stared and pointed and took photographs. It was wonderful. All that was missing was a glass of bubbly in one hand. Nicole Biondi had a fabulous time and she’ll do it again, with far better memories. I’m very proud of her.

After freshening up at the cottage, freshly clothed in suitably summery frocks – it’s a bit weird to be writing this now it’s flipping chilly; that day was probably the last of the truly hot ones of the season – we headed to the Rose Garden for a picnic.

Once upon a time, when I was younger and more arrogant, I wrote about a picnic at a wine farm which was served at a table. Outside, but still at a table. What nonsense, I declared. A picnic requires you sit on the ground on a blanket, with pillows if you must. Oh boy, that’s haunting me now; while I’d love nothing more than lounging around on the grass, this body just isn’t having any of that. Well, it could, but I’d need assistance to get up elegantly.

In other words, I was happy this particular picnic also takes place at a table. And what a picnic it is. Wow.

We each got our own box with baguette, hummus and butter; vegetables with almond and garlic emulsion; green salad in a jar with parmesan and herb vinaigrette; roast cauliflower coronation with coriander and crispy chickpeas; roast chicken, mayo and lemon atchar; a charcuterie selection; Camembert and onion marmalade; and white chocolate cheesecake. Just to keep things consistent, we had a bottle of the estate’s Blanc de Noir.

So here’s a fun fact. There are bees that like meat. I am not making this up (Google it). We were beset upon from all sides, and after covering up all the sweet things we thought were attracting them, I addressed the garden in general to find out if it was everyone, or just us. A helpful guest at the neighbouring table informed us they were after the charcuterie.

Really? All right then. I was willing to give up my cold meats to find out if this was true. I put it down on a piece of brown paper, and sure enough, off the bees went. As you might imagine with such appetites, they are rather robust. Fascinating. Although Boschendal’s operation is proudly hyper-local, with much of the produce for all your meals, from The Werf to the Deli to picnics, coming from the farm, you can rest assured you’re not getting meat honey (honey is sourced elsewhere). Although I wouldn’t mind tasting it…

For more information, click here.

PHOTO CREDIT: Bianca Coleman ©

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