01 September 2011 by Robyn Campbell

De Oude Kraal: a Free State love affair

Ask any Free State foodie, from Bethulie to Brandfort, which restaurant gets their fine dining vote and you’ll hear one name: De Oude Kraal..


Of late, chefs in Cape Town and Jo’burg are swapping their aprons for historical cookbooks, and hunting down heirloom ingredients in a rush to ‘rediscover their culinary roots’.

On a sheep farm outside Bloemfontein, fourth generation farmer and gourmet cook extraordinaire, Marie Lombard, together with her wine-wise husband, Gerhard, have been quietly, elegantly, paying homage to the food of the Free State for years.

Pride in fresh, locally grown produce, together with tried-and-tested, fondly remembered family recipes is at the heart of De Oude Kraal’s food philosophy. Add Marie’s inimitable passion for good food, her culinary know- how, and a dash of French flair, paired with wines from hubby’s multi-award winning cellar, and you are in for an unforgettable meal.

When isn’t dinner a meal? When it’s a six-course gourmet feast at De Oude Kraal: think beef rump with dark chocolate sauce, merino lamb (from the farm of course) pie in phyllo parcel with mint sauce, and seasonal vegetables. Try, and fail, to resist Marie’s orange curd tartlet and honey, with an orange soufflé and chocolate-mousse-filled chocolate pancake. And dare we forget the legendary farm breakfasts served on the stoep? Yum!

Much more than a restaurant, De Oude Kraal pampers body and soul, so follow a fabulous meal with an equally indulgent treatment at their on-site day spa.

Since just one helping of De Oude Kraal’s food theatre is never enough, their 8-course food and wine pairing provide the perfect excuse to return. For the ultimate exploration of Free State food, don’t miss their annual mid-winter venison festival. An ‘around the veld in 80 dishes’ culinary voyage that will see you tasting Blesbuck, Eland, Blackwildebeest, Gemsbuck, crocodile and more.

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