03 September 2011 by Robyn Campbell

Free Sate food safari

The Purple Onion, Clarens

Food lovers who favour the road less travelled will find fields of flavour and plates of plenty on their journey though the Free State’s food.

Begin your safari in Bloemfontein, where fine dining chefs turn the province’s beef into mouth-watering wet- or dry-aged steaks at the Block and Cellar restaurant; while De Oude Kraal Country Estate and Spa, elevates its grass-fed lamb to food fine art with a flourish of French savoir faire.

Make a meal of Free State soul food at Meel restaurant, and chill out over beer and pizza in Bloemfontein’s coolest pool bar at Die Mystic Boer. Pescatores should swim straight for Bloem’s waterfront, where the upmarket seafood franschise, the Cape Town Fish Market, serves up sushi and just-caught line fish you’ll get hooked on.

Leave the city of Roses and follow the good smells coming out of the ovens of the agricultural town of Ladybrand. From fresh-baked farm bread at the heritage museum, to plates full of gorgeous organic grub at the Station Café, this tiny town packs an enormous gourmet punch. Don’t leave without dining at the Duck Pond restaurant and bar at Cranberry Cottage, a culinary tryst between French flair and Free State produce that will leave you exulting ‘Oui, oui!

Clarens, a must-visit on your Free State food safari, will have you clamouring for second helpings. Crammed into this tiny, trendy village is a smorgasbord of restaurants, delis, and pubs that could have you dining here for weeks.

Go gaga for barnyard glamour at the Gourmet Shed, where after you’ll never think of a braai as just another barbeque again. Farmhouse breakfasts and harvest tables are just some of the healthful, homemade offerings on offer at Café Moulin.

Still in Clarens, at the Phatt Chef, graze on the best Free State beef served with imaginative sauces and followed by a dessert menu that speaks volumes about Free Sate food: large, luscious and made with love. Or try the Purple Onion deli

Category: Arts & Entertainment, Food & Wine

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