12 June 2012 by Robyn Campbell

Have your cake and eat it

Tuisnywerheid, or home industry shops, are a uniquely South African institution, helping to preserve local and regional baking traditions and heirloom recipes.

Home-made heaven at Koljander Home Industries

If you’ve a sweet tooth and a yen to try some authentic local treats, then look out for a tuisnywerheid (home industry) shop. You’ll find these amateur baking and craft collectives across the country, on the main streets of towns, big and small, and in shopping centres.

Sticky-sweet koeksisters

Some are simple and modest, no more than shelves lined with baked goods and minimalist decor; others are festooned with homely kitsch – frilly tea cosies, crochet baby clothes, and embroidered and knitted items from toilet-roll covers to table cloths.

The desserts are folkloric: peppermint crisp fridge tart, brandy tart (also called tipsy tart), bakewell tart and lemon meringue pie.

All sell delicious, reasonably priced home-baked goods. Traditional cakes, tarts, jams, preserves, pies and regional specialties are the mainstay of the tuisnywerheid, made by local moms, grannies, tannies (aunties) and the occasional oom (uncle).

Thanks to these dedicated bakers, time-honoured teatime treats like melk tert (milk tart), koeksisters (a plaited, syrup-soaked, deep-fried yeast doughnut), hertzogies (coconut jam tartlets), klapper tert (coconut tart), rusks, scones, lamingtons and more can be enjoyed by everyone. Savoury items include chicken pies, samoosas, sausage rolls, mince-meat filled vetkoek and quiches.

The desserts are folkloric: peppermint crisp fridge tart, brandy tart (also called tipsy tart), bakewell tart, lemon meringue pie and malva pudding (roughly translated it means marshmallow – a reference to its moist, spongy texture and not actual marshmallows).

The cakes hark back to an era when chocolate cake decorated with glace cherries and Cadbury’s Flake ruled! Chequerboard chocolate and vanilla, or vanilla and caramel, cakes and banana bread loaves are ubiquitous, along with carrot cakes with cream-cheese icing and mini faux carrot decorations.

Kids' birthday and novelty cakes are another tuisnywerheid staple, so if you’re still dreaming about a pink-and-white Barbie cake, you know where to go...

Carrot cake

In Melville, in Johannesburg, Koljander is voted the best home industry shop year after year.

Sandton Home Industry is also a cut above the rest (Shop 6, Parkmore Mews, corner 12th and Olympia streets, Parkmore, Johannesburg, Gauteng. Tel: +27 (0)11 783 0015)

Nice on Fourth in Parkhurst isn't a home industry per se, but the cakes are pure nostalgia and the chicken pie will make you crow! (Corner 14th Street and Fourth Avenue, Parkhurst, Johannesburg, Gauteng. Tel: +27 (0)11 788 6286)

In Durban, Carol’s Cakes has the whole shebang. Cheesecakes, apple pie, trifle, you name it!

In Pretoria, Lynnwooddrif Tuisnywerheid has soet en sout happies (petite sweet and savoury eats) galore.

In Cape Town, Melissa’s started out as a home industry, but smart marketing and a bit of bling have catapulted this former home baker into a multi-franchise gourmet deli diva.

Category: Food & Wine


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