11 June 2012 by Chris Marais

Karoo – a sense of snow…

The Karoo Heartland in wintertime offers piles of deep snow, all manner of warm hideaways where you can feast till the meerkats come home, music in the country pubs and some serious hospitality.

This week there’s gonna be snow business down here in the Karoo. I can just feel it.

Today the skies around the Heartland are clear and you can spot a vulture riding the thermals from a long, long way away.

Snow time means it’s nosh time in the Karoo.

But just let the clouds build up a little, and then it’s Christmas in June – the snows will fall on the mountains and in the valleys and, hopefully, in my front yard here in Cradock.

Then shaggy shepherd dogs go crazy with glee, kids dance all over the place and make snow angels, and farmers keep a close watch on their flocks.

They, of all people living here, cannot afford to be less than vigilant during this time of extreme weather.

Snow time means it’s nosh time in the Karoo, a time for all good men, women and children to tie on their bibs and tuck in.

They know how to work the cooking pots out here, and there will be an endless array of venison stews, lamb shanks, excellent meaty pies at the farm stalls, and sinful chocolate mousse cake and cappuccino.

From here to Steytlerville, from Graaff Reinet to Calvinia and beyond, red wine will be poured, potbrood (pot bread) will be baked and kudu will become delicious carpaccio and salami, served at the famous Sneeuberg Brewery in Nieu-Bethesda.

With the snow and the food come the winter-travelling minstrels, like Valiant Swart, Koos Kombuis and the Silver Creek Mountain Band. They cross great distances to arrive at far-flung venues, often playing for not very much, just because it’s great to spend some winter time with Karoo people.

In a few weeks’ time, a bunch of us are going to spend 10 days crossing the Great Karoo on a food safari, from table to table, to farms, delis and restaurants all over the dry country. Can’t wait. Will report back. Burp...

Category: Food & Wine

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