23 August 2011 by Chris Marais

The Pleasure of a Padstal

As you’re driving through rural South Africa, keep a sharp eye out for what we call a padstal - a roadside shop.

Sometimes, they’re not up to much. Perhaps there’s just a small pyramid of oranges for sale, or a mangy curio on offer. But that’s only sometimes.

Most of the time these days, a padstal is a cave of roadside wonders. It’s a place where you can choose from thousands of locally-farmed or -made items, from fruit baskets to fresh-baked pies, just-brewed coffee to home-made ginger beer.

Just down the road from us on the N10 between Cradock and Port Elizabeth is the award-winning, quite-legendary Daggaboer Padstal. Dagga is the local term for marijuana, so Daggaboer means ‘marijuana farmer’. Which, in itself, leads to all manner of speculation as to how the area came to be known as ‘Daggaboer’. The jury’s still out about whether it was once a famous marijuana farming district. There are four different theories on the subject, and you should ask co-owner Charl Pansegrouw about them.

Daggaboer is locally world famous for sheepskin slippers, homemade pies, game biltong and Isobel Neethling’s fresh made milktart and delectably fluffy lemon meringue pie. Here you’ll also find some preserves unique to this area of the Karoo: Slap Hakskeentjies (onions in a mild mustard sauce), Boeremeisies (apricots in almond-infused witblits - distilled grape-based liquor), and of course, Turksvystroop (thick prickly pear syrup delicious on toast, waffles and smeared over braaied steak).

Do the Karoo thing. Sit on the stoep, let the kids play on the swings, and gaze deeply into the middle distance over a fresh tart and a deep plunger of aromatic Masterton’s coffee.

And when that’s all done and it’s time to move on down the road, go inside and ask Charl to slice you up some delicious kudu biltong for the journey ahead. And don’t forget that bottle of ginger beer…

Category: Culture & History

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