04 September 2011 by Robyn Campbell

Visiting Parys? Come hungry…

It may not have the Seine, or Michelin star restaurants, but South Africa’s ‘Paris’, or as we call it, Parys, lures foodies from near and far in their droves.

If you’re determined to shed a few kilos, then you’d best avoid the northern Free State town of Parys, which has around 35 restaurants in a village setting.

A quaint riverside town, Parys is named (or so the locals will tell you) after that famous French city, Paris. The good news for food lovers is that Parys, with a ‘y’, like Paris with an ‘i’, is full of good food adventures.

Parys prides itself on being a destination with something for everyone, and its food offering is no exception. From traditional Free State nibbles, like biltong and droë wors, from Alex biltong, to the Welcome Café‘s whopping burgers with all the trimmings.

Nurse your sweet tooth at the Stoepkombuis at Klipspruit Nursery, where the cup cakes mean just that: oh-so-cute (and delicious) cakes baked in pretty cups to complement your cappuccino.

Food worshippers will feel right at home at Art Lovers, an old church converted into a trendy gallery-cum-restaurant, where local art works and old-fashioned boerekos with a fine dining twist are a heavenly match.

For more divine food, climb restaurant Hoi Poloi’s stairs, and dine in a converted church loft on celestial servings of lamb curry and edible flower salads.

Bistro-café, Feast, must be next on your list. If you can’t manage their sit-down menu of scrumptious Mediterranean dishes, pile your shopping basket with goodies from their gourmet deli to carry away.

Muster your appetite because in Parys there’s always more on the menu,  like the 46 beers available to taste at The Pickled Pig, an English pub, among them pints from Parys breweries The Dog and Fig and Degarve.

Do stop for boeretroos (coffee and cake) at the Koffie Pot - a coffee shop in a big red bus - you’ll need the caffeine to give you energy for a last spurt of gourmet gallivanting, as you head out of Parys on the road to Vredefort.

Here, you’ll find Boepensie Padstal, the last word in farm stall heaven with jams, preserves, homemade bread and pies, and authentic ginger beer, all homemade, and fresh milk on sale.

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