Finest Kind cheese-making getaway, Garden Route
Did you know?
Cheese first appeared somewhere around 7000 BC, during the Neolithic period.
Cheese-making courses in a beautiful setting is what Finest Kind cheese producers offers on its farm at The Crags, just outside Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape.
This area forms part of the famed Garden Route that hugs a stretch of the South African coastline, along the south east of the country. It is easily one of the most sought-after regions in the country thanks to its scenic beaches, dense forests, lakes and endless vistas of the coastline. Upmarket spas, golfing estates, forest hideaways and excellent local cuisine draw both local and international travellers, and the area is a preferred destination of well-heeled adventurers and the esoteric-minded.
A working farm is the ideal place to learn the art of cheese- and yoghurt-making, and Finest Kind will give you the space and the opportunity to discover your inner chef.
The basic course requires no prior knowledge of cheese-making, and will ensure that you come away with the skill and technical know-how to make fromage frais (a soft, fresh cheese), yoghurt, feta and Gouda. You’ll even learn about brining, moulding, packaging and preservation. It’s a useful, fun experience that you can take home and impress the family with.
More ambitious learners who wish to acquire advanced skills can request a course in the making of specialised cheeses such as mozzarella.
Finest Kind’s cheese manufacturers keep abreast of international cheese trends and traditions, and to this end invite specialist cheese-makers from countries such as The Netherlands, France and Italy to guest lecture.
And when you’re done learning, you can spend some time in this relaxing holiday spot and enjoy the local specialities as well as the restorative scenery. For this reason courses run for two days over a Thursday and a Friday, allowing visitors to spend the weekend exploring the Garden Route.
Within close proximity of the cheese farm is a range of accommodation that includes a nature reserve, B&Bs and luxury options.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)44 533 1623
Cell: + 27 (0)81 266 2819
How to get here
Plettenberg Bay is situated along the N2, about 520km from Cape Town (about six hours' drive), and about 230km (less than three hours' drive) from Port Elizabeth.
Best time to visit
The Garden Route is spectacular during spring (September to November), but is nice all year round.
Around the area
There are numerous attractions along the Garden Route, including adventure activities and nature reserves.
Tours to do
For something a little different, head towards Knysna and take in the Rastafarian township tour.
What will it cost
Prices of courses vary, so it's best to contact Finest Kind for the latest rates.
Length of stay
The course runs for two days. Booking is essential. A minimum of six and maximum of 10 people are accommodated per course. One course takes place per month. Please contact Finest Kind for course dates and costs.
Where to stay
There are many excellent B&Bs and guest houses along the Garden Route – Hog Hollow Country Lodge and Lily Pond Country Lodge are a good bet. You can also stay at high-end hotels like The Plettenberg Hotel and the Kurland.
Plettenberg Bay is a popular seaside resort town where holidaymakers enjoy the beaches, fishing and water-sports activities. There are also great restaurants along the Garden Route.
Visit the nearby Harkerville Market on a Saturday morning for local arts and crafts and a great atmosphere.