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AAs inseparable as sun and South Africa, wine and cheese have been partners since the first bottle of house red sidled up to a cube of cheddar and whispered, “Do you come here often?” Happily, South African cheese has come a long way, as you’ll discover at the best winelands cheese venues.
One of the Cape’s most popular and best winelands cheese venues is Fairview Winery in Paarl. Fairview has over 13 different Jersey and goat’s milk cheeses to try and buy. Taste their cheese with wine, on its own, or as a platter in the estate’s Goatshed restaurant. Don’t leave without their flagship cheese, the Roydon camembert.
At Anura Vineyards, you'll find French style, soft-rind cheeses. Try the irresistible brie and camembert, Anura marisch (a mozzarella/edam blend) and the Anura mountain cheese – a well-matured Swiss style cheese with a rich, nutty flavour. Enjoy them all on the estate’s cheese platter.
Zevenwacht Wine Estate is another renowned cheese venue in the winelands, known for their knock-out, all-natural farmhouse cheddar. Recently, Zewenwacht joined forces with Italian cheese producers Puglia Cheese, adding authentic mozzarella to their repertoire. Also available are burrata, fior di latte and a semi-matured caciotta cheese called primo fiore.
Healey’s farmhouse cheddar is a handmade unpasteurised cheddar cheese. Made from meadow-grazed Friesian milk and cave-aged for 8 to 24 months, it’s been voted in the world’s top 4 cheddars since its inception in 2005. Enjoy this multi award-winning treat at Waterkloof Wine Estate on the outskirts of the Helderberg in Stellenbosch.
Another popular winelands cheese venue, Klein River Cheese outside Stanford, makes 12 varieties of award-winning cheeses. Known for their outstanding gruyere, cheeses can be tasted and purchased all year round. You can enjoy a picnic on the farm from November to May.
Look out for the products of Dalewood Fromage, unfortunately not open to the public. Their handmade, mature semi-hard estate cheese, huguenot, has won gold medals at the World Cheese Awards, and local foodies drool over their brie, available in blue-veined or with green fig, chilli, porcini or crushed olives.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Healey's Cheesery at Waterkloof Wine Estate
Sir Lowry’s Pass Road
Tel: +27 (0)21 200 2661
Fairview Vineyard Cheesery
Suid-Agter Paarl Road
Tel: +27 (0)21 863 2450
Forest Hill Cheese at Anura
Tel: +27 (0)21 875 5360
Tel: +27 (0)21 900 5700
Klein River Cheese
Off the R326
Tel: +27 (0)28 341 0693
How to get here
All the cheeseries that are open to the public are well signposted and easily accessible by tarred roads. Plug in the names of the venues on Google Maps or stop and ask the locals.
Best time to visit
Cheesery opening hours may not correspond with the opening hours of the wine estate. Check the establishments' websites before visiting.
What will it cost?
The cost of a cheese tasting varies from R30 to R50 per person. Expect to pay between R80 to R150 for a cheese platter. Cheese tastings at Fairview, Anura and Zevenwacht may also include wine.
Things to do
When in the winelands make the most of the world-class wines, fine dining establishments and scenic views.
What to pack
Depending on when you visit, the area can get very hot in summer and pretty chilly in winter, so dress accordingly. Always carry a jacket in case of a weather change.
Where to stay
The accommodation options are endless. Choose between Airbnb, 5-star hotels and quaint guest houses.
What to eat
Besides delicious cheese, a number of these establishments sell gourmet deli products made on the estate or sourced from local suppliers.
The SA Cheese Festival – the largest in Africa – takes place in April.