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Top Billing takes a tour of the beautiful west coast
The West Coast offers the best of natural and rugged beauty
From the picture-perfect fishing villages of sleepy Paternoster to the quaintness of Darling, if you’re looking to lose yourself and see some rough, natural beauty– nothing beats the sights of the West Coast.
The splendour of the West Coast and its floral kingdom has been painted, written and sung about and now it is also captured in a range of toffees and caramels.
Darling Sweet is co-owned by former medical rep and antique shop owner Frits van Ryneveld and artist, lecturer and chef Hentie van der Merwe.
They converted an old antique shop into their kitchen and began producing three toffee flavours. The brand has grown so much since, Hentie has resigned from lecturing to be a full-time product developer.
They’ve recently launched a range of toffee spreads and today they employ thirty-two staff, and have moved to larger premises which once housed Darling’s general dealer business. An initial export to the U.S. went well and the international market now calls.
The brand worked with Pieter-Dirk Uys on a Tannie Evita’s Classic Toffee and their range currently runs to ten flavours, from coffee or liquorice to far more adventurous ones.
Fez took a shine to the Honey & Salt, Orange and Cranberry, and Mint. He’s clearly a fan! Another local success story is Darling Brew. Slow Beer is not only the name of their first beer, it is their philosophy, highlighting a slow fermentation process overseen by Brewmaster Rene Du Toit.
Each of the companies brews is named after an endangered, rare or misunderstood animal like the black rhino, honey badger or spotted hyena. The brewery’s focus on sustainability extends to offering carbon neutral beers – and there is a constant focus on new, fresh tastes.
After his tour of the gorgeous town of Darling, Fez had a short trip west until he reached The Atlantic Coast and Paternoster, where Danie Breytenbach has been guiding kayaking trips for over a decade.
Fez would’ve loved seeing the dolphins, seals and visiting the local penguin colony – if he could only have stayed upright in his kayak for long enough. Despite Danie’s experience, advice and best efforts, the scenic trip will better be remembered as a cold swim for the good doctor.
After an evening in front of the fire, Fez returned to the scene of his defeat and opted for motor power this time, in the form of Pieter Coraizin’s boat for some fishing. While the doc is talented in many ways, fishing isn’t one of his strong suits.
Today, it’s tourism that supports many of the families that fishing used to – so Fez was proud to shine a light on Annelize Van Zyl’s hometown.
A delicious lunch of roosterkoek and a fish braai was Fez’s welcome with Buks Jordaan doing the honours. There are more complex ways of cooking a fish but when your seafood is this fresh, the basic ingredients let the flavour of the fish be the hero. Doc Mkhize could not remember ever enjoying the simple fruits of the sea as much as this.
After a wonderful tour of the West Coast, Fez vowed to return – and get the better of that kayak!