Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Old Biscuit Mill

One of my favorite things to do in Cape Town is visit the Saturday morning Design Goods and Neighbour Goods Markets at The Old Biscuit Mill. A former, uh,  biscuit (cookie) mill built in the late 1800s, the village-like complex now houses shops, galleries, farm stalls and cafes, as well as day and night markets, festivals and events. It's a must. (As is a visit to the Mill's website, which does a much better job than I of explaining it.)

The key to the Saturday markets is to arrive early. They officially open at 9 a.m., but it's best to get there as early as 8; the purveyors will still be setting up their stalls, but by 9:30 it's a mad house through which you can barely move, let alone get a decent photo -- or the pastry you've been coveting since you arrived.

And now I'm going to positively bomb this post* with photos because talk is cheap, a photo is worth a thousand words, and you're only here for the photos, right? 

*I know: I need to build galleries for photo heavy posts. Someday...

The Design Goods Market
Here you'll find designers selling clothing, accessories and toys for children, animals and the young at heart. My favorite stall is Petite Pois, where spunky children's clothes are sold out of a customized 1970s Mini. I couldn't resist getting a Rainbow Brite-ish outfit (top left corner of the photo below) for my friends Jake and Reagan's daughter, Piper. You can see Piper rocking the outfit -- and some other stuff I picked up for her -- here. (And, as Reagan would say, don't be jeal'!)

I really, really, really wanted one of these dolls, but I just couldn't justify it.

 Nor could I justify hauling this tipi back to America. (Sniffle.)

The Neighbour Goods Market
Words can't describe the awesomeness of the food and drink you'll find under the two giant tents at the Neighbour Goods Market. I've been stuck for hours trying to write something to do it justice, so I'll just tell you to bring your appetite and a big bag for hauling your goods home -- if they make it that far.

Something you don't need to bring, however, is a lot of cash. I'm making a huge generalization here, but compared to America, quality food is more affordable in South Africa, and not just because of the favorable exchange rate. Similar to what I observed in Europe, in South Africa fresh, local, organic, expertly crafted food isn't the luxury it is here.

Communal tables made from old doors.
I fell in love with the funky old striped refrigerator in the background on the left.

Bread, glorious bread.

A hummus platter bigger than my head.

The biggest spring rolls I've ever seen (about 3x5 inches each).

Veggie struuuuuuuudel.

Whipping up fresh Hollandaise for rosti Benedict.

With an exchange rate of about 7 South African rand to one U.S. dollar, these pies are about $3.50.
Veggie curry wraps.

Mushroom skewers at the Funky Fungi stall.
I loved the Bay Kebab stall because my maiden name is from the Dutch word, schoner.
The Bay Kebab truck. Brilliant.


Beer at 9 a.m.?
I prefer coffee.

Savory tarts.

Sweet tarts.

Apple galettes.

Giant apple strudel (about $2.50).

Carrot cake muffins with lime icing at Tina Bester's Queen of Tarts stall.

Lemon meringue tartlets at Queen of Tarts.

Milk tart (melktert). Very South African, very delicious.
"Really brilliant biscuits" at Dunk.

Artistry at Martin Senekal Confectionery Design. The sweet potato peanut cake was mind blowing.

Well, friends, that's about all the photos this little blog can handle. Thanks for scrolling -- I hope it didn't give you a finger cramp.


  1. give me all of those things that are not meat.

  2. Oh my, that looks so delicious. How you ever got round to do other stuff, that involved leaving the market, is beyond me :P

    P.s: about your maiden name, Schöner: Are you sure it is of Dutch and not German origin? Because Dutch doesn't usually have ö in the alphabet