Beaufort West is the kind of town you will never struggle to find; it’s firmly on the map! They call it “the town of trucks”. The national highway between Johannesburg and Cape Town runs the full length of the town. Every truck travelling this route passes through Beaufort West.
So what’s the attraction?
It’s a town of hidden gems.
I added lavishly to my collection of crystal wine glasses from a purchase from Die Spinwiel in the Main Road – where would you get cut crystal at R140 per glass? They look elegant with the Royal Dalton gilt-edged crockery! There’s a saying in Beaufort West that the best has to be on standby for when Lord and Lady Beaufort come to dinner. There’s even a menu ready.
The table stays set “for when Lord and Lady Beaufort come to dinner”.
Photograph: Paul Murray.
Beaufort West is never alone – it is twinned with a town in the USA called Beaufort, in South Carolina, so when next planning to travel, you’ll have a place to track down. Make sure you visit Magnolia Café, 703 Congress St, Beaufort, SC 29902, tel 00 1 8435222064, e-mail: email@example.com. To see the special menu go to http://www.thefoodscoop.com/mbc.html.
Or Emily’s Restaurant and Tapas Bar with over 20 tapas to choose from – try the speciality, crab soup. The address is 906 Port Republic Street; tel 00 1 8435221866. Visit their Facebook page.
Click here to read up more on why the Lowcountry Delights Cookbook and Travel Guide from the Beaufort area (South Carolina region in the USA) is sold out!
Recipe for crab soup
(South Carolina speciality)
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 small white onion, grated
- 1 stalk celery, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 quarts half-and-half cream
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tspn hot pepper sauce
- 2 tspns Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tspns chopped fresh dill
- 1 lb lump crabmeat
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- half-cup medium sherry.
What to do
- Start by melting the butter in a large stockpot over a medium heat – stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Cook for about 3 mins, stir constantly.
- Mix in the onion, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook and stir for about 4 mins.
- Whisk in, gradually, the half-and-half cream so that there are no lumps. Stir in the chicken broth and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and pour in half the sherry. Season with dill, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Cover, and simmer for about 30 mins until soup has reduced by one third. Add crabmeat and simmer for another 10 mins.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top off with a splash of remaining sherry and sprinkle of fresh chives.
Recipe credit: South Carolina crab soup
Arriving in Beaufort West in the middle of summer means there has to be an oasis somewhere – I find it every time. The rooms are well appointed, fully air-conditioned with really strong air conditioners, friendly staff … And the main reason: the food is good, old-fashioned, fresh produce, of the slow-food kind. There’s nothing to rush for in Beaufort West, so take it easy, especially when eating.
The well-appointed dining room takes you back into a previous era. The quality of the food is superb, prepared by chef Tina Jors.
The fare is specially prepared by Tina Jors, the chef at Beaufort Manor.
Photo with permission, the management, Beaufort Manor.
The menu also looks old-fashioned:
The menu is traditional, and so is the way the lamb is prepared.
An excellent place to buy Karoo lamb in Beaufort West is at Piet Chops:
Phone Piet Chops at 023 4142301 and place your order for real Karoo mutton.
There are a few old-fashioned salad recipes, too – such as a refreshing cucumber and feta; or the classic cooked, grated beetroot in vinegar with onion rings.
Traditional salads: cucumber and feta; beetroot and onion – done the traditional way
It was Christmas Eve in Beaufort West and the church service was ready to begin, so after dinner a walk down the main road, dodging the truck, resulted in getting to church on time. A charming congregation, all sharing good wishes.
One of the churches in Beaufort West. It was Christmas Eve and after the service there was a picnic on the lawn, with all kinds of nice comestibles.
Hand-made comestibles specially for Christmas time
A short visit to Beaufort West is really not enough to take in all the little gems, such as the museum going back to a bygone era; the surrounding farms with beautiful gardens and typical Karoo hospitality; or walking through the old streets to view the old houses with simple lines but rich in decor, wooden window frames, gables and succulent gardens — little surprises around each corner.
Quaint old houses
A museum of fashion dolls
Catering for backpackers
Old-fashioned ice cream in the Karoo
Surrounded by Karoo mountains
The Karoo is well known for its beautiful sunsets, and Beaufort West, spacious and flat, is no exception - the mountains in the distance make for a spectacular backdrop to a town that is without pretence, a real gem!
But most of all, it’s a town of trucks! Be careful when you cross the road!