Escape to the Midlands Meander and feed more than just your soul
The Midlands Meander is a popular destination for both local and international travellers alike.There is simply some magic here that captures one and a memory that keeps you returning for more.
A few months ago the lovely Siobhan (Sugar and Spice Blog ) contacted me asked if I would be keen to travel with her , Nicola ( Run on Coffee) and Teri (Choose A Row) for a Girls weekend trip to the Midlands there was no way I was not going to do this! Firstly Nicola is literally the Midlands expert and a wealth of knowledge regarding the area and secondly I was in need of a girlie weekend away as my last Midlands trip was in 2018.During my last two visits to the Midlands I have stayed at Brahman Hills and Fordoun and both properties were incredible.
Siobhan the expert planner arranged everything all will literally had to do was some online shopping ,pack and meet for our adventure.Everything was planned with great care,effort and details and all these contributed to an epic weekend away.Our first stop was for padkos from Food Lovers Market and the two cars yes 4 ladies two cars headed to Hilton for our next stop.It felt so good to be on a road trip and catch up with old friends.
The Hilton stop was a visit to Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine.I have been a huge fan of Jackie Cameron for many years and having met Chef previously I was really excited to met Jackie and see her school.Set on a beautiful property the Cookery school also has a wine cellar ,a foodie’s dream shop and a beautiful brunch spot with all Covid19 protocol in place.We met some one the very talented students who set up a beautiful laden table of sweet and savoury treats.Like literally everything was so delish that I wish I could have eaten more.There will be a more detailed post on our visit here and here and some exciting developments.
After all that delish ,our next stop was HighGate Wine Estate for a late lunch and wine tasting.The property is next door to Piggly Wiggly and is another gorgeous property surrounded by vineyards.All Covid19 protocol were in place and staff were amazing.The wine tasting was done in a gorgeous Atrium followed by the most utterly delicious 3 course meal.Each course had bold flavours and was beautifully plated a true feast for the senses.Every single bite felt like my tastebuds were in heaven.A full review to follow soon.
Tummy’s stuffed and happy we wandered off to Piggly Wiggly for a lil walk and to see what was open.This was my first time here,and the best way to describe it would be a collection of small shops almost like a village with a play area for the kids.We popped into Meander Fine Wines and was blown away by the large selection they stock including wines in a can and yes do not knock it till you try it I was surprised and will share more.
It was then time to Rosetta ,the sun started to set and a slight chill in the air.Home for the night was Waterford Manor.The property itself is gorgeous with options of B&B and self catering rooms.A swimming pool is on the property with a deck which is perfect for some lazy summer days but future down the property a tranquil river runs through Waterford Manor.We quickly grabbed our scarves from Desi Closet and headed down to the river to catch a few shots before the sunset.Ps if you want a discount code let me know I will hook you up.The temperature dropped rather quickly and we rushed in to freshen up and find some dinner.
Tip 1 always ask locals for recommendations ! We asked owner Nicholas for dinner options and without a single hesitation he said The Grindstone for the best pizza ever.Jackets and all togged up we made our way to dinner not knowing what to expect.The Grindstone is fairly new and locally owned.We pulled up to a very unassuming building that was once an old farmhouse building.An outdoor covered area felt very comforting with the roaring fire and lanterns littered around the tables.A wood fire pizza oven was on the go with an open kitchen.A variety of pizzas were on the menu including some old favourites with new twists,all pizzas come in two sizes a standard and large and wait for it they have a gluten free pizza base.I opted to split a pizza with Siobhan as I was a tad bit full from all the eating earlier in the day.Rawdon’s Gin was on the menu and I did a lil happy dance as I do love that local brand.Our food was ready in under 30 minutes and every pizza was cooked to perfection.Crispy base with generous toppings combined worked so well and accompanied by chopped chillies and garlic in olive oil.I honestly could have eaten an entire pizza on my own if I was not so full.As we finished off our drinks the kind and attentive owner brought over another pizza for us to try with a bowl of “something’ ,it turned out to be a dessert pizza with ice cream.Next level delicious.If ever you find yourself in Rosetta go eat Pizza you will thank me later trust me !
As we made our way back to Waterford Manor is was freezing ,we decided on hot showers and then a PJ party.It was so much fun as we could not stop laughing that our faces were so sore.It has been ages since I laughed so much and just lived in the moment.It was as if all my stresses had lifted and it felt good to be around like minded souls.I went to sleep happy and full on so many levels.
A farmstyle breakfast with a fire roaring was the perfect start to a chilly morning before we headed off to a local market selling fresh veggies ,honey and all sorts of yum.The weather warmed up pretty quickly as we headed to BlueBerry Cafe I was keen to see place as they had been closed for a refurb.There is now a second eatery on site including a micro brewery and a signature Gin bar.A gorgeous and relaxing outdoor area with great views of the famous cows and lamas.I had a Gin cocktail and it was good proving yet again that local Gin is a force to be reckoned with.
Hartford House was calling and we headed to Mooi River.I had heard all sorts of amazing reviews and knew how difficult it was to get a booking here.The drive up instantly it like we time travelling back in time.Every side I turned it was beautiful and instagram worthy not forgetting the change in season and the beautiful leaves everywhere.
A wonderful welcome with bubbly ofcourse and a quick tour before been shown our gorgeous rooms and we headed off to TijnHuis for lunch.Meandering does make one hungry but to get to TijnHuis one had to conquer an obstacle course of a beautifully landscaped garden with water features and stepping stones I summoned by Dutch courage as I do have a fear of all things that make me uncomfortable and made it to lunch in tact having not fallen in or dropped my phone and handbag into the pond.But after my dramatic adventure I must tell you there is an alternate pathway to use to get to TijnHuis.The food is sublime and the setting is incredible with the most attentive staff.
I literally felt like I was living in a scene out of Downtown Abbey or Bridgeton and actually I could get used to it.Dinner was a proper soiree with a six course menu and guys each course was a flavour explosion of textures and colour ,writing this actually has made me crave that food again.We rolled down to our rooms bellies full,happy and enjoying the crisp evening air and the sky was full of stars.
After a good night’s sleep in our gorgeous suite we got up and got ready for breakfast.I was in food heaven and literally was so excited to see what was on the breakfast menu.With all Covid19 protocol in place plated breakfast meals were ordered from the menu and let me tell everything sounded delish.After brekkie we wandered around the property and I honestly felt right at home like the Lady of the Manor.
And just like that it was time to pack up and head back to reality.This Midlands trip has left me aching to return and discover more and eat my way along.But one last stop before home was the the Old Mushroom Farm for some coffee.Not just any coffee but BlueBird Coffee.WOW mindblow tasting prepared the right way my only regret is not buying a bag to bring home.
I got home full of stories and a happy soul.Spending time out in the country away from pollution with loads of open spaces and Mother Nature in all her glory really does feed more than just the soul.
Have you stayed in the Midlands Meander ? Any favourite properties ?
Be Inspired !