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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Graaf Reinet

On our way to Mossel Bay, we stopped in Graaf Reinet for breakfast.

This beautiful Karoo town is surrounded by the Karoo National park and is the fourth oldest in South Africa, having been established in 1787 by the then Governor, Cornelis Van der Graaf, of the Dutch East India company.

The Huge, beautifully maintained Dutch Reformed church, which was influenced by the architecture of the Salisbury Cathedral, can seat 1500 people and is pretty much the center-piece of the town. Coming from Gauteng, the first thing that struck me was how clean the streets were. A large, friendly, colored community add a very special vibe.

This is the Rienet Antque shop which houses the oldest cake (supposedly) in the world. The old house was bought a few years ago by a Mrs Era Maasdorp who found the cake on the floor. She, fortunately, found a photograph of the cake with the Te Water couple, who were marred in 1852 and who had this cake made for their anniversary in 1902.

Just below the mirror on the far wall above the fire place, one can see the 110 year old cake. Unfortunately, the photo which I took was blurred, The assumption is that it's a fruit cake which was seeped in brandy, as is the modern-day practice, preserving it. Also, cakes in those days were a luxury, a piece of art. The icing was often hardened and preserved with egg white and a slither was cut only on a special occasion.

Hows this kitchen?!!! The open hearth, the sloping timber beams, the creaky old floor I saw a dour old lady with a down-turned mouth, slowly stirring a large pot of stew.... I could almost smell it.!

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