Two weeks ago, we were nearing the end of a week's vacation along South Africa's southern coast. We had stayed in Kenton on Sea, Port Elizabeth and Plettenberg Bay. On our way back to Plett from a day trip to Knysna (who knew it would be in the middle of their Oyster Festival?!), we passed a clearing beside the road with a large banner proclaiming "Saturday Market". Not knowing quite what to expect, we made plans to return the next morning to see what might be available. As it happened, we arrived at the market slightly ahead of opening time, so we wandered around the various stalls to see what there was to see as the artisans finished setting up. There were paintings, beaded work, wire crafts, wood work, clothing and lots of other items to drool over.
Let us not forget the food! We bought a big chunk of some absolutely wonderful cheese; something in the Emmenthaler / Swiss vein. There was a place that had the most wonderful apple strudel, studded with raisins, bits of green fig preserves, nuts, and I'm not sure what else. And they piped whipped cream over it at no additional cost, if you please. I was pleased. There were purveyors of olive, avocado and grapeseed oils. Fresh herbs. Preserves. Confits. Pates. And breads!
Le Fournil, a bakery from Plettenberg Bay, was represented that day. Their focus was more on pastries, although they had lovely breads, too. We purchased pain au chocolat from them. The lady behind the counter spoke more French than I and I spoke more English, American style at that, than she so our conversation was limited. Still, we got along. Here are some pictures of the Le Fournil stand:
Ile de Pain, a bakery located in Knysna, was just a few booths to the right. They featured a broad range of breads, all levain-based. That was impressive, especially since the brioche I purchased was not just buttery but somewhat sweet, as well. The brioche also contained nuggets of orange peel and golden raisins, with a sprinkling of coarse sugar on the top crust. Oh. My. Goodness. It was delightful with a smear of butter but absolutely intoxicating when toasted. Here is how their booth looked:
And a closer look at the breads:
Baguettes are on the left and ciabatta front-center.
From the left: Vollkornbrot, 100% rye, brioche and (I think) a pain de compagne.
If you wanted, you could also buy your breakfast by the slice:
I will definitely miss these small weekend markets that are so common in so many places in South Africa. There really hasn't been anything quite like them in the various places I've lived in back in the U.S. Maybe it's just as well. My waistline couldn't take too many shopping expeditions like this!