Every so often, I get the chance to write about a gem of a place. They’re usually tucked away down a side street and can be found with a little perseverance. The Belfry Kitchen in the Eastern Cape is not one of these. While, it’s definitely a gem, it’s even more way out of the way and it’s way worth finding if you take the time.
There are a few strange things about The Belfry Kitchen, the first you’ll notice when walking in is that it’s actually built inside Twee Riviere’s post office. Secondly, it’s rather incredibly decorated in comparison to everything else I experienced in the area. Almost the baby of a French boulangerie and a some sort of home decor catalogue. The open kitchen, shelves of preserves and fireplace make it all the more welcoming. Perhaps best of all was the mix of people inside. Everybody from farmers to academics.
The Belfry Kitchen is actually placed on the campus of The SA Institute for Objects Conservation (don’t worry I didn’t know what it was either, check it out here for more info), and serves almost as a campus canteen. Something else peculiar about The Belfry Kitchen is how affordable everything is! But ridiculously so. From what I could gather, a lot of the produce comes from their own grounds, while their website indicates that they also barter meals to suppliers in exchange for produce. Here’s an excerpt from their website:
The Belfry (pronounced “Belfree”) is meant as a sober, practical answer to the economic times – both present and ahead. In its pursuit of production and joyful labour, the Belfry has undeniably developed a less than common character.
For example, cash is not essential at the Belfry. Barter trades and exchanges (fresh produce etc) are just as welcome. In fact, the Belfry is also a client of its clients, and appreciates co-dependence. Its joyful motto, Earth’s Bounty, also suggests that not everything needs to have a price, every time!
Quiet incredible right?
Then… let’s talk about the scones. We weren’t there for a meal, just a pop in to get out of the rainy weather. I just wanted something quick and tasty. What I got basically blew my brains out. A brown-sugar encrusted wholewheat scone served with farm butter, a fig preserve, mature cheddar cheese and vanilla bean cream. It is safe to say this is the best scone I’ve ever discovered. Also, it cost R10.
I’m just going to let that sink in.
Yes, this little spot is way out of the way, but I actually can’t stress how incredible it really is. It’s beautiful and special and everything being prepared in the kitchen seemed to be served with a side of whimsey. There are also two cottages on the premises that go for a song if you’re looking to stay way out of the way, and I think that it’s going to be in order for me pretty soon.
I mean look at that vanilla cream… look at it! R10!
My visit to The Belfry Kitchen forms part of the 7 Wonders of our World Campaign. As with all my posts, I retain full editorial control.