PLAN B – A WEEK OF PETITE BIRTHDAY PARTIES
Having met my husband when he was teenager, I, a self-confessed planner, have had a while to plan this big birthday. But, as we know, life is what happens when you are too busy planning. In the early years, I always bought his birthday present with my November salary, in case I had nothing left to splurge on his before-payday birthday in Janu-worry. The Big plan was for our Best friends to come from Botswana, but when Borders closed, we needed to resort to some fancy footwork. A quick call to Bushmans Kloof, and suddenly a three-night stay for two couples become a family weekend. After a week of petite parties, the BIG celebration was going to be at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Spa in the Cederberg, and our offspring were thrilled to be crashing the party!
I’ve sampled their supreme hospitality three times – for an anniversary, a winter special and whilst writing a story on Rooibos tea, but every time unveils something new. We arrived early on a Friday morning so that our working-class offspring could have wi-fi from 8h00! It also meant that we could start our weekend with a sumptuous breakfast on the terrace overlooking the water lilies. A morning in the beautifully-appointed spa provided unrivalled relaxation before we met up for lunch. Al fresco, it offered light and substantial dishes, and I chose the delicious chicken cobb salad. We immersed ourselves in the stylish pool in front of our three spacious suites, in 41◦C heat, before and after a two-hour nature drive in which we spotted bird life, zebra and buck. Tea on our patio, shooing the baboons away, saw everyone tucking into Bea’s cheesecake – a recipe bestowed by Bea Tollman, owner of the Red Carnation collection.
BEA’S RECIPES – FOR SHARING
Dinner kicked off with a generous amuse bouche – pear wrapped in prosciutto with caramelised walnuts and blue cheese, piquant and creamy. Bea’s mozzarella bruschetta was a rich mixture of roasted tomato, basil pesto, basil picked out of the kitchen garden and toasted pine nuts – undoubtedly the best bruschetta I’ve ever devoured, and a meal on its own. My main of Asian duck breast on an egg noodle stir-fry with pak choi, roasted stone fruit and sesame seeds was sterling, and my man loved his lamb shank with soft polenta. The younger Mrs H, a vegetarian, raved about her courgette risotto with mange tout, sugar snap peas, feta and topped with wild rocket.
WHAT’S BETTER THAN A BIRTHDAY AT BK? TWO.
Dinner and another yummy Bushmans Kloof breakfast were worked off the next morning with a leisurely hike over the reddened hills to view the legendary rock art, before canoeing in the dam. The club sandwich and the butternut salad got top marks in our lunch rating. We languished at the pool reading, dozing, sated in the happiness of the family being together. When sunset approached, we headed to the gracious Homestead for dinner, but on arrival was told to follow our waitress. We found ourselves in the luscious fruit, vegetable and herb garden, where a table for six had been set under the olive trees. As the sun started to set the lanterns were lit, and we dined like kings. The amuse bouche of a chilli bite, followed by the starter of calamari tempura, started the evening on a delicious note. The meal ended with a birthday cake iced with a personal birthday wish for the two family members.
It’s the little things that make a big, lasting impression. Best I now start planning the next big birthday!
Happy weekend – support a local restaurant, stay safe and healthy!