Picnics at De Meye: Superb Seasonal Summer Baskets
Our ratings went out the window as our uhmms and ahhhs signalled our satisfaction with each passing dish.
Summer, and the holiday season, is upon us. While we might do things a little differently this year, Covid-conscious travel, outings and activities are possible. And nowhere has proved this more than De Meye Wine Estate. (That I know of, anyway).
De Meye is a gorgeous estate, perfect for a summer afternoon in the countryside. I’d been dying to visit the estate and finally on Saturday 5 December 2020, fellow blogger Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust and I ventured to Stellenbosch with our expectations high. And boy, did they blow our expectations out the water.
While they're known for their family (dogs included)- friendly lunches, their latest offering will sweep you off your feet and onto a rustic blanket. In mid-October, they introduced picnic baskets and five picnic spots spread around their vegetable garden. The picnics are delicious, fresh and healthy so in a word, they’re superb.
Picnics at De Meye
There are five shaded picnic spots spaced out around the estate’s vegetable garden. On the day we visited, we were placed under a charming canopy between the artichokes and broad beans. And waiting for us on arrival was a rustic picnic blanket, cushions, a wooden serving board, and a small table with two chairs and cutlery, crockery and glassware at the ready. Looking around, we were able to spot three more picnic spots – two were under the dappled shade of large trees and another in the veggie garden but under a pretty umbrella. We quickly decided that we’d been given the best spot and after capturing the beautiful corner we settled in.
It wasn’t long before our troubles evaporated as we relaxed lulled by the soft chirping of a variety of birds and occasional buzzing of a bee. Every now and again, we could just make out the other picnickers and lunch-guests but never enough to disrupt the tranquillity of what felt like a very secret spot miles away from the crowds when, it was in fact, only meters from everyone else. Walking around the veggie garden, fragrant herbs and other sweet aromas filled the air and just around the corner from us was a lovely lake. Perhaps this is where the last picnic spot is?
Once you’re ready to tuck in, you can collect your woven picnic basket filled with the goodies inside. You can also purchase drinks at the bar from De Meye wines to soft drinks, water (both still and sparkling) and G&Ts. You’ll even be offered an ice bucket for your drinks. (All drinks are sold separately). In your basket, you can expect a small loaf of bread for sharing between two, individual cheese platters with shared pickles and olives, individual mains and shared salads. All the ingredients are fresh, seasonal and locally sourced.
We laid everything out and oo-ed and ah-ed at the colourful spread in front of us. Our squeals of excitement could barely be contained and we were eager to dive in. We started our meal off with the main dish. A delightful smoked chicken on a bed of barley and brown butter sultanas served with homemade curry aioli. (The vegetarian option had oven-roasted carrots instead of chicken). We couldn’t fault the dish and we both scored it a 5 out of 5. It was delicious, hearty and to our surprise, quite filling!
We then moved on to the salads which we enjoyed while munching on half of the sourdough bread. There were three in total and each differed in taste and smell. We started with a peppery and fragrant slaw. While there were too many herbs for our liking we still gave it a 4 out of 5 and, from there, our ratings went out the window as our uhmms and ahhhs signalled our satisfaction with each passing dish. Next, we tucked into the leafy tomato salad served with soft cheese followed by the green bean and pickled red onion salad with a tartar dressing. It was simply divine.
After a short break, we tackled the cheeses, smoked olives, pickled gherkins and preserve. (The standard picnic comes with cold cuts while the vegetarian one comes with extra cheese). Anyone who knows me, knows I love my cheese, especially good cheese. I’m not a cheese-snob but there is such a thing as good cheese and mediocre cheese and the cheese that De Meye served was delicious. We both particularly loved the creaminess of the Dalewood camembert.
We then took a slightly longer break and even walked around - we made sure to stay clear of the other picnickers - to take some photos of their beautiful veggie garden. Before leaving, we made sure to grab our ice creams or in this case, berry sorbet. A refreshing treat to help beat off the summer heat. We’d arrived shortly after noon and left not long after 3pm. Driving away, we both knew this had been the best Winelands picnic – and experience – we’d had so far.
In order to keep visitors and their staff safe, De Meye has implemented a variety of Covid-19 safety measures. On arrival, every guest has to have their temperature checked and their hands sanitised. Extra sanitiser is available in the bathrooms and offered when making payment. Staff have to wear masks and guest are expected to wear masks while walking around the premises and when interacting with the staff. (Guests can remove their masks when seated at their table or picnic spot).
All outdoor tables and picnic spots are spaced at least ten meters apart. Indoor tables, which are used when there is unpleasant weather, are spaced roughly three meters apart. Tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery, glassware and blankets are regularly washed and sanitised before each use. They have also implemented single-use drink menus that are placed on each table. There are no lunch or picnic menus as the menu changes regularly based on what is fresh, seasonal and available.
Their picnics are only available seasonally. Please check their website to see what's currently on offer.
072 696 0530, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bookings are essential (within 24 hours)
Where to find it
De Meye Wine Estate, Muldersvlei Road, Stellenbosch