As we go into summer, one of the best ways to spend some family time is finding an interesting outdoor market or fair. Of course with this balmy weather an indoor market works better and so almost as a ”plan B” we visited the Root 44 Market in Stellenbosch. Situated near the Mooiberg strawberry farm between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, it turned out to be a great outing. To start off with there was ample and secure parking and being the last weekend of the school holidays it was full even though the sky looked ready to pour at any moment, sort of “pregnant with precipitation” if you like. Immediately junior saw something that piqued his interest, a huge kiddies play area and for the rest of the morning we had to hear ” I wanna go to the jungle gym now.”
So after a sprint through the traders area, we finally got to the World of Adventure. For R80 the kids get access to everything for the whole day and R10 for each accompanying minder. Mini golf, ball pen and a snazzy play gym was just the start. And different areas for up to five years and another for older kids. Peddle cars, sand pit, slip n slide and the piece de resistance, the zip line. All this fun is going to make any child hungry not to mention the hovering parent. So it’s a good thing that there are a couple of food stalls in this area to provide some comfort. Milkshakes, waffles, filter coffee and candy floss to name a few and all well placed to get the little ones attention. After all they are in charge. The play area is well staffed at each play section and there is sufficient seating for minders and outdoor tables for that chocoloate and strawberry waffle and coffee. You are also able to book the play area for kiddies parties. You can bring your own cake and party packs but all food must be bought from the market.
Eventually after much negotiating and a toy bribe, we got out of the play area and on to the food area. Immediately the aroma got your stomach growling if you hadn’t reached that point as yet. From around twenty different options, sadly only three were halaal for typical meals. A fish place with no beer in the batter, a Baba Tunisia, a shwarma and Tunisian food stall and an Indian food stall. Then there was a stall that did Turkish delight with no gelatine, The Creamery for ice cream, a freshly squeezed juice stall and the very decadent sweet counter. None of these are certified halaal but I do know that Baba Tunisia is Muslim owned.
I had a fully loaded shwarma which was nice, though the meat was medium to well done. I prefer my meat dead but that’s just me. The sauce, veg and overall flavour was good and very filling. D had calamari and chips and junior had fish nuggets. The calamari was cooked just right and the chips were chunky cut and very acceptable. We shared a fresh juice that looked very pretty but was average at best and junior then opted for a chocolate ice cream with jelly tots which gets mashed together in The Creamery signature style. Of course he had no problems with that. The prices overall were not too bad and the vibe in the place was relaxed and festive. A nice experience on the whole.
There is an outside tented section where there was live music, of the classic variety, Beatles and the like. They served fresh oysters and alcohol was available in this section. For me oysters are best eaten in Knysna and everywhere else is just imitation. As we made our way out, we passed through the design tent which was a little dissapointing. Furniture made from wine barrels and a rather unusual idea of using copper piping in shelves, side tables, and stools was about the only thing that caught my fancy. The last stop was the deli where they have some standard country fair such as pickles, chutneys and the like. In the car before he passed out from exhaustion and the long drive home, junior made me promise that we would come back to the adventure world with his cousins so they can play lots and lots. Turned out to be a great day and well worth the drive out.
The market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am till 4pm come rain or shine.