The Waterblommetjie Festival is back this year and promises to be a celebration of all things inspired by this local delicacy. Join hosts Domaine Brahms, Rhebokskloof Wine Estate and Windmeul Kelder on Saturday 3 September for a day of waterblommetjies, wine and family fun. For fantastic food and wine combined with live music and kids entertainment, the Waterblommetjie Festival in Paarl is definitely the place to be.
Waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyos) are indigenous to the Western Cape and were introduced to the early settlers as food and medicine by the local KhoiKhoi tribes. It is only available for a short period during winter and has traditionally been used in wholesome dishes like waterblommetjiebredie – a stew made with lamb or mutton. During the festival, waterblommetjies are served with a modern twist and appear on pizza, infused in drinks and even ice cream and paired with award-winning wines from the Paarl region.
The three venues are conveniently located within a 5km radius and can easily be fitted into the one day festival schedule. Instead of paying an entrance fee, festival goers are requested to make a donation of canned foods for a local charity – Athlone House of Strength, a shelter for abused women and children in Paarl. There are drop-off points at each venue.
Domaine Brahms offers buffet breakfasts and lunches at their quaint Toeka Stoor, which stocks antiques and other collectables. A variety of waterblommetjie dishes and fresh waterblommetjies will be available. Selected wines will be offered at special festival prices. Visit the farmers market for fresh local produce, take a tractor ride or feed the farm animals. Live music will create a festive vibe and the talented face painting artists are ready to get visitors of all ages in a festive mood. An outdoor play area with jumping castles will keep the kids entertained.
With its sprawling lawns next to a tranquil dam, Rhebokskloof has plenty of space for the whole family. Local band Tequila will provide live music. Although the restaurant will be closed, there is a dedicated bar and food area where visitors can try the traditional stew or waterblommetjie infused dishes including pizza and delicious ice cream. Chicken nuggets and fries will be available for the children. A jumping castle, slippery slide and dedicated play areas will delight the little ones.
The Waterblommetjie Festival originated at Windmeul Kelder and they are still honouring tradition with a fiercely contested waterblommetjie potjiekos competition. Teams can enter the competition at email@example.com and the potjies (three legged cast iron pots) vary from authentic to innovative.
Windmeul’s monthly farmers’ market will sell seasonal products and a sumptuous farmers’ breakfast is served while stocks last. Visit the tasting room to stock up your cellar at discount prices. Running enthusiasts can start off their morning with the Run the Vines trail run with routes of 5km, 10km or 17km. Enter at www.runthevines.co.za/. Ruan Theron and Wynand Windpomp will provide live music and a kiddies area with jumping castle is open for young visitors.
Visit www.waterblommetjiefees.com for more information. And follow @waterblommetjiefees on Instagram or @waterblomfees on Facebook for updates.
Waterblommetjie recipe (Serves 4)
Important: Soak your Waterblommetjies in salt water over night. Rinse thoroughly thereafter.
600g Lamb Rib
500g Baby Potatoes
200g Onion, sliced
500g Waterblommetjies with stems cut off and into smaller pieces
1 tsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Juice from ½ a Lemon
Cloves (to taste)
2 Cups Rice
In a pot on the stove or braai, add your olive oil. Once heated add your sliced onion until cooked. Remove the onion from pot into separate bowl.
Add the meat into the same pot and cook until lightly browned. Season with salt & pepper while cooking.
Add your water to the meat and place the cooked onions on top of the meat. This has to simmer over a medium heat for about an hour with minimal stirring. Try not to stir at all.
Add you Waterblommetjies and simmer for a half an hour. Add more salt and pepper to your pot.
Lastly add your baby potatoes. Cook for another half an hour.
Gently stir your pot and add more seasoning if needed. Add a dash of lemon juice and stir again. There after add your cloves.
Simmer your pot for a last half an hour.
Enjoy on a bed of rice and a slice of lemon.