Experience Stellenbosch's heritage on foot with Bites & Sites tours
They say you can learn a lot about a culture from the food they eat. Hanli Fourie, founder of Bites and Sites tours believes just that and takes great pleasure in sharing the special foodie gems, coupled with historic sites on her Stellenbosch experience. We interviewed her for #Heritagemonth to find out more about this special local offering and what keeps inspiring her to support local artisans.
When did you start Bites and Sites tours and why?
I’ve always been fascinated by the way in which food gives expression to culture. Bites and Sites Food Tours was started in 2010 when I noticed that visitors to Stellenbosch had no idea how or where to access the traditional Cape food and drinks. Furthermore, the town has such cultural diversity and a vibrant history – it had to be celebrated!
How has the tour grown since then and why do you think that is?
Stellenbosch has always been a town of innovation. This is also visible in the rapid growth of our artisan food scene. On our walking tours, we’d notice passionate entrepreneurs opening up shop in town and this led to the birth of our Foodies on Foot walking tour, where we get to support them and collaborate with them.
Who are some of the locals you love to work with?
There are quite a few, but Eikeboom Butchery has been our tour partner since the very beginning. It’s the oldest butchery in town and is family-run – top quality meat products. An exciting new partner, is Blue Crane Coffee Company in Dorp street. The adventurous barista, Charles (a trained chef) spends hours experimenting in the coffee laboratory and you can taste the dedication and love in each sip of their coffee.
Why is working with local artisans important to you?
When people love what they do, their passion is contagious. Local artisans use the best products they can get hold of, they help create jobs and are true ambassadors of our amazing nation. They deserve all the support we can give them.
What are some of the international tourists’ favorite things to experience/what keeps them coming back?
Visitors often comment on the warm welcome they experience in town. They are delighted by the excellent value-for-money and quality of our food and beverages, the relaxed atmosphere at the side-walk cafés, the small boutiques with beautiful, locally manufactured items. They are impressed by how clean Stellenbosch is. And of course, the mountainous landscape is breath-taking.
What are some of the local tourists’ favorite things and what keeps them coming back?
South African tourists especially love the fact that you can stroll around the charming town centre safely, spoilt for choice with lively wine / craft beer bars, eateries and shops. They can’t seem to resist the local clothes boutiques, art galleries, chocolatiers, and coffee roasteries …
What is it about our food culture that you feel expresses the heritage of Stellenbosch so well?
Stellenbosch was founded in 1679 for the express purpose of producing crops (so, food and wine!). That is where the town’s identity and roots lie. It has, of course, expanded to include influences from our varies communities, which local chefs love to explore.
What are you looking forward to over the coming summer for Bites and Sites tours?
Our small team is gradually expanding, which means we can share our amazing town with more guests. We are also awaiting the unveiling of some sensational new foodie spots along our route. This historic town is anything but sleepy.
This is one of our favorite experiences in Stellenbosch and a truly great way to get to know the city of oaks, all the delicious foodie stops certainly don't hurt either. if you'd like to book one of Hanli's tours follow the link here.