We Went to Darling to meet The Marmalade Cat
Marmalade is a ginger cat who lives in a quaint little town called Darling, about 1 hour away from Cape Town City Center. It is also the name of a cute restaurant in this town. Darling is famous for being in the Cape Flower Route: during spring (September - December), the West Coast fills herself with millions of wild flowers, which you can go see all along the West Coast.
Since I'm a cat lady obviously I wanted to see with my own eyes this famous cat. We arrived at Darling in time for lunch. It wasn't difficult to find the place as it is on the main road, just in front of the petrol station. We enter the place and everybody said "good morning" from the people working there to the customers! I was so surprised. Courtesy has become a rarity these days. Immediately, I asked about the "cat", and I was informed that she was partying until 2 am, so probably was taking a nap somewhere :D Not too long after that, we found out that she was basking in the winter sun. She is so friendly! She let me pet her and even carry her. So adorable and soft! She is clearly used to people.
Once I was satisfied that I met the celebrity cat, I started paying attention to the place, which is full of details and made me feel like I was at someone's house, not in a business place, so cosy. They even have a fireplace, which is perfect since we have winter starting by this time of the year.
I was in the mood for traditional food. I am grateful that my husband is proud of his heritage because he has taught me so much about South Africa. He recommended me to have the Bobotie and he had a lamb shank. Lamb is something I only tried for the first time when I came to South Africa. The first time was a hamburger at a technology meeting we went for work; it didn't actually taste much different than a beef hamburger. The second time was dreadful: it was a lamb shank (like the one my husband asked for) but it was made from lamb fed with a different kind of grass. It literally tasted like soil. After that, I stayed away from lamb and decided that maybe I wasn't a lamb person. But then I met my husband and started eating them grilled on a barbeque, so I finally learnt how to eat lamb!
Let's talk about the bobotie: the first time I tried was years ago when I was working at an office and every Friday a nice lady would bring food for the whole office. The bobotie is spiced mince with a topping made out of eggs, milk and bread; serve over basmati rice, which is another thing I only knew while in South Africa: it is an aromatic Indian rice and it is simply delicious!
It's a very good looking dish, serve with sides of chutney, bananas and tomatoes. To me it is a bit strange to mix sweet and salty stuff, like I've seen South Africans like to do it, but I wasn't disappointed. The chutney is a novelty for me as well: it is a sauce made with sugar and fruits.
Besides the wonderful food, the scenery on the way to Darling is breathtaking. It is a very green area and all the way up there is full of trees, farms and animals, we saw ostriches and if you are lucky you might be able to see zebras!