The Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. Ask any Capetonian what they are doing on a Saturday morning and you would get the same answer. Most of them will head to this famous market, running for over 10 years. On one of my first days in South Africa, I spent the morning at the Neighbourgood’s Market in Johannesburg. I had a wonderful time and decided to see if Cape Town would be any better.
The Old Biscuit Mill is a large outdoor and indoor warehouse complex that was once used as a factory. Since, it has become home to many studios, workshops, restaurants, boutiques and events. Every Saturday from 9 a.m to 3 p.m, the space floods with locals and tourists. Music, food, drink, art, fashion and design are all at the forefront of this weekly event. The variety of entertainment is huge, and there is something for everyone.
As you pass through the entrance gate, you’ll notice the crowds gathering around the music. I notice a free juice bar and start with a refreshing ginger and lemongrass kombucha (on tap). A farmer’s stall marks the beginning of the food area, where the mushrooms are larger than my hands and the zucchini is the size of my arm. An assortment of pickled fruits and vegetables, spices and grains were all for sale.
The Food Stands
Having come with an appetite, my interest was in the prepared foods so I made the first round to see what the options were. My eyes feasted as I scanned all the choices, stand after stand. The list is endless: from fresh juices, pastries, crepes, sushi wraps and poke bowls. To ceviche, burgers, dim sum, falafel, pizza, avocado toast, spaghetti, and curry. I finally side with some Indian chilli bites and a wrap made from nori-leaf filled with mushrooms, cashew sauce and more vegetables. I wash this down with a grapefruit jasmine iced tea. After, I indulge in chocolate and hot sauce tastings. I was definitely more than satisfied…
The music evolved with the crowd, and as I found myself closer, I realized the musician was playing the didgeridoo with a digital beat. Fully recharged I made my way to the many stalls where local designers sell their products. Clothing, jewellery, accessories, houseware and more. Inspiration was not lacking!
Walking further through to the back of the Old Biscuit Mill which is also open during the week, I came across the Open Wine shop. Magna Carta and Maanschijn wineries were present and eagerly shared their products, explaining their process and stories held inside each bottle. As an avid wine lover who recently worked 3 weeks in a winefarm in Wellington, I had plenty to chat with the charming winemakers as we sipped their creations.
By 3 o’clock stands were being cleared away, though the crowd continued to enjoy the sunny day and vibrant energy created by the market. I reluctantly left as I had to go meet friends, delightfully pleased by my morning and early afternoon, already looking forward to the next market!