Local, Travel

Druk My Niet Stud: where agriculture meets epicure

Georgia East
A mere 80 minutes' drive from Cape Town – hours that are something of a treat as springtime's golden fields of canola roll by – you reach a working farm that offers utter relaxation without compromising on quality. Druk My Niet Stud in Tulbagh is the perfect getaway for a group of friends looking to take time out in the countryside. Set on a working stud farm and partner to the Druk My Niet wine estate in Paarl, the guesthouse's remote setting and pastoral surrounds create the ideal atmosphere for a relaxed weekend away. The sprawling farmhouse sleeps eight comfortably, and an adjoining cottage means that Druk My Niet Stud is able to accommodate 10 guests in total – making the farm an excellent choice for a birthday weekend or small celebration. Run by partners Peter Rose and Arthur Malan-Murison, Druk My Niet Stud caters to lovers of art and the outdoors alike. Both have avid interests in horses and interior design, and along with their three charming dogs – German Pointers Odin and Otto, and rescue pup Ollie – Peter and Arthur make wonderful hosts. We were plied with Druk My Niet's excellent range of wines and introduced to the outdoor entertainment area (complete with pizza oven) and the many rooms of the capacious guesthouse. The house itself takes inspiration from tradition with screed floors, roughly plastered walls and a corrugated-iron afdak roof. That being said, it has been furnished in a way that brings together classic and contemporary pieces in a space that is more modern pastoral than French Provincial. Zebra and Nguni cowhide rugs are paired with masculine leather armchairs and Mid-Century Modern side tables. Industrial pendant lights hang from exposed steel rafters and the walls, painted either a smoky charcoal or acid chartreuse, are adorned with horse-related art. Enticingly weighty books are set upon every surface, and a snooker table, darts board and retro bar lend an entertaining 'old boys' club' atmosphere to the house. Three double bedrooms are sumptuously furnished, with the largest containing an ample fireplace and open-plan bathroom – all done in the same attractive African farm-meets-New York loft style. The true heart of the home is the kitchen – expansive yet warm, it encourages the cooking of leisurely feasts with its stainless-steel gas hob, selection of pots and pans suspended over the centre island and large wood-burning fireplace. Abundantly equipped with cooking aids, spices and serving platters, the kitchen is built for entertaining – second perhaps only to the spacious veranda, where guests can sit in the evening, watching the dying sun turn the tops of the distant mountains a dusky pink. The fact that Druk My Niet also happens to be pet-friendly is another attraction – my pugs spent the weekend romping through the indigenous garden and getting better acquainted with the farm's own dogs. While the house itself may the primary drawcard, it is impossible to forget that it is situated on a working farm. Surrounded by paddocks, stables, a foaling shed and a chicken coop, Druk My Niet is home to many a prize racing stallion and brood mare. There is also a gaggle of geese (new parents at the time of my visit, so we made sure to give them a wide berth) as well as chickens, pot-bellied pigs and a herd of nanny goats – the latter produce the milk that allows Druk My Niet to create their fine artisanal cheeses. Cheese maker Annie Christensen creates cheese for the brand on a freelance basis and her talent and care for the process is evident in each cheese that is produced in the farm’s small factory. Using both the milk from the goats as well as milk from a herd of nearby Jersey cows, each step of the process is an ethical one, with Annie using only unpasteurised milk that has been acquired naturally. This technique makes for a richer cheese with a full-bodied flavour – perfection when paired with a selection of Druk My Niet’s award-winning wines. Whether you want to awaken at dawn to the call of the many resident guinea fowl and savour a pot of coffee brewed on the kitchen fire, or spend the entire day sunning yourself on the veranda, the environment that has been created by Druk My Niet Stud is one that offers recreation in the form of relaxation – good food, beautiful views and a memorable time with friends. For more details or to make a booking, contact Peter Rose at infodmnstud@gmail.com or 082 9553107.