A Celebration! 10 Years on! With an explosive future ahead…
When I think of Afroboer, I think about the people and the place first.
It is the way owner Michelle Cronjé-Cibulka has embraced her food empire or, as she names it, a baker’s café (including the deli and coffeeBAR), and grown it from its early beginnings.
It’s not a pop-around-the-corner kind of place for most people, you have to get into your car and drive there.
And it’s always busy and buzzing, but fortunately with many nooks and crannies and a spot for everyone. You can sit surrounded by people all doing their own thing or you can slip away somewhere quiet if that’s what you prefer.
We have to start with the people. From the start Michelle had a specific ethos. It’s wasn’t the easy route, but she knew it was the only way for her. She handpicked her staff and trained them to present the personalities they are today.
They know what they’re doing, they do it well and this keeps the place humming. But that starts from the top with a heartbeat that has all the right rhythms.
Everyone will have their favourite spots and I will always think with fondness of a time during covid when they could start serving take-away coffees. I found a special corner in the garden where I could catch my breath and drink my coffee. It kept me sane.
Outside always steals my heart and I suspect it has much to do with the chickens who come out to gaze. They have such mesmerising impact.
The surroundings are exquisite and the atmosphere calming even though there’s a constant stream of people coming and going.
But none of this would matter if the food wasn’t their strongest feature. Everything else is a huge bonus but the menu is what truly makes a place sing.
The name is a big clue. For breakfast I yet have to move past their Eggs Benedict, but my heart also misses a beat just from the descriptions: creamy Plain Baked Whiskey Oats or Plaasbrood French Toast, for example.
Michelle has learnt to bake bread from the best (in Knysna!) and her imagination keeps you intrigued as she is always thinking ahead with plans that reach for the stars – as they did right from the start.
In the winter chill, Ertappel Sop or Lamb-shank and Tomato are equally enticing, but when I glance at the salads, Oh my Goodness Grain and the Rainbow Plant also grab my attention.
You have to be extra hungry for a hearty Pulled Pork Panini or Shredded Lamb on Whole-wheat and if you haven’t yet landed in trouble with their sweet delights, you’re stronger than most.
Stay away from the baker’s café if you don’t want to indulge but make the time to discover your own favourites. It’s also ideal for gifts, beautifully presented, there’s much in the deli which can be collected for friends and family who need a special something.
Afroboer is where I come when I want good food, comfort, and the best place to have a conversation with a friend. Your time can be as long as you want it to last. In today’s fast world, it’s lovely to find that sweet spot where people welcome you to stay as long as you wish and to linger to your heart’s desire.
Do I know and adore Afroboer and Michelle. Of course I do. She easily won me over these past 10 years. She and her place stole my heart because of what she does and how she does it – all of it. And I’m constantly surprised at how she has expanded and grown her vision.
I also know, for her this is but the beginning. There are many plans on the cusp of being implemented and there are ideas still swirling around as they’re being fine tuned for the eventual reveal.
In the meantime, if this is what the first decade has delivered, I can’t wait for the next one!
Congratulations on creating something truly special – to you and the family you have so lovingly created.
By Diane de Beer