Hartford holiday spectacular!
School holidays at last. A lot has happened in the past week so I am going to divide my time in KZN into 3 separate blog posts – like the movies Back to the Future 1, 2 and 3. The first blog will deal with my time at Hartford House in Mooi River. The second will be about Skabenga the cat’s birthday party at the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga. The third entry will be Durban’s Suncoast Hotel, my beloved beach and the trip home via Jackie Cameron’s Chef School.
So, part 1 begins here. My mum and I got into the car to drive to Kwa Zulu Natal. I felt ‘we are off!’. We drove about 5 minutes and then suddenly we weren’t off at all because my mum forgot her computer so we had to go back and get it. Then we were off for a second time and this time it was for real. We stopped for our traditional bacon sandwich at Steers on the highway outside Heidelberg. I love that first bacon sandwich on a road trip.
It is not just because the sandwich tastes nice (which it does) but because in that sandwich I am remembering how much fun I have had in previous holidays and I am looking into the future of how much fun I will have on this one. On our way we stopped for some service station trampoline jumping at Harrismith.
We saw snow on the mountains. I long to play in snow but it is always too far away. One day. One day I will get some snow to play in.
It took us 5 hours and 18 minutes to get to Hartford House. It is just outside a town called Mooi River and it is in the KZN Midlands. As I arrived I thought this is true bliss. So beautiful. All the paths to get there were lined with flowering cherry and apple trees.
Our room was like a little cottage but so grand. TV, big baths, chandeliers, great biscuits. I sat on the sofa, ate a packet of Pringles and watched Despicable Me.
Then we went to visit the horses. Hartford is on a stud farm for super valuable race horses. One of them is apparently worth 30 million Rand! Two foals had been born the night before. They were so cute. Really calm but so little. Even though they were only a few hours old they were running about.
We had dinner in the garden café. It’s sort of in the middle of a lake and there are pathways to get to it.
We had a 6-course tasting menu. It was my first tasting menu. I have been to Hartford House before but I have always had just my beloved pasta with lemon but this time I thought let me try it the way they mean you to experience dinner at Hartford.
I was quite excited. I thought it would be a very full evening. And I was right. Six courses is a lot of courses! There was so much that I won’t describe it all but I loved the breads and the trout which was served with beetroot and sweet-sour rhubarb and fish eggs that went pop in your mouth.
I really, really liked the lemony soup. Delicious. it worked perfectly right against my lemon loving palate. It had parsley, peas and tiny lentils in it.
Then it was beef with amasi sour milk curds and sweet breads which was very good too. I liked that they had strained the amasi so it was nice and thick – sometimes it comes more runny and I don’t like that as much. The beef was tough but in a good and tasty way so all the flavours were packed in each bite. There were apple blossoms from the garden on the plate too. It was explained to me that sweet bread was a gland but I didn’t fuss and I thought here is a great experience to try something new. I don’t like it when children are so fussy about things they haven’t even tried.
So, I tried and I thought it was quite pleasant. The dessert was a hibiscus sorbet with an Earl Grey jelly I liked how wobbly the jelly was compared to just store-bought jelly.
Then we went back to our little cottage. It was only a very short walk but we were so glad we had brought the car because our bellies were so full. There were electric blankets and the cleaning ladies had turned them on while we were at dinner so it was like paradise. Day one done and dusted. Delicious.
The next day we had breakfast – big fat farm sausages and boiled eggs done to perfection (ppsss!!! The secret is to hard boil the eggs. I know some other people like them soft but I really, really don’t).
Then we left Hartford to go on to the next part of our journey. We had to stop at Pep Stores in Mooi River to get me some black smart shoes to wear because we were on our way to a posh party and somehow, we had left my shoes at home, UUHHH OH my mistake!
See you soon for the next installment of my KZN trip…