I first tasted rose jam as child when my mother bought a jar at an obscure little road stall on holiday at the coast. The taste of rose petal jelly spread on hot toast started my life-long obsession with trying to procure the delicious stuff again.
At the end of my varsity years my mom told me about a place where I could find rose jam: Ludwig’s rose farm was just a short drive outside Pretoria. It just so happened that I was living in Pretoria at the time. Knowing that I desperately wanted to visit the farm, my then boyfriend now husband, took me there as a surprise.
As the circle of life goes, the rose bush that he had bought that day died this winter, and when I saw that there was a Spring Festival at Ludwig’s I knew it was time for us to go again.
The annual Spring Festival
Admittedly, we visited the farm on the second weekend of the festival that spanned two weekends. As the festival was done in collaboration with JC le Roux there was sparkling wine tastings, and lovely bubbly for sale. The sparkling wine tasting we did was fantastic, and I feel that paying R75 for five different champagnes and their paired treats was more than fair.
The rest of the ‘festival’ I felt lacked some oomph. There were some lovely displays to inspire brides to be, and a small selection of some gourmet foods. I’m assuming that there was more going on at the opening of the festival the weekend before. If you have kids, or you prefer a quieter environment, then the second weekend is for you. If you want more fire in your festival, I’m assuming the opening weekend would be more on point. As this is an annual celebration keep an eye out for it next year.
A day spent at the farm is always good, festival and champagne pairings or not. Aside from the roses for sale, there is the beautiful “rose mile” that you can drive through with your car. Or you can hitch a ride on the tractor that circles the route every 20 minutes or so.
There is also the on premises coffee shop “Spiced Coffee” that has a variety of rose-inspired menu items, as well as the usual light lunches. There are also adult drinks inspired by the flower for the afternoon. Or the morning, depending on how you roll. As this is a rose farm after all, you can of course buy any rose you can think of, a lot you can’t think of, as well as what you need to take care of them. There are pots and fertilizers in the shop and everything from rose jam, to essential rose oils to special body wash.
What to remember
If you are planning a trip out to to the rose farm, plan to spend about three hours there. And if you have kiddies, there is a play area complete with umbrellas for the parents and jungle gyms for the little ones. You will be spending time outside, so remember those outdoorsy essentials like sunscreen, a hat and a pair of sunglasses. And if your sinuses are anything like mine, pop an antihistamine for the pollen and the dust. As with any garden-y venue, going in the spring or summer is always pretty as many of the rose shrubs, trees and climbers will be in bloom. If you find yourself having an inkling for a rose-martini on a warm winter afternoon there is no need to despair as there are still beautiful views and flowering buds in the winter months.
Do you have any favourite rose products or a specific rose that you love? Let us know in the comments!