Ficksburg is home to the annual cherry festival. Picture: Karen Sandison
Ficksburg is home to the annual cherry festival. Picture: Karen Sandison

#TourismForAll: 10 Free State food trends you must try

By Marchelle Abrahams Time of article published Sep 6, 2016

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Bloemfontein - The Free State, the land of braaivleis and rugby. Well, that’s what the rest of the country thinks of this not-so-little province tucked between its bigger sisters, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape.

But there’s so much more to the Free State than koeksisters and mielies.

The province is a culinary hotspot of flavours just waiting to be discovered. Towns like Clarens, Ficksburg and Parys are good places to experience the best the Free State has to offer.

Here’s a list of food trends in the Free State on the up and up.


The best burgers in town

The town of Clarens has become a foodie destination of late. 278 on Main does the best version of a minced lamb or chicken burger. The side portion of crisps aren’t too bad either.


Karoo steak

Juicy, organic steaks are a must when visiting ‘Paris by the Vaal River’. Because of its location, Parys gets the best local produce when it comes to beef, lamb and wild game.


Say cheese!

Ficksburg is home to some of the country’s best organic cheese. Its famous cherry festival is also an excuse to show off the rest of its culinary skills.




A photo posted by Yattish (@yattishr) on Jun 12, 2014 at 9:29am PDT


Degustation what?

For those who don’t know, degustation is a culinary term meaning careful, appreciative tasting of various foods and focusing on the gustatory system. (source: wikipedia). So, where’s the place to experience a degustation menu? Word has it that Bloemfontein’s One on Park offers a seven-course degustation menu, complete with a silver service and swoony French music.


Artisinal chocolate

If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t miss Khaya iBhubesi in Parys. Their chocolate truffles simply melt in the mouth.


Going Moroccan

A Moroccan-themed restaurant in the heart of Bloem? You bet. Seven on Kellner is known for their fabulous food and laidback ambience.




A photo posted by Zuleka Adam (@adamzuleka) on Nov 22, 2015 at 10:57am PST


Punch drunk

Clarens Brewery has made quite the name for itself in recent years. Their baby-pink cherry cider is a must when visiting.


Hearty meals

You can’t visit the Free State without sampling its traditional Boere kos. Clementine’s is the most popular dining spot in Clarens. They specialise in good old hearty South African dishes.



The Philippolis Witblits Festival, held every April, gives visitors a taste of the Free State’s proud traditions. Here you can sample witblitz - the province’s version of monshine.


A photo posted by Lauren-Clair (@laurenclair87) on Sep 3, 2016 at 6:45am PDT


My cherry

If it’s made from cherries, then Constantia Cherry Farmstall in Ficksburg has it. From cherry liqueur to cherry smoothies, you’ll find it here. They also offer a Sunday buffet and a cherry tasting tour.


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