Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Old Biscuit Mill Neighbourgoods Market

While on a recent trip to visit my daughter in Cape Town, my wife insisted that we needed to visit The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. “It’s for old hippies who have now become organic crusaders” said my daughter, “but if we go we have to be there early”.
And she was right. We got there shortly after The Neighbourgoods Market opened for trading and it was already buzzing with stallholders and customers alike. My wife and I stood like deer caught in car headlights as the masses ebbed and flowed past us. (My daughter has been in living in Cape Town for awhile and she seemed to fit right into the swirling, if somewhat laid back, throng)
A taste here, a purchase there, and we were caught up in the somewhat controlled madness that is this wonderful, energetic and vibey space.
On offer were mushroom kebabs, REAL chocolate and a variety of bread, cheeses, preserves, confectioneries and fresh produce. I have to admit that not all of our food purchases survived and several were eaten while we scoured the stalls for more! The home made lemonade was particularly refreshing on a hot summers day.
For the “lazy” cook, there are plenty of ready-to-eat meals to choose from - Oriental, Mediterranean or vegetarian.
Aside from the food, the shops in the complex are also open for trading. These “brick and mortar” stores include potters, framers and antique dealers. Unfortunately for us, but fortunate for our credit cards, most of what we liked was decoration and not for sale!
There was also a tent of clothing and shoes had had both of the women in my life reaching for wallets almost simultaneously.
I wandered off and discovered Melvin Mabaka who is a wire and paper artist of note.
He had a display of animal “heads” that were magnificent and extremely life-like. As we were flying home, I could only buy a small Springbok sculpture, but next time we drive down I will certainly bring home more of his larger products.
Situated in Woodstock, halfway between the Atlantic Sea Board and the Southern Suburbs, this iconic landmark has become a proud addition to the various destinations for both locals and “out-of-towners”.
We returned on Sunday to visit the Vintage market. The diverse range of vintage products on offer gave us a whole new shopping experience. Katie Thompson of ‘REcreate’ ( www.recreate.za.net) Her company seems to be able to convert almost anything into something new. Suitcase become chairs, a step ladder morphs into a bookshelf and floor polisher is rejuvenated as a lamp. Katie has also found a new use for the ubiquitous printer’s tray that we all have lying in a cupboard at home.
This is a true vintage market where the traders sell products they have sourced, refurbished, preserved or hand crafted. If its authentic and individual products you are looking for you will find it at this market
I even bought a quirky desk top water feature that consisted of rusted tin and 6kg of slate that I was able to fit into my suitcase for the flight back to Johannesburg!
As a regular visitor to the somewhat jaded Johannesburg markets, this one is the best I have visited in a long while.
The market ascribes to the “theatre in retail” premise it’s this quirky concept that has turned this market into a “must visit” destination for locals and visitors alike.

Contact details:
Entrance: FREE
Saturday: 9am-2pm
Sunday 10am – 3pm
375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town,
Email: info@theoldbiscuitmill.co.za
Website: www.theoldbiscuitmill.co.za

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