Knysna is a beautiful place, from the surrounding lonesome beaches to the secret mossy forests with their age-old trees (how does one explain the feeling of being close to an 800 year old tree?). But what would the town itself be without ‘ile de pain’, that bakery come cafe that had me hooked before we even got there…
We stayed on Thesen Island so the hot-spot was just a few hundred metres walk away – and I took that walk just about every day of our week-long stay. If it wasn’t for breakfast then it was for a tea-time pastry treat or for bread to take away with us on some fishing trip.
If you fall in love with the bread and decide that you want to do an apprenticeship there, the good news is that this is possible. But then you could take the easier route and buy master pastry chef and co-owner Markus Farbinger’s ‘bread’ dvd. The film shares several of his artisan bread recipes. Be warned though, these breads are folded three times and can take up to 5 1/2 hours to produce – including mixing, folding, shaping, resting and baking time.
Many people have described what makes ‘ile de pain’ such a popular place so I won’t go into the details of the decor and the food – pop across to Jamie Who and read his restaurant review (and yes, the Como breakfast is fantastic, especially for vegetarians). I just want to say that if you are going to Knysna, don’t miss it!