According to their website, “The Old Biscuit Mill used to be … a biscuit mill.” Let me explain to our American audience that a biscuit in the King's English, not to be confused with American English, is either a cookie (sweet biscuit) or a cracker (savoury biscuit). Crackers are not to be confused with traditional English Christmas crackers used as part of the British holiday celebration which are also known as bon-bons ... which of course, could be confused with French candy. You can see how confusing things get as we travel around! No matter … back to the Old Biscuit Mill that once made biscuits, but no longer does.
Typical of gentrification projects, old mills are rejuvenated and transformed into trendy office space, boutiques and venues for festivals and events. What started out as a utilitarian 19th century biscuit mill in Woodstock, an industrial suburb of Cape Town, is now home to some fashionable, unique shops, as well as a Saturday morning fresh market.
Many of the old mill's features have been retained and incorporated into the re-design of the space. The building's historical appeal has been maintained while creating an unusual and pleasant ambiance with lots of nooks and crannies and levels to explore.
The shops are quite varied and innovative … from one-off fashions to distinctive pottery to a fantastic digital print shop; from gourmet coffees to oven-baked pizzas and premium wines by the glass.
Interspersed midst the shops and cafes, there are several interesting pieces of kinetic artwork to ponder and courtyard seating areas to enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat or simply to sit and watch the world go by.
The Neighbourgoods Market takes up a good chunk of the Biscuit Mills' real estate on Saturday mornings and draws in the crowds. It features not only fresh produce, but home-baked goods, wooden buckets full of flavorful olives, freshly baked artisan breads, cheeses, fresh flowers, smoked fish and meats, jams, preserves, wines and all manner of tempting delights for take-away or noshing. We sampled and tasted our way through the stalls amongst throngs of people, all quite amiable as we jostled around each other in shoulder-to-shoulder traffic.
Woodstock seems to have lots of places to discover like this, well-known to locals, but a secret to visitors. Now that we have a bit more time in Cape Town, we may have to explore this area a little further.