Every now and then one has to break out of the usual and do something different. In our case we chose to leave our beloved tent behind and treat ourselves to a nice weekend break-away to the Cape winelands in Franschoek. We didn’t choose just any weekend: the first weekend in September marks the date of the annual “Uncorked” festival – a wine festival celebrating the new vintages and releases by the valleys wineries – and of course the beginning of spring. What better way to chase away the dreadful cold, wet and miserable winter days than with a glass (or five) of red or white.

In almost traditional manner, we decided our first evening should begin cuddled up by the fireplace with a bottle of red wine and an extensive choice of cheeses, which we bought on our way at Fairview’s Vineyard Cheesery. Usually before stepping into the cheese haven, we visit the goat’s tower and give the goats a pat on their heads, but this time it was raining buckets so we dashed inside to avoid getting soaked. When you enter the tasting room you are almost overwhelmed by the selection of cheeses – specially with their range of goats cheeses and camemberts. You can hardly ever go wrong with Fairview cheeses.

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For our stay we chose the lovely guest cottages at La Chataigne, which we have frequented a few times with friends and family in the past months and they have never failed to delight us. We have really fallen in love with the place. The winery has 3 cottages in total – two 2-bedroom cottages and a 1-bedroom cottage, the latter we chose for our stay. Set on a farm, hidden somewhere in the vineyards just meters away from the Franschoek river these cottages are a great escape from the bustling city life and a very romantic getaway at a reasonable price. All cottages are beautifully renovated, fully equipped hideaways with en-suite bathrooms, a fireplace for the colder days with enough firewood to keep any man busy for a while and 2 outside decks on either side of the cottages – not forgetting to mention the braai facilities on the back verandah (again making any mans heart miss a beat) and a swimming pool for the sizzling hot summer!

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Although the weather was anything but inviting as a storm was brewing outside that evening (the picture is deceiving – it was taken the next day), we couldn’t have wished for a better start to the weekend. Cozy fire, wine (we had a bottle of La Chataigne’s 2008 Marron), cheese and a good read on a comfy couch was just what the doctor prescribed for the evening before the wine festival.

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Categories: Food, Franschoek, Travel

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