The little Valley of Franschhoek is only a 45 minute drive away from the buzzing city of Cape Town and just the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Take a break, reboot your system, enjoy nature and spoil yourself to the best wines and other delicacies the area has to offer.
Close your laptop and leave your office a bit earlier…you wouldn’t work on a Friday afternoon anyway!
Stock up at Dalewood Cheese Farm
What goes best with wine? Cheese of course!! Which is why your first stop should be Dalewood Cheese Farm, to stock up on some cheese for the weekend. Their small Rustic Cheesery Shop offers everything your cheese loving heart longs for. Cheeses you should try and buy immediately:
- The Lanquedoc, a smooth, supple and wonderful creamy round artisanal dream with a washed rind
- The Wineland Brie with Crushed Olives, the olives are just a thin layer in the middle to complete the delicate taste
- The Boland, a semi-soft cheese with a hard rind. It is made in the style of a Port Salut, which was originally produced by French Trappist monks in the mid 1800′s.Very new and very limited, you will miss something if you do not taste it!
And of course the Wineland Camembert – it is as traditional as it is delicious!
And there is a lot more to taste and buy!
You’ll need bread for your cheese, right? Quickly pop in to Babylonstoren. For 10 Rand p.p. you can visit South Africa’s most impressive vegetable garden with over 300 varieties of plants on 3.2 hectare. Have a light lunch and tea at the beautiful greenhouse and buy one (or two) of the delicious breads in the small rustic farm shop (the 100% rye-bread is fabulous!)
http://www.babylonstoren.com | +27 (0)21 863 3852 | Klapmuts Simondium Road | Franschhoek 7670
Pick up the keys to your cottage and indulge in a first wine tasting at La Chataigne
One of our favorite wine farms, which also houses our favourite cottages to stay for the weekend. La Chataigne is a small farm situated just about 5 km’s before Franschhoek village. You are sure to get a very warm welcome by the hosts or one of their big dogs (don’t worry, they are very friendly!!). Their wines are delicious (the 2012 Semillion goes perfectly well with the cheese you just bought (and anything else really!!)…but you need to hurry up – it is a limited edition of only 1088 bottles!!!) and the front of every bottle is personally hand signed by the winemaker himself!
The cottages are simply amazing. You enter the premise through a big gate, follow down a little path passing a variety vines and orchards, until you reach one of the three little cottages right by the river. Self-catering, one two-sleeper and two four-sleepers, fireplace inside, well equipped kitchen, extremely cozy beds, big bathroom(s), patio in the front and one in the back with a big braai area, huge pool behind the pear trees and a whole lot of peace and quiet!
IN CASE OF AMNESIA
Be prepared when you go away for a weekend and stay at a self-catering place! There is nothing worse than realising, you forgot the milk for the coffee in the morning because you ran out of your office, headless in excitement of the oncoming weekend. But don’t worry, there is a well-assorted Pick’n'Pay when you enter Franschhoek.
BASIC NEEDS: WINE
That’s what you are here for…wine, wine and wine! The Franschhoek valley is one long alley lined with wine farms. Actually you can go anywhere! They are all good…it is after all just a question of taste! But to make it a bit easier for you – it really is a tough choice – here are our must do’s:
Bubbles with a view at Haute Cabrière
Haute Cabrière, the last wine farm before ascending the scenic Franschhoek pass, offers a magnificent view over the valley while you indulge in their wines. Which wine you should try? Bubbles, red, white….just all of them, actually!
Hungry? No problem, their Cellar Restaurant offers high cuisine, creating the “true marriage of food and wine”. (The 6-course vegetarian tasting menu for R395 is magical!)
La Cataigne is one of the smaller wine farms in the area, nonetheless their wines are superb. The tastings are very informal and personal and the hand signed bottels will do quite well on your wine rack.
Wine Tasting with style at Anthonij Rupert
First of all…it is huge! They have two tasting rooms. The first one is a modern building right next to the gate. The second one is in an old Victorian mansion at the end of a beautiful alley. Having a tasting in there feels more like having an audience with the Queen of England, noble leather couches, golden chandeliers and long dining tables create a majestic atmosphere. If you like Bordeaux-style wines, go and try the Rupert and Rothschild wines.
Strolling around at La Motte
You can almost spend the entire day at La Motte, as they offer almost anything your heart desires. A huge, classy tasting room with leather couches next to the wine cellar with all the wooden barrels, the Pierneef à la Motte restaurant with a beautiful outside area under huge oak trees, a little farm stall and their own art museum with a good selection of contemporary South African artist and many works of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef himself.
Spot the Leopard at Leopards Leap
Nice modern venue with a good value for your money. Eat, drink and buy beautiful kitchen accessories in their shop! (You should definitely try their Culinaria Muscat de Frontignan…very easy drinking and not that sweet)
IS YOUR STOMACHE GROWLING?
Franschhoek is the Mecca of great food. Some of the finest South African restaurants are based in this beautiful valley. Here is just a tiny selection of places to grab a bite if you’re not out on a splurge:
Have a snack at Bread&Wine Moreson
Hidden behind some lemon plantations you’ll find the beautiful venue of Moreson (morning sun). The food prepared by Neil Jewel and his team at Bread & Wine is absolutely mouthwatering. For those of you who only want a quick bite, you can share one of their fantastic pizzas served at The Farm Grocer, next to the restaurant. (Also, you shouldn’t miss their annual “Blessing of the Harvest”. Check out out our blog post about it: The Blessing Of The Harvest)
Stock up with bread and resurrect with a coffee at Sacred Grounds Bakery!
Sacred Ground Bakers offers a wide variety of freshly baked breads, cheeses, sandwiches and beverages. Recover in the sun with a coffee from all the “exhausting wine tasting”
Food with a view at Dieu Donne
The ROCA restaurant at Dieu Donne really rocks! Mezze, tapas, antipasti, meat, pizza, pasta…. everything you heart desires. Great selection, overly tasty and a mind-blowing view over the whole valley
Of course…there are thousands of other things you can do. Stroll through the pictoresque village of Franschhoek, visit some of the art galleries, explore the Village Market (every Saturday from 9am to 2pm), go shopping, drive up the Franschhoek Pass to get an ever more stunning view of the valley or take the Wine Tram.
You are not interested in cars, but you love looking at beautiful things or you love cars without the “but”, then go visit the Franschhoek Motor Museum. Four old Victorian barns housing about 80 of the most gorgeous cars from the last century, beginning with the famous Model T Ford up to the McLaren F1. The 60 R entrance fee is absolutely worth it, for saving a huge part of our history.
and don’t miss the Uncorked Festival