Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Exploring Franschhoek, South Africa’s Food and Wine Capital
Continuing the saga of our wine and safari expedition to South Africa…
Our first stay in South Africa was in Cape Town. After three days there we were off once again, this time to the Cape Winelands, specifically Franschhoek. It was an easy drive in our rental car as the metro area disappeared and vineyards and mountains filled the vista.
Before checking into our accommodations, we headed to the Huguenot Memorial. The memorial symbolizes freedom of religion. The central figure is a woman holding a Bible in one hand and a broken chain in the other. Its setting against the panoramic mountains is just perfect.
The grounds were idyllic, with a pool, fountains, gardens and their symbol of hospitality, baskets of lemons. Each evening the turndown service included putting hot water bottle bed warmers under the covers. What a nice surprise.
One evening as a respite from our fine dining adventure we took a short walk (although Green Dragon felt it was very long!) to the Stall, a small café near our lodging. We ordered a brick oven pizza and beer – which was a nice way to hit the reset button after a day of wine tasting.
Our last evening at Franschhoek Country House we dined in their acclaimed Monneaux restaurant. We went for their five-course tasting menu paired with five wines. Each course was a visual treat as well as scrumptious. We finished with a late harvest Rickety Bridge Natural Sweet Chenin Blanc to pair with our dessert. Smashing!
There are no less than 36 wineries in and around Franschhoek and many are world-class wineries with spectacular wine, grand architecture, exceptional artwork, scenic views and well-trained staff. The village itself is filled with quaint cafes and interesting shops and is a great location for strolling.
During our visit to Franschhoek, we visited seven wineries: La Petite Ferme, La Bri, Grand Province, Boschendal, La Motte, Moreson and Chamonix. In coming days we’ll provide winery reports on each.