One can commend Franschhoek Wine Valley tourism for constantly finding new ways to attract visitors to its gourmet food and wine village. Now it has launched the Franschhoek Artisan Food Route, attracting attention to the diversity of 21 hand-made high quality small quantity food producers in the valley, with more to be added.

The little A5 Franschhoek Wine Valley leaflet about the Franschhoek Artisan Food Route does not do justice to the quality of the food artisans on the Route, and one wonders why they skimped to keep the map so small, when the Wine and Restaurant map is A3 in size!  The result is that the detail provided is minimal, just three lines per food artisan, with the exception of La Motte’s entry.  The Franschhoek Artisan Food Route will be launched to the media later this week.  Many of the food artisans on the Route have operated in the valley for years.  Not all the listed artisanal outlets seem true to the definition provided in the Route map: ‘Artisan producers understand and respect the raw materials with which they work. They know where these materials come from and what is particularly good about them’! A number of artisanal producers have been left off the list, some by error we were told, and others because they have not joined as members of Franschhoek Wine Valley – we have included them in this list, marked with an asterisk.  What is notable by its absence is the wealth of home-cooking and baking talent in the township and Groendal communities outside Franschhoek, which is sadly excluded from the Franschhoek Artisan Food Route!

The food artisans are listed geographically below, as one enters Franschhoek from the Klapmuts side of the R45:

*   Dalewood Fromage:   This cheesemaker has just won the 2013 Dairy Product of the Year for its six month matured Huguenot cheese, a huge honour for Franschhoek, and is well known for its Brie and Camembert, made plain as well as flavoured.   Visits are by appointment.  Monday – Friday 9h00 – 16h00. Tel (021) 874-5725.

*   Babylonstoren: There are no words to describe the passion that has gone into developing this wine estate, fruit, vegetable and herb farm, two restaurants, and Tasting Room and Deli.   At the shop near Babel restaurant vegetables and herbs are sold. At the Deli the wine tasting is done, and one can buy freshly baked breads, cheeses from artisanal producers outside Franschhoek and from Dalewood Fromage, and packaged charcuterie which is bought in.  Monday – Sunday 9h00 – 17h00.  Tel (021) 863-3852

*   Noble Hill:   Olives, olive oil, and chilli garden.  Monday – Sunday 10h00 – 17h00.  Tel (021) 874-3844.

*   The Jam Jar:   Fresh seasonal fruit, preserves, jams, and fruit cordials. Monday – Sunday 9h00 – 17h00.  Tel (021) 874-1637.

*   Cotage Fromage: Restaurant and Deli at Vrede en Lust, selling breads, cheeses, preserves, patés, and terrines.  Monday – Sunday 8h00 – 16h00 (winter)/17h00 (summer). Tel (021) 874-3991.

*   Allée Bleue: Bistro, Tasting Room, and own-produced olives, olive oil, herbs, and pestos.  Monday – Friday 9h00 – 17h00, Saturday 10h00 – 17h00, Sunday 10h00 – 16h00.  Tel (021) 874-1021.

*   Solms-Delta:   Tasting Room, Fyndraai Restaurant, Dik-Delta fynbos culinary garden, indigenous produce (spekboom pickle, lemon marmalade, lemon salsa, and veldkool pickle).  Monday – Sunday 9h00 – 17h00.  Tel (021) 874-3937.

*   Bread & Wine, Môreson wine estate: Tasting Room, breads (including olive sticks, herb focaccia, seeded brown loaves) baked by Tina Jewell, charcuterie by Neil Jewell (including Spanish pork loin, Spanish salami, salami, cardamom salami, squashed salami, smoked pork loin, hazelnut salami, mortadella, and Mettwurst), eggs, olives, aubergine dip, chicken liver parfait, pickled figs, Dalewood cheeses, Scotch eggs, House of Olives olive oil, Bio Wheat stone ground wheat, Oryx desert salt, Zest Sauvignon Blanc preserves, atchar, conserves, smoked red wine vinegar, Oakhurst extra virgin olive oil, nougat pinwheels, Tina’s Delicious Fudge, Tina’s Vanilla Sugar, and Neil’s Smoked Salt.  Monday – Sunday 10h00 – 15h00.  Tel (021) 876-4004.

*   La Motte Farm Shop, La Motte:  Wine estate, Pierneef à La Motte restaurant, renovated historic watermill estimated at being built between 1753 – 1789, the only working water mill in the Franschhoek valley, which will mill raw organic wheat, the flour being used to bake their potbread and ‘Ouma se brood‘ seedloaf.  The Farm Shop sells vegetables (cherry tomatoes, beetroot,  and brinjals this weekend); a number of breads (fruited rye, Shiraz bread, baguette, ‘Ouma se brood’, potbread, white bread, ciabatta, and croissants -plain, almond and chocolate);  and lovely cakes and treats such as custard and Valrhona caramelia chocolate dessert.  Tuesday – Sunday 9h00 – 17h00.  Tel (021) 876-8000.

*  Terbodore*, Goederust: Coffee roastery, rusks, chocolate brownies.  Monday – Friday 7h30 – 17h00. Saturday 8h00 – 14h00.  Tel (021) 876-4716.

*   The Kitchen at Maison*:  Tasting Room, restaurant, and self-produced olive oil, ciabatta, chorizo, venison truffle saucisson, pickled onions, tomato chutney, pickled tomatoes, carrot and ginger pickle, limes, olives, spices, smoked salt, and kimchi.   Wednesday – Sunday, 10h00 – 17h00.  Tel (021) 876-2116.

*   Leopard’s Leap*:   Tasting Room, The Rotisserie restaurant, chocolates, and spices. Tuesday – Sunday, 10h00 – 17h00 Tel (021) 876-8002.

*   Gooding’s Groves:   Olives, olive oils.   Monday – Sunday 10h00 – 15h00.   Tel (021) 876-2158.

*   Grande Provence*: Restaurant, bread.  Monday – Sunday. 10h00 – 17h00.  Tel (021) 876-8600

*   Franschhoek Medicinal Herb Garden: Fresh medicinal herbs.  Monday – Sunday 9h00 – 18h30. Cell 072 469 2240.

*   La Cotte Inn Fromages de France: Wine shop, imported French cheeses (no local brands!). Monday – Friday 8h30 – 18h00, Saturday 8h30 – 13h00.  Tel (021) 876-3775.

* Huguenot Fine Chocolates: Hand-made Belgian chocolates. Tours 11h00 and 15h00. Monday – Sunday 8h00 – 17h30.  Tel (021) 876-4096.

*   Franschhoek Village Market, outside Dutch Reformed Church Hall: Fresh produce, charcuterie, cheeses, olives, baked goods, and beverages.  Saturdays 9h00 – 14h00. Tel (021) 876-2431.

*   Dutch East: Restaurant, Beans about Coffee.  Monday – Sunday 8h30 – 21h00 (summer), 9h00 – 21h00 (winter).  Tel (021) 876-3547.

*   Salmon Bar: Restaurant, Knead breads, fresh and smoked salmon, Franschhoek trout, salmon terrines, Dalewood Fromage cheeses, cupcakes, and chocolate brownies.

*   Sacred Ground:  Restaurant, Bakery (panini, foccacia, croissants, olive ciabatta, cinnamon twists, 100% rye loaves, and sourdough), farm eggs, cheeses, terrines, jams, preserves, chicken liver paté, Marian Acker gluten-free shortbread, The Cooksister Deli range (glazes, berry and rosewater, balsamic figs and rosemary, cranberry and pecan nut drizzle, sundried tomato marmalade, rose essence water, and peanut butter), ginger, sweet mustard, tapenade, olive and fig jam, Bean There coffee beans, pesto, Pasta Regale products, soya milk powder, Bos tea bags, rusks, chocolates, macaroons, brownies, gluten-free biscuits, red velvet cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake, and scones. Monday – Sunday 7h00 – 18h00.   Tel (021) 876-2759.

*   Montagu*: Part of a franchise, dried fruit, nuts, biltong, dry wors.  Monday – Sunday.

*   African Chocolate Dreams: Handmade chocolates.  Monday – Sunday 9h00 – 17h00.  Tel (021) 876-4599.

*   La Bourgogne:   Olives and olive oil.  Monday – Sunday 11h00 – 16h00.  Tel (021) 876- 3245.

*   Café Bonbon, La Petite Dauphine:  Restaurant, olives, preserves, and breads.   Monday – Sunday 8h00 – 17h00.  Tel (021) 876-3936.

*   The Really Interesting Food Company: Food gifts, spices, chocolates, caramel, flavoured salt, mustards, foie gras, teas, flowers, seaweed, peppers, herbs, vinegars, oils, agave, syrup, mushrooms, sugars, confit, truffles, and chutney, all imported (not local nor artisanal from the description!).  Monday – Friday 9h00 – 16h00.  Tel (021) 876-3568 (poor phone service, website still under construction).

The Franschhoek Artisan Food Route is an innovative way of packaging what Franschhoek has to offer, even if some of the producers included on the map do not appear to match the Franschhoek Wine Valley’s description of ‘artisanal’.  One would hope that the map will be updated soon, and that it is given more substance in printing it in a larger size.

POSTSCRIPT 22/5: A very aggressive and rude Malcolm Rutherford from The Really Interesting Food Company called yesterday afternoon (we had not left a message for him), not being happy that we found his staff to be incompetent in answering the phone (cut off twice, and English communication skills very poor), that his website is not ready yet despite its address being featured on the Food Route map, and that we commented about his products not meeting the local artisanal definition of the Franschhoek Artisan Food Route, given that all his company’s products are imported!

POSTSCRIPT 23/5:  Jenny Prinsloo, CEO of Franschhoek Wine Valley, has explained by e-mail that Fromages de France and The Really Interesting Food Company have been included in the Route due to their French product link, given Franschhoek’s French heritage!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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