Tag Archives: French Huguenot

Paris comes to Franschhoek for Bastille Festival this weekend!

imageThe Franschhoek Bastille Festival is one of the most popular events held in this French Huguenot village, and this weekend (11 and 12 July) Franschhoek will be decked in red, white, and blue to celebrate its French roots. Even a mini Eiffel Tower is to bring Paris to Franschhoek this year!

The Franschhoek Bastille Festival Marquee will be set up next to the Franschhoek Huguenot Monument, with parking nearby. A number of Franschhoek restaurants will offer their cuisine, and Chef Marcus Continue reading →

Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons quietly opens its new Tasting Room!

Rupert & R Tasting desk Whale CottageI have visited almost every winery in Franschhoek, but never Rupert & Rothschild, its tastings having been by appointment only in the past ten years since we have operated Whale Cottage Franschhoek.  It was a set of Facebook photographs of Hein Koegelenberg, brother-in-law of co-owner Johann Rupert, that attracted attention to the new Tasting Room, which opened on 1 July.

The farm Fredericksburg was owned by a French Huguenot, and was established in 1690, and taken over by the late Dr Anton Rupert and the late Baron Edmond Rothschild in 1997 when they established their partnership.  The owners shared a commitment to preservation and conservation.  Grapes are harvested by hand, and the berries are hand-sorted after destemming, to generate the best quality juice.  Intervention during the wine-making process is kept to a minimum.

I popped in yesterday, and found a very elegant yet informal and friendly Tasting Room, with a beautiful setting overlooking the Simonsberg mountain and the vineyards of the wine farm.  From the R45 between Klapmuts and Simondium one cannot see any buildings on the wine estate, being set back far from the road.  The Tasting Room door is locked from inside, so one of the staff must go to the door to press a button to unlock it, which is not clear when one arrives, and appears unfriendly if the staff do not get to the glass door quickly enough.  One enters close to the Tasting Desk, seating about 20 tasters on both sides of the desk Continue reading →

Plaisirs de France: Franschhoek Food goes French, celebrates Huguenot Heritage!

Franschhoek is about to become a whole lot more French, when the Plaisirs de France (Pleasures of France) Celebrations kick off in the village on 15 October, demonstrating its food and culinary delights, and its French Huguenot heritage, a month-long Bastille Festival judging from the programme.  A mix of Le Pique Niques, cooking demonstrations by local Franschhoek and French chefs, a weekly Country Village Market, French cheese tastings, pop-up kitchens with French-inspired lunches at art galleries, and some top class dinners form the foundation of the Festival.  The Plaisirs de France Festival is part of a larger Seasons of France cultural exchange program between South Africa and France.

The French Huguenots arrived in 1688, and were allocated land in what was originally called Oliphantshoek in 1694. The farm names La Dauphiné, Bourgogne, La Bri, Champagne, La Motte, Cabrière, La Cotte, La Terra de Luc, and La Provence still exist, and were named after the settlers’ places of birth in France.

The highlight of the month-long French celebration will be a French-inspired six-course dinner at Pierneef à La Motte, costing R690 for the dinner paired with wines, which Chef Florent Boivin of the Paul Bocuse Institute in France will cook with Chef Chris Erasmus on 12 October. Chef Florent has cooked at a number of Michelin-star restaurants, including Maison Troisgros, Le Jardin des Sens, and Maison Decoret. He has also opened new restaurants at D’Sens in Bangkok, Raffles Hotel Restaurant in Singapore, and Héritage Hotel Restaurant in Mauritius.  Chef Chris Erasmus has just returned from a three week stage at Noma, the world’s number one restaurant, based in Copenhagen.  The dinner will combine the fresh herbs and vegetables grown on La Motte, South African produce such as springbok, and French gourmet delights such as foie gras.

Other special meals on offer are the following:

*   3-course lunches at The Bistro at Allee Bleue, R195, 15 October – 15 November. Tel (021) 874-1021

*   6-course Tasting Menu dinner at Vrede & Lust’s Cotage Fromage, paired with Vrede & Lust wines, R299. Wednesdays from 17 October – 14 November.  Tel (021) 874-3991

*   Cooking French Pastries at Le Quartier Français, 20 October, 10h00 – 13h00, R795.

*   6-courses paired with wines, Le Quartier Français Dinner, 25 October, 19h00, R950.

*   6-courses dinner paired with wines at La Motte Owner’s Cottage, 18 – 20 October, R950. Tel (021) 876-8000.

*   French Tarts at Bread & Wine, 17, 24 and 31 October and 14 November, 10h00, R395. Tel (021) 876-4004.

*   French Canapés at Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa stand at the Village Market 20 and 27 October, 3 and 10 November, 9h00 – 13h00.

*   Macaroons, Meringues and Charcuterie at Bread & Wine stand at Village Market, 20 and 27 October, and 3 and 10 November,  9h00 – 13h00.

*   Le Pique Nique at Rickety Bridge: R148 per person, 24 hour booking ahead.

It appears that very few of the Franschhoek restaurants are participating in the Plaisir de France promotion!

Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte, R45, Franschhoek.  Tel (21) 876-8000. www.la-motte.com Twitter: @PierneefLaMotte

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

Franschhoek Bastille Festival: bigger and better this year!

The Bastille Festival is Franschhoek’s largest event, in its ability to attract visitors to the French Huguenot village, with 3000 visitors per day expected to enjoy the best of its foods and wines.  This year the Bastille Food and Wine Marquee has a new location and is bigger than ever before.  French wines will form part of the Bastille Festival for the first time this year, the Festival celebrating the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, this coming weekend on 14 and 15 July.

The Bastille marquee of 1300 m² has been erected in its new location in the parking area between the church and town hall, with its entrance off the main road, connecting the centre of the Festival with the other fun activities on the main road, which significantly competed with the marquee wine and food tastings last year.  The Le Franschhoek hotel’s Dish restaurant (selling quiche, French flag fudge, and French chantilly meringues), Haute Cabriere (Moules Belle Rose), Reuben’s (serving Beef Bourguignon and wok-fried squid and chorizo), Allee Bleue (salmon and smoked chicken baguettes), Backsberg (lamb ciabatta), Bread & Wine (porchetta sandwiches), Cotage Fromage (veal and foie gras burger), French Connection (steak rolls), Le Quartier Français (Bunny Chow, chocolate brownies), Mont Rochelle (Boerewors rolls, chicken wraps), Allora (shawarmas), Solms-Delta (Cape barbeque), Val de Vie (vol au vent), and Wild Peacock (oysters), and other local restaurants and wine estates will be selling their foods and offering their wines to taste in the marquee, at the cost of R150, which includes a tasting glass and a booklet of wine tasting coupons.

For the first time a VIP marquee will be available at the higher entrance fee of R395, which will allow one to rub shoulders and exchange tasting notes with the following 10 winemakers and their wines from the Rhône-Alpes region in France:

  • Gilles Barge, Domaine Barge (Cote Rotie, Condrieu)
  • Jean Luc Monteillet, Domaine De Montine (Grignan Les Adhemar, Cotes Du Rhone, Vinsobres)
  • Gilles Verzier, Vignobles Verzier, Chanteperdrix (Cote Rotie, Condrieu, Saint Joseph)
  • Nadia Fayolle, Domaine Des Martinelles (Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage)
  • Yves Cuilleron, Cave Cuilleron (Cote Rotie, Condrieu)
  • André Mercier, Vignerons Ardechois (Vins D’ Ardeche, Cotes Du Rhone, Cotes Du Vivarais –photograph)
  • Dominique Courbis, (St Joseph, Cornas)
  • Yann Chave, Domaine Yann Chave (Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage)
  • Pierre Mollier, Mas De Bagnols (Ardeche, Cotes Du Vivarais)
  • Laurent Vial, Domaine Du Colombier (Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage)

Two wine tastings of these winemakers’ wines, with the best of Franschhoek wines too, will also be held, at Grande Provence on Saturday and Sunday 14 and 15 July at 9h00, at the cost of R395, which includes the entrance ticket to the Bastille Marquee too.

Many wine estates will also host French inspired activities at their farms. Grande Provence, for example, will host an art exhibition focused on Le Monde front covers. For lunch it will serve Vichyssoise soup (R45), Boeuf Bourguignon (R90), Moules Marinière (R55), and a selection of French cheeses. At dinner guests will be offered a French inspired 3 course meal at R320 per person.

The main road will see many of the  restaurants and shops, decorated in blue, white, and red in keeping with the theme, offering food, beer, and wines for sale from their shop exteriors. Reuben’s, for example, will sell white truffle infused bean cassoulet soup, French onion soup, Puglia cheeses, Lynx wines, Jimmy Jagga ciders from KWV, Peroni draught, Jack Daniels, Boschendal sparkling wines, Deluxe coffee, and fresh fruit and vegetables outside its restaurant.

Alongside the fun food and wine events, the largest and longest running boules competition, the Waiter’s Race, Franschhoek minstrel parade from Solms-Delta, fencing, barrel-rolling, a farmer’s market, a craft market, children’s activities, and a French food market will be held over the weekend too, reports The Month. In addition, there will be 10 km, 25km, and 55 km mountain bike trails on Sunday 15 July, as well as a 12 km Salomon Bastille Day Trial Run on Saturday 14 July, from the Drakenstein Prison to Franschhoek, to commemorate freedom, the prison being the ‘home’ of Mr Nelson Mandela towards the end of his incarceration, and the prison he was released from in 1992, when it was still called Victor Verster. On Friday 13 July James Stewart will perform at a pre-Bastille Festival dinner with a French theme at La Petite Ferme.

Bring your berets and full purses, dress in the French colours, and enjoy two fun-filled days in Franschhoek, focused on its good foods and wines.  Book early, as the Saturday marquee entrance number is capped, and was sold out prior to the event last year.

Bastille Festival, Huguenot Road, Franschhoek. 14 and 15 July, 12h00 – 17h00. www.webtickets.co.za. Tel (021) 876-2861

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

Bastille Festival gives Franschhoek French food and wine flair!

For the 18th year running, Franschhoek will don its red, blue and white flags and bunting to celebrate its French Huguenot past next weekend of 16 and 17 July, celebrated by its most popular annual event, the Bastille Festival, commemorating the storming of La Bastille.

Marrying food prepared by Franschhoek’s top chefs, including salmon trout, sushi, chocolates, and oysters, with wines from the local Vignerons, in a Marquee in the centre of the village next door to the Hospice, the Bastille Festival is an important showcase for the village.  Exhibitors include Akkerdal, Allée Bleue, Anthonij Rupert Wines, Backsberg, Bellingham, Boschendal, Boekenhoutskloof, Cape Chamonix, Franschhoek Cellar, French Connection Bistro, The Grill Room, Glenwood, Graham Beck, Grande Provence, Holden Manz, Haute Cabriere, La Bri, La Petite Ferme Restaurant and Winery,  L’ermitage, Leopard’s Leap, Lynx, Monneaux, Morena, Pick ‘n Pay Sushi Bar, Plaisir de Merle, Reuben’s, Rickety Bridge, Rupert & Rothschild, Solms Delta Fyndraai and Wines, Topiary Wines, Vrede & Lust, and Wild Peacock Products.  

For the first time a Le Marche Français will be set up in the Town Hall, as a market of Franschhoek artisanal food and other products.  Cheeses, charcuterie, pastries, breads, crèpes, water, chocolates, preserves, vegetables, coffee, and herbs will be for sale, as will be soap and linen, and kitchen accessories.  A Farmers’ Market will also be held.

On Saturday 16 July a Boules tournament will be held at the Church grounds, as well as Fencing exhibition matches, a Waiters’ Race, a Vignerons’ Parade, and Porcupine Ridge Barrel Rolling competition.  A party will be held at Holden Manz wine estate in the late afternoon.   On Sunday 17 July there is another Boules Tournament, Fencing exhibition matches and another Porcupine Ridge Barrel Rolling competition.  The Station Pub is hosting a number of bands over the weekend.

POSTSCRIPT 15/7:  Given the wonderful weather of the past few days, and that which is forecast for the weekend, tickets for the Marquee are already sold out for tomorrow.  Given that Franschhoek will be bursting at the seams, here are some suggestions for what to do if you were not lucky enough to buy a ticket for the marquee for tomorrow: get a wine-tasting map from the Franschhoek Tourism Bureau on the main road; go to the Town Hall, where French cheeses, Shiraz bread, chocolates and charcuterie are for sale; taste wines at Franschhoek wine shops La Cotte Inn Wine sales (selling delicious cheeses too), House of Wine, and WINES WINES (next door to Café Benedict) is offering tastings of non-Franschhoek wine estates such as Lammershoek, Nabygelegen, Hermanuspietersfontein, Arumdale and Bilton.  Enjoy a light lunch at Franschhoek Kitchen (Holden Manz), Café Benedict, Salmon Bar, Café Le Chocolatier, The Olive Shack, Reuben’s Deli, make up your own picnic at the Franschhoek Food Emporium, or try Fyndraai at Solms-Delta or Allee Bleue on the outskirts of Franschhoek, where things should be a little quieter.  Buy chocolates at Huguenot Fine Chocolates.   Interested in art? Visit David Walter’s Ceramics studio, the galleries on the main road, The Grande Provence gallery, or the Pierneef gallery at La Motte.   Drive up the Franschhoek Pass, and see the view from up there onto the valley.  Go to the Station Pub to listen to the bands.  Go to the After-Party at Holden Manz. 

POSTSCRIPT 16/7: Franschhoek is bursting at the seams, and the excellent weather is adding to the festive fun.  At Reuben’s there is a great Farmer’s market, as well as tastings and sales of Peroni, De Villiers chocolates from Hermanus, Wildekraans wines, and Healey’s cheeses from Lourensford.  Castle is being dispensed from next to Taki’s.  More Peroni is available at Träumerei.  Wildekrans is doing tastings at Café d’Or.  Holden Manz’s after party runs from at 4 pm until midnight today, with DJ.  The Elephant & Barrel is buzzing, with sparkling wine tastings in the courtyard.   A new gem is Taste South Africa, behind Salmon Bar in The Yard, putting Franschhoek wines on show.  An antique market is at the side of The Corkscrew.

Bastille Festival, Franschhoek, 16 – 17 July.  R100 Marquee entrance fee includes a tasting glass and a booklet of tasting vouchers.  Marquee open from 12h00 – 17h00.  Tickets from www.webtickets.co.za

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

Restaurant Review: Laborie Le Restaurant food surprisingly good, service not!

It was the photograph of the prawn and pineapple tian that wine writer Edo Heyns took at Laborie Le Restaurant earlier this week, and tweeted, that made me drive to Paarl to try Laborie Le Restaurant.  I was surprised to find a restaurant with outstanding food, but sadly the service left much to be desired.  I am not sure of the exact name of the restaurant – it is generally referred to as Laborie Restaurant, but the winelist and the website refer to it as ‘Laborie Le Restaurant’, as does the business card for Executive Chef Alicia Giliomee.

My last visit to Laborie was a few years ago, for a family birthday lunch.  I remember it being a set menu, and being okay, nothing spectacular.  I’ll start at the end, which was the part that finally drove the nail in the service coffin, and that is that the property belongs to the KWV, and the restaurant is leased out to the Belgian owner Peter Rues.   The security staff at the boom are contracted out, and when I wanted to exit, I had to stop at the boom and hoot, despite the security guard being able to see me driving down from the parking area, which meant that he could have opened it so that I could just drive through.  He was incensed that I had hooted, and a war of words erupted.  I had to call the restaurant to ask them to get the boom opened, and as soon as he saw me making the call, he opened it.  I was seething when I left.   The incident left a very bad taste, and the Manager Nadia Beutler was very sweet in reporting the matter to the estate manager, and in apologising via Twitter.

Since I had last been to Laborie, the parking area in front of the building has been planted to lawns, and the parking is now behind the building.  There is no signage to indicate where to go to the restaurant entrance, so I followed other guests to find the entrance.  On non-windy days one can sit outside, and enjoy the view onto the Drakenstein mountains.  On my way in I noticed an outside table that had an old tree trunk as the base, with a glass top.   As the southeaster was blowing quite strongly, all the doors were closed, and we were uncertain as to where to enter.  I chose the first door, and saw staff talking to guests who had used the next door.  I was ignored and had to request someone to seat me – the waitress spoke to me across the spacious restaurant, and no one bothered to come over to me.   Flora finally decided to help me, and I chose a table.   The restaurant filled up quickly, and it was a contrasting mix of older Paarl residents lunching ahead of the Garden Club AGM to be held there, and business executives, including some journalists, and KWV CEO Thys Loubser, whom I have known for many years. 

The restaurant building is beautiful from the outside, dating back to 1961, and looks like a historic building with thatched roof and gable in the Cape Dutch style.   Inside the large room is functionally filled with tables, with a surprisingly modern chandelier, and chairs are brown leather.  The table cloth is a yellow/gold colour, and the patterned green curtains could probably do with an update.  The serviette was white, and one set of heavily used cutlery was set on the table.  I liked the vase with fresh flowers on each table.  Greenhouse olive oil and balsamic bottles are on the table, with small salt and pepper grinders.  Flora brought the menu and winelist, both with a mock-croc cover, and well-branded and identifiable as the winelist and menu (the bill was presented in a green plastic holder, and should have had the same cover, to create synergy).  Flora and I did not get on well at all, and she neglected me service-wise, so much so that I had to request my order to be taken by another waiter.  I was told that she has worked there for 30 years, and unfortunately it shows.  I asked her for the name of the chef, and she only knew her first name, but quickly added that she was off-duty, and that Lesley was in the kitchen, being “the Coloured one”!   Flora’s apron was dirty, not acceptable for the start of the lunch service, and her name tag was upside down.   Staff wear white shirts and black pants, and a Laborie branded apron.   She removed my side plate and serviette when she removed the other table settings.  I had a wow moment when I received a Direct Message on Twitter, welcoming me to the restaurant.  I had not booked nor had I identified myself on arrival, and I also had not tweeted about being at Laborie at that point in time.  The Manager Nadia said she recognised me, and had been the Tweeter.  She was helpful in providing information, and coming to my rescue at the boom.   The chef is Alicia Giliomee, who previously worked at Sand at The Plettenberg hotel and at Fairlawns in Johannesburg.

The menu has ‘footnotes’ on almost every page, some of which are repeated, and one is the pay-off line: “Laborie – where yesterday and today meet…”, not a bad description, the ‘yesterday’ aptly describing the service, and the ‘today’ the excellent cuisine, not quite what the owner had in mind, I am sure!   Another note warns one not to be in a hurry: “We are passionate about delivering delicious food and quality service, and thank you in advance for your patience”.  The note that impressed me was the following: “Laborie Restaurant is passionate about reducing our carbon footprint.  We support accredited suppliers within a maximum of 150 km radius and only serve seafood on the SASSI accredited green and orange list.  Our meat and poultry products are all free range and grain fed to add to your taste experience.  We also support small industry producers that can provide a product of quality”.  They write that they recycle waste too, as part of this policy.

The menu has a number of options: ‘Light Lunch’ includes salads ranging between R55 – R68, a Laborie Winelands platter of charcuterie, patés, cheeses and pickles (R85), a seafood platter of pickled calamari, mussels, tiger prawns and linefish (R92), as well as a mezze platter (R82).   A quick business lunch, entitled “Pronto! Pronto!”, consists of a Laborie salad, Cape Malay chicken curry and wild berry Vacherin, at a cost of R145.   A Food and Wine Tasting menu costs R245 for four courses, with a wine paired to each course.  Then follows the a la carte menu.  Flora brought the bread basket with wrapped butter portions.  I liked the bread with raisins in it.   I ordered the prawn and pineapple tian (R62), and felt it to be a generous portion as such, and also in terms of the number of prawns that it contained.  I was a little disappointed that there was little avocado in it, one of my favourites.  It was set on thin strips of cucumber, sprinkled with coconut flakes, decorated with cherry tomatoes, a miniature apple on top, and drizzled with a sweet chilli vinaigrette, almost a meal in itself.   Other starter choices include an onion tarte tatin,  steak tartar a l’Americaine, springbok carpaccio, and a salmon and spinach/basil cream roulade, all costing around R60.  

For the main course I had the slow roasted duck, with a crispy skin (R118), two pieces served with mash, peach slices, raspberries, an orange slice, and topped creatively with the thinnest potato wafer, a twig of rosemary, and a branch of basil, giving it a decorative touch.   It was the best duck I have had in a long time.  However, I was unimpressed with the side dish of mixed stirfried vegetables, so old-fashioned, and ‘done before’, consisting of red and yellow peppers, mushrooms, carrots, beans, corn cob, red cabbage, courgette and mange tout, being superfluous, given the generous duck portion.  None of the main courses exceed R129, and average at about R100.  One can also order linefish (silverfish on Thursday), roast chicken, artichoke and green olive gnocci, Cape Malay chicken curry, Chateaubriand, beef fillet, rolled stuffed loin of lamb, and Karoo lamb shank (I am not sure how the 150 km radius links to this item on the menu).   Desserts range from R30 – R45, and include a raspberry soufflé, truffles, cinnamon brûlé, frozen mint mousse, and a summer fruit savarin. 

The wine list has an introduction to the Laborie wine estate, and is named after the La Bri district in France.  In 1685 the farm was awarded to the first French Huguenot farmer Jean Taillefert, and the manor house was built in 1750.  The wines made by him on this farm were subsequently described as being “the best in the colony and similar to our small wines of Champagne”.  The wine list also states the following about the restaurant: “Your visit to Laborie Restaurant will allow you to reminisce about the Cape as it once was hundreds of years ago”.   The winelist is proudly-Paarl, or rather proudly KWV/Laborie.  Cap Classiques offered include the Laborie Blanc de Blanc (R40/R135), its Brut (R35/R125), and Brut Rosé (R35/R125).  KWV Cuvee Brut and Pearly Bay Celebration (also by KWV) cost R85.   KWV Roodeberg is available at R95.  The Laborie Shiraz 2008 is very reasonably priced at R35/R105, while the Laborie Limited Collection Shiraz 2008 costs R135.  The flagship Laborie Jean Taillefert Shiraz 2006 costs R 295.

Nadia is relatively new in managing Laborie Restaurant, and she is full of ideas.  She has marketed the Laborie Lazy Days market, which started three Saturdays ago, and it has become hugely popular already, being held on the new lawns – Nadia has an events consultancy background.   The lawns are ideal for functions, such as weddings and other parties.  She also wants to set up a champagne bar at the far end of the restaurant, to kill “the dead space” there, she said.   Gourmet picnics can be ordered at R145 per person.   There was good synergy between the restaurant and the tasting room, a note in the billfold inviting one to visit the tasting room.  I did not see where it is, relative to the restaurant.  The bill had a thank you in English, Afrikaans, German and French, a nice tourist touch.   I will certainly come back to Laborie Le Restaurant for the excellent food, and hope that I will strike it luckier with the service via a different waiter and in being let out at the boom.  I am confident that Nadia will look at improving all aspects of the restaurant, and will focus on the service side too. 

POSTSCRIPT 19/3:  I returned to Laborie le Restaurant for lunch today, after visiting the disappointing Laborie Lazy Days market.   I received a friendly reception from Nadia, and was delighted to receive her excellent service throughout the meal.  I was disappointed with the roulade of salmon and pesto, mixed with cream cheese, feeling it to have been overpromised in its description, but loved the airy and light frozen mint mousse. 

Laborie Le Restaurant, Taillefert Street, Paarl.  Tel (021) 807-3093.  www.laborierestaurant.co.za  (The website lists the full a la carte menu.  The Gallery only has a few photographs of events, and there are barely any photographs of Chef Alicia’s beautiful food presentation).  The business card for the Executive Chef is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, with appetite appeal, showing a delicious dessert and glass of wine, representing exactly what the restaurant is all about.  Twitter: @LaborieResto   Tuesday – Sunday lunch, Thursday – Sunday dinner.

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

Franschhoek parle francais

Franschhoek is to turn French on 30 May, when the Alliance Francaise and the Franschhoek Wine Valley Tourism Association turn the town back to its French Huguenot roots for the day.   

While Franschhoek has many French farm, restaurant and accommodation names, only a handful of its residents are able to speak French.    It is known for its French roots, and celebrates Bastille Day every year.

The Franschhoek day a’ le francais starts with a champagne tasting with JP Colmant and Ludwig Maske, is then followed by a lunch at Mon Plaisir, by a game of boulles at Dieu Donne, and then a dinner and a movie at ici at Le Quartier Francaise.   During the whole day nothing but French will be spoken!

The price for the French Franschhoek day is R 800, and bookings can be made at the Franschhoek Tourism Bureau at tel. 021 876- 2861.