A week ago I attended a wine tasting with a difference, not stiff upper lip and peppered with heavy wine terminology, but light and fun, as a guest of ask-Jean.com, which I had seen on Instagram. Continue reading →
Franschhoek is celebrating the best of its white wines, Rosés, and MCCs at Franschhoek Summer Wines, to be held at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards tomorrow (Saturday 6 February) from 12h00 – 17h00. Continue reading →
* The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reacted to the additional Immigration Regulations introduced on Monday, requesting our government ‘to act in the best interests of the country and review‚ modify‚ and if necessary‚ rescind‚ the new measures if they do not have the desired effect and if they act as a handbrake on travel‚ tourism and economic growth‚ not just for South Africa — which is experiencing its weakest GDP performance in decades — but for the entire region. From a commercial and economic perspective‚ the industry is concerned that the harsh and onerous requirements South Africa has prescribed for travellers will negatively impact on the sustainability of air services‚ travel‚ trade and tourism to‚ from and via South Africa‘!
* The inaugural Cabernet Franc Carnival will be held at Avontuur on 20 June, with thirteen producers presenting their wines to taste, including Ridgeback Wines, Avontuur, Lynx Wines, Hermanuspietersfontein, Camberley Wines, Cape Chamonix, CK Wines, Doolhof Wine Estate, Druk-My-Niet Wine Estate, Mont du Toit, Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines, and Nelson Family Vineyards. Entrance R120.
Julia Hattingh is the fourth chef at Franschhoek Kitchen since Holden Manz bought the previously named Klein Genot wine estate, and it was renamed after the owners’ surnames. She is a breath of fresh air, and the restaurant will attract back customers, as Chef Julia settles in and takes the restaurant to a new level.
Security is stricter now, one having to fill in a sheet at the boom, but friendly. One walks through the downstairs tasting room to get to the upstairs restaurant, and I chose the smaller room with the fireplace. Front of House Manager Cobi Bosch is new, and he and I did not gel at all. He previously worked at Rhapsody’s at Cape Town International and in Bloemfontein. I knew that Manager Wayne Buckley would pop in, and I did want to meet Chef Julia, which made me stay. Cobi also served as the waiter on Monday. He recommended to a neighbouring table what his favourite dishes are, in guiding them what to order (they ordered a cheese platter to share in the end), but did not offer me this service. He brought two wine lists, one with Holden Manz wines, and the other with wines from their ‘friends’, being other wine estates in Franschhoek and one in Stellenbosch, telling me that the Chardonnay on the list was sold out already. He seemed most put out when I requested butter instead of the bottles of Willow Creek extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for the slices of olive oil bread which he had brought to the table. Continue reading →
Vignerons participating in Franschhoek Summer Wines 2014 are La Bri, Morena, Môreson, Anthonij Rupert Wines, Bellingham, Noble Hill, Leopard’s Leap, La Motte, Solms-Delta, Haute Cabriere, Grande Provence, Cape Chamonix, Akkerdal, Babylonstoren, Black Elephant Vintners, Boschendal, Eikehof, Franschhoek Cellar, Glenwood, Holden Manz, La Chataigne, La Couronne, La Petite Vignerons, Lynx Wines, Maison, Rickety Bridge, Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, Terra del Capo, Boekenhoutskloof, and Vrede & Lust. Continue reading →
For the first time in six years Franschhoek Uncorked is blessed with excellent weather, having had the most unfortunate bad weather luck in the first five years of the event, which sees wine lovers drive from wine estate to wine estate in Franschhoek today and tomorrow.
Each wine estate offers a unique mix of entertainment and food to serve with its wines, many launching its latest vintages. Highlights include:
* Antonij Rupert: ‘La Dolce Vita’ at the Terra del Capo tasting room and Antipasto Bar, with free tastings of latest releases, and antipasto platters (R120). Private Italian food and wine pairing lunch at R280 per person for 3 courses including wine. Newton& Co live music. At the Anthonij Rupert tasting room exclusive tasting of top Continue reading →
Each wine estate will offer only one red wine for tasting, and one will be able to taste wines from Anthonij Rupert Wines, Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal, Colmant, Four Paws Wines, Franschhoek Cellar, GlenWood, Grande Provence, Haute Cabriere, Holden Manz Wine Estate, La Bri, La Chataigne, La Couronne Wine Estate, La Motte, Leopard’s Leap Continue reading →
The Stall opened in Franschhoek at the beginning of this month in the old Pippin Farm Stall at the entrance to Franschhoek, alongside Franschhoek Cellars. It is an informal eatery, serving only Franschhoek wines, and is decorated in French colours.
Owned by Tim Adams, the owner of Essence higher up on the main road, The Stall attracted attention during its renovations. The building belongs to Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof, and it was rumoured a few years ago that Chef Reuben Riffel would make a steakhouse of it. The builders shared that three potential tenants had been to see the building: Chef Reuben, Tim, as well as the owner of Kalfi’s. Whilst Essence concentrates on Breakfast, light lunches and cakes, The Stall is open for lunch and dinner.
There is ample parking, especially in the evening when the Franschhoek Cellars is closed, and outside seating is provided, with a play area for the children. The branding is not very prominent from the R45, but most of the locals should know where it is by now, many having been invited to attend the opening function, at which a selection of the restaurant’s foods were offered. The interior is plain, with white Greek style chairs and wooden top tables. A Brugge sign brightens up the interior, Tim not knowing why Marc added this decor touch, not really making sense. A fireplace will be cosy in winter. Vases of fresh flowers on the window sills are a nice touch. One long table with red chairs is for larger groups. A surprise is material serviettes, with red stitching. The walls are painted white, and the kitchen wall is tiled in the French colours of blue, white and red, covered with racks for the glasses. The cutlery is very basic, as are the salt and pepper cellars.
The chef is Marilie van Niekerk, previously of Van Hunks in Cape Town, at the Tsitsikamma Lodge and at Storms River. She is bubbly, and a very good hostess. On the day we returned to eat there, some of the staff had not arrived at work due to the farmworker unrest outside Franschhoek, for which Chef Marilie apologised profusely, yet the service was good. Her biggest excitement is that the country’s Eat Out Chef of the Year, Margot Janse of The Tasting Room, had been to eat at the restaurant three times already. Chef Marilie has a herb garden she is developing in wine barrels outside the restaurant. The menu is simple, focused on flat-based pizzas, with interesting topping combinations, such as a delicious spinach, bacon and avocado (R75); an unusual roast lamb, mint, caramelised onion, grilled aubergine and feta (R79); and white anchovy, capers, olives and oregano (R65). The pizza base is very thin, and I found some of the shards when cut to be very sharp. For starters one can order a selection of salads, ranging from R49 for Greek salad to R72 for a carpaccio salad. A variety of burgers is available, made with beef, chicken, vegetables, lamb, and cheese, ranging in price from R65 – R75. Platters are available: cheese with preserves and nuts (R90), antipasti (R120), and mezze (R95). For the main course one can order a 250 g rib-eye steak with pepper sauce and chips at R95; grilled baby calamari (R85); and pasta dishes. I ate the best ever Tiramisu at The Stall, served in an Illy branded cup, and being thick and creamy (38). One can also order chocolate pudding, banana split with butterscotch sauce; and pecan nut flap jacks, the dessert prices ranging from R32 – R45.
It is not a surprise that the Wolftrap wine by the glass comes from landlord Boekenhoutskloof, inexpensive at R15 per glass/R65 per bottle for the White, Red, and Rosé. The sparkling wines offered are a 375ml Graham Beck Cuvee Brut (R110) and Brut Rosé (R180), as well as Pierre Jourdan Cuvée Brut (R150). No vintages are listed for the wines. White wines range up to R 160 for the Stony Brook Cask Selection Semillon, and to R280 for Boekenhoutskloof’ The Chocolate Block for the red wines. The Stall offers a good opportunity to taste a cross-section of wines from fifteen Franschhoek wine estates, including award-winning Chamonix, Glenwood, Lynx, La Bri, La Petite Ferme, and Holden Manz.
The Stall is a friendly, casual, and inexpensive eatery in Franschhoek, likely to be attractive to locals in particular, and to tourists with children. I have already returned for the Tiramisu!
The Stall, R45, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-4497. Website and Social Media to come. Monday – Sunday, 12h00 – ‘late-ish‘ (closed on Sunday evenings).
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Franschhoek: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
After one of the wettest winters in a long time, Franschhoek is ready to welcome Spring with its ‘Franschhoek Uncorked‘ festival on 1 and 2 September, and has laid on a wine and food tasting feast in its honour. Nineteen wine estates are inviting wine lovers to meet their winemakers and taste their wines on their estates, at a cost of R100 for the weekend pass, covering both days.
Each participating wine estate will offer its wines for a free tasting (some have ‘bespoke‘ tastings too, at a fee). Each estate has some form of musical entertainment, and they all serve food to buy. The wine estates participating, and their programme for the two days, are as follows:
* Allée Bleue: live entertainment, fresh herbs of the estate to buy, new vintage Brut Rosé, and enjoy a meal at the Bistro
* Anthonij Rupert Wines: Taste Protea and Terra del Capo wines for free, or attend a ‘bespoke‘ tasting of Anthonij Rupert wines at R50. Half price entrance to Motor Museum, at R30.
* Boekenhoutskloof: Taste new release Chocolate Block 2011, enjoy the band, and taste Reuben’s BBQ
* Dieu Donné : cheese platters and spit braai offered, live music
* Franschhoek Cellar: jazz band, free tasting of wines, cheeses, chocolates, and olives. Cheese lunch at R100 for two.
* Grande Provence: free tasting; buy 11 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Shiraz and get one free; taste the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, and Chardonnay 2011; tapas; Marimba band; art exhibition ‘Walk this earth alone‘; five-course degustation menu on 1 September paired with Grande Provence and New Zealand Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, at R495.
* Haute Cabrière: Ratafia ball throwing competition, wine tasting, restaurant offers a la carte menu
* Holden Manz: ShenFM performs, Chef Cheyne’s menu, taste wines
* La Bri: offers cheese platters, olives, homemade bread and chocolates to buy, five year vertical wine tasting R100, chocolate and wine pairing R50.
* La Chataigne: 2012 vintage, guitarist, boules, ‘Swedish street food’
* La Vigne: wine tasting, art exhibition by Lötter de Jager, Pasta Fresca, outdoor chess.
* Leopard’s Leap: free tasting, and introducing two cocktails: Chardonnay Margarita and Shiraz Cocktail
* Lynx: tapas, Spanish guitarist, taste new Lynx Viognier 2012
* Maison: taste Chenin Blanc 2011, Shiraz 2010, and new Blanc de Noir 2012, jazz band, slow roast pork belly with pickles, ciabatta and mustard (R85)
* Noble Hill: taste first Rosé, gourmet taco, live music.
* Plaisir de Merle: sweet and savoury pancakes, live entertainment
* Rickety Bridge: Reggae band, eat pork belly fingers, rib eye, mini burgers, tempura hake goujond
* Solms-Delta: Kaapse music, Kaapse food, Kaapse wines!
* Vrede & Lust: decor for sale, baguettes and mussels, Lindt chocolate.
Franschhoek Uncorked, 1 – 2 September, 11h00 – 17h00. R100 weekend pass. www.webtickets.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
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