The Sweet Service Award goes to the Stellenbosch Municipality, and its new Free Wifi service in Franschhoek. While it is not sure how far its reach is, it was a pleasant surprise in getting something back from the municipality. One suspects that the core router is in the municipal offices next to the Town Hall.
Franschhoek is celebrating the 21 st anniversary of its Bastille Festival this weekend, and is adding a spicy new touch of the Seychelles to the festivities. The Festival has a brand new location in Franschhoek too.
The Food & Wine Marquee has been moved next door to the Huguenot Monument, where the Champagne Festival is held successfully, and will no longer be located in the village centre, as in the previous years. Entrance to the Marquee is limited, and in the past Saturdays have always been sold out in advance, at an entrance cost of R200, making it imperative to buy tickets in advance On Sundays it is easier to get into the Marquee, with the entrance price reduced to R180.
The Food & Wine Marquee will be home to 25 Franschhoek Vignerons, including Allée Bleue, Babylonstoren, Anthonij Rupert Wines, Backsberg, Bellingham, Black Elephant Vintners, Boschendal, Dieu Donné, Grande Provence, Haute Cabriere, Holden Manz, La Bri, Leopard’s Leap, Môreson, Noble Hill, Plaisir de Merle, Rickety Bridge, Rupert & Rothschild, Solms-Delta, Vrede & Lust, La Petite Ferme, La Motte, Akkerdal, Morena, and Glenwood. Ndlovu beer will also be available to taste. Local restaurants serving food are Anthonij Rupert Wines, Backsberg, Grand Provence, Holden Manz, Le Franschhoek Hotel, Noble Hill, Rickety Bridge, Solms-Delta, L’ermitage, Bread & Wine, Reubens & Racine, and Wild Peacock.
The atmosphere on Franschhoek’s main road is electric and fun, with visitors wearing red, blue and white, and donning a beret, to get into the French spirit! Almost every business on the main road is draped in bunting in the French colours, and has a table of Continue reading →
I was working late last Thursday and had the TV on kykNET (having watched Chef Reuben Riffel’s new ‘5 Sterre met Reuben’ fresh herb cooking program) when I saw an eTV news broadcast, which reported on a toi-toi demonstration outside the Stellenbosch Town Hall at the inauguration of the new urban art installation. The local ANC branch members were protesting against the R800000 spent on the new art work erected by internationally renowned Stellenbosch-based landscape artist Strijdom van der Merwe in honour of former President Nelson Mandela.
When I arrived at Clos Malverne on Friday morning, to attend the opening of the pop-up art exhibition ‘A Void in the Landscape‘, I bumped into Strijdom, recognising him from the TV news broadcast, and we had a long chat about the Stellenbosch Town Hall transformation, and the publicity it had received as a result of the demonstration. Strijdom’s artwork ‘Heaven is a place on earth’, angel wings erected on street lamp-shaped posts in the Clos Malverne vineyards outside the restaurant, is part of the Clos Malverne exhibition.
I had wanted to meet Strijdom ever since Casparus Restaurant opened two years ago, as photographs of his urban art are exhibited in the restaurant, which once was my favorite. The Continue reading →
For the 17th year, Franschhoek will put on its French dress, and Franschhoekers will dust off their berets, celebrating the 14 July storming of La Bastille. “Again in 2010, Franschhoek’s Bastille Festival, which began as a village fete, will be a celebration of freedom for all!” says the Festival brochure. The Bastille Festival takes place this weekend.
On Saturday and Sunday the Bastille Festival activities get off to a rolling start at 8h00 with a Boules Tournament on the Dutch Reformed Church grounds on the main road. From 10h00 onwards there is “a showcase of artisanal food and fare” in the Town Hall and one can sit down at a Parisian cafe. Locally made olives and oils, fruit preserves, honey products, tasty take-home treats, Cape cuisine, and fresh vegetables will be sold.
The highlight for regular Bastille Festival supporters is the marquee in the centre of town, that sees almost every Franschhoek winery (Akkerdal, Allee Bleue, Anthonij Rupert, Bellingham, Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal, Dieu Donne, Glenwood, Graham Beck, Grande Provence, La Bri, La Motte, Lynx, Mont Rochelle, Rickety Bridge, Rupert & Rothschild, Solms-Delta, Topiary and Vrede & Lust) paired with almost every restaurant in town (Allee Bleue, Dieu Donne, French Connection, The Grillroom, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Haute Cabriere, iCi, La Petite Ferme, Monneaux, Plaisir de Merle, Reuben’s, and Fyndraai). The food and winetasting marquee is open from 12h00 – 17h00 on Saturday and Sunday, and entrance costs R 100, which entitles one to five tasting coupons. Tickets can be booked at www.webtickets.co.za
The Porcupine Ridge Barrel Rolling competition starts at 14h00 on each of the two days, and a Waiters’ Race will be contested at the Food & Wine Marquee at 13h00 on Saturday.
Whale Cottage Franschhoek has a Bastille Festival weekend accommodation package – write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com
Franschhoek was largely booked out as far as its accommodation is concerned over the Women’s Day weekend earlier this month, thanks to the law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENS), which chose Franschhoek for its annual staff and family get-together. The law firm is one of the largest in Africa, with more than 360 legal, tax and forensic practitioners, and has branches in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Stellenbosch and Durban.
The booking probably was the largest group booking ever for Franschhoek, and the law company’s contribution to Franschhoek can easily be estimated at about R 500 000 over the two day period. The economic contribution to Franschhoek may well be double that, if shopping at wine cellars and shops, as well as additional services rendered, is added. Air and bus transportation will have benefitted the broader economy too.
“At ENS we are very aware of the importance of our people and, aside from many employee benefits, we also hold an annual retreat where all professionals, plus their families, are accommodated at a special locale. The aim of these retreats is to, firstly, thank our professionals and their families who support them through the stresses of daily life and, secondly, to give everyone an opportunity to truly unwind in a setting outside of their normal environment” said Amanda Framcke, Marketing Team Leader: Events at ENS.
“This year we were pleased to choose Franschhoek as the firm was looking for somewhere different to their usual venues which were more resort-like. This retreat had a different feel to it and was exactly what we were looking for. Franschhoek offers not only beauty but an array of exciting options all in a secluded area with a quaint small town feel. It’s a wonderful place to relax and unwind and enjoy the many options it has to offer” she added.
ENS has an in-house marketing and events team that organises all events, including accommodation and flight bookings, catering, entertainment and anything else that is needed to make an event a success. “This retreat involved approximately 280 adults which consisted of our practitioners and senior services team, as well as spouses and roughly 50 children. This meant extensive arrangements and we were thrilled with the support we received from the various places of accommodation and other venues we used. Because of the size of the group and special dietary requirements, we used an external caterer for all meals other than breakfast which everyone enjoyed at their place of accommodation. We did, however, have lunch at Haute Cabriere on the Sunday of the long weekend which was a special highlight of the trip”.
Not only did ENS staff and their families stay in Franschhoek at 15 of the town’s guesthouses and four hotels, but suppliers did as well. Watershed, a band performing for the group in the town hall on one of the evenings, was accommodated at Whale Cottage Franschhoek.
“Our programme for the weekend included spa activities, horse riding and quadbiking at Rheebokskloof, a mosiac workshop, fishing at La Ferme, bicycle hire, cheese and wine tasting at Franschhoek Cellars, chocolate tasting and visits to the ice cream shop. We would like to also mention our appreciation for the transport company we used in Franschhoek (Eddie), the Municipal Officials and the local businesses for their participation and hospitality”. Lunches and dinners were served for the ENS group in the Town Hall, an outside catering company having been appointed.
“The response from our practitioners and their families has been extremely favourable with many commenting that they would like to return to Franschhoek for our next retreat. It is fair to say that this was one of our most popular getaways yet.”
Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com