It had been rumoured that Chefs Richard Carstens and Reuben Riffel were starting a joint venture after Chef Richard left Tokara Restaurant, after eight years in its kitchen, at the end of September. Despite requesting both chefs for information about the new partnership since then, the collaboration of the two chefs in the restaurant consultancy RiffelCarstens was only formally announced this week. Continue reading →
It never fails to astound me how much changes regularly in Franschhoek as far as restaurants are concerned. I had heard some time ago that Reuben’s Chef Reuben Riffel will not renew his lease next year, and yesterday I was shown the building that he is said to have bought (above).
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Before visiting Hartford House in August I did not realize that it was located on one of our country’s finest heritage stud farms. I was delighted that owner Mick Goss was my guide to Summerhill Stud, showing me around his ‘largest foreign-owned horse hotel‘ with passion.
We clicked immediately, having the University of Stellenbosch as an Continue reading →
Today is a day of announcements of property sales in Franschhoek, it would appear. This morning we announced that we have sold our Whale Cottage Franschhoek. Now it has been announced that Mr Aniljit Singh of The Leeu Collection has added Le Quartier Français to his property portfolio in Franschhoek, taking over from 1 September. It is a surprise for many that the hotel and restaurant property has been sold, if not a relief for many Franschhoekers!
Mr Singh fell in love with Franschhoek in 2010, when he visited Cape Town to attend the World Cup soccer. Last year he bought the Dieu Donné, Von Ortloff, and Dassenberg properties, creating a 21-bedroom 5-star luxury Boutique Continue reading →
Today we can announce that we have accepted an offer for our Whale Cottage Franschhoek, in a drive to reduce the size of our guest house property portfolio.
Eleven years ago we bought the house of the late artist Errol Boyley, Continue reading →
I 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 →
The Sweet Service Award goes to Huguenot Fine Chocolates, the oldest chocolate manufacturer in Franschhoek. They completed wrapping Easter eggs for an order for our Whale Cottage Franschhoek guests within half an hour of placing the order, even though we would have been happy to collect them the following day. We were able to choose the colours of the foil wrapping of the eggs too, to match our colour scheme. The chocolate eggs tasted delicious, quite unlike the commercial eggs which were available in retail outlets. Continue reading →
A quick Easter Hot Cross Bun and coffee at Pierneef à La Motte was a double treat when Chef Chris Erasmus came to say hello and joined me at the table to share the news about his new Folliage restaurant, which he plans to open in the heart of the Franschhoek village just before the Bastille weekend in mid-July.
Chef Chris was beaming, clearly excited about his new project, even though he says that he is a little nervous about running his own business for the first time. Chef Chris worked at Le Quartier Français, at Pied à Terre in London, and at Ginja in Cape Town before he joined Pierneef à La Motte almost four years ago, and took the restaurant to Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant last year. He leaves La Motte on 15 June. He is opening his restaurant on the corner of Berg Street and main road, just two blocks from our Whale Cottage Franschhoek, in walking distance for our guests, who prefer to walk to the village for dinner than to drive to any of the good restaurants on the wine estates just outside the village. The restaurant will seat up to 70 for lunch, including outside, and 40 inside at night. The building belongs to the owners of La Petite Dauphine, and one of its owners, Gert Gertzen, is a highly regarded interior designer, and he is working with Chef Chris in planning the decor, which will have a wood ceiling, and wood furniture, on a concrete floor.
Right next door is the IS art gallery, which moved into the same building a week ago, a Continue reading →
The Bastille Festival was a festive weekend of tasting Franschhoek wines, connecting with friends, and trying some of the village food treats. By all accounts it was a great success, and DnA Events must be congratulated in attracting such large numbers of visitors to Franschhoek, irrespective of the winter weather! Almost every accommodation establishment was fully booked on Saturday evening, and the restaurants and shops did a roaring trade. Franschhoek looked festive, almost every business being decorated in the French tricolore, and many of the locals and visitors wearing a beret and French colours. For our French-speaking intern from Reunion, it was a surprise to experience all the Frenchness of Franschhoek this weekend.
It seemed more crowded on Saturday compared with previous years, yet there seemed to be less on offer outside of the Festival marquee than in the past. We saw the queue outside the marquee just after the midday opening time, and it stretched a few blocks down Dirkie Uys Street. We heard from our Whale Cottage Franschhoek guests that many tried to get tickets to get into the marquee on Saturday but were unable to do so, not even in the closing hour. Those that did have tickets could barely move inside the marquee as it was so full, despite a limit on the numbers, mainly caused by the afternoon rain, which meant that the ticket holders sitting outside moved into the marquee. For many it was too crowded, and they left the marquee after visiting one stand, taking a bottle of wine outside to enjoy it in less crowded conditions. Col’Cacchio had a band performing, and appeared to be one of the most popular meeting places after the marquee closed at 17h00, there being no cover charge. Last minute rooms were sold to visitors who had heard about breathalyser tests on Helshoogte Pass. The traffic on the main road was unbelievable, at times backed up to the Huguenot Monument.