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