Holidays, Weekend getaways or mid week stay cations can often be hard to plan especially with us constantly wanting to be on the go. I recently spent a two day trip in the breathtaking Franschhoek Valley. I fall in love with this colonial town about 45 minutes out of Cape Town each time I can get out here.
Surrounded by mountains, you are transported to an untouched land that a couple of year ago saw wild elephants roaming freely though these very mountainous passes.
Franschhoek is absolutely filled with something for absolutely everyone, or in my case everything for just someone. I had a packed itinerary and ventured off to experience a few of Franschhoek’s well known gems of myself.
The first stop on the list is Wine.
Where to WINE in Franschhoek
Driving up into the mountains we arrived at the gorgeous estate of Haut Espoir. This boutique family run wine estate offers easy drinking labels that are casing a few ripples through the valley since 1999.
We entered into the tasting room where we learnt more about each of the wines and their various stories behind each label. The translated version of Haut Espoir definitely had me having very “high hopes” for its handcrafted products.
The sprawling 23 hectare estate is home to the 8 hectares of vines which vary in varietals from shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc. The remainder of the land is dedicated to fynbos restoration, a riverine ecosystem, olive groves and vegetable and herb gardens. Which has led to the transition to be a biodynamic agricultural farm since 2011.
The list of wines can be found at on their website. A great way to start our trip and a great look at what this gorgeous valley has to offer through its rich soils.
For a Foodie such as myself, after wine often comes food. We made our way half way up the Franschhoek mountain pass to La Petit Ferme.
Having been on my culinary bucket lists, I was excited to see it on the itinerary.
The next stop on the list is Food.
Where to EAT in Franschhoek.
La Petit Ferme has been in the eyes of the Eat Out awards previously. Known to “perfect the classics,” Chef Sidwell and his team have taken the familiar flavours that we grew up with and uncomplicated the tastes.
The restaurant over looks the entire Franschhoek valley and offers breathtaking views inside the restaurant or outside on the terrace.
The meal was fresh and flavourful. This is what I had for lunch:
A selection of freshly made breads and salted butter
Spinach and ricotta gnocchi with smoked butter, pickled mushrooms and miso mushroom purée
Pan seared duck with honey and wild pepper roasted parsnips and butternut mash
Valrhona chocolate torte, mocha panna cotta, orange gel and roasted fennel ice cream
Pastry Chef Oscar Baard honestly deserves a standing ovation. With delectable flavours, pushing the boat out and creating incredible taste sensations it was definitely my favourite course of the entire meal.
With a taste of the Franschhoek wine region, our stomaches well looked after, we ventured off in search of something to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
The next stop on the list is SWEET TREATS.
Where to SUGAR UP in Franschhoek.
A short stroll down the Franschhoek main road leads you straight to the smell of cocoa wafting through the air at the De Villiers Chocolate Cafe.
With chocolate treats lining the walls, glass cabinets of truffles to take home (if they make it that far,) delicious coffee brewing and sample stations in every corner I am sure even Willy Wonka would be proud!
We sat down for a short introductory lesson into where Chocolate comes from. The question that adults often wonder about but don’t often blurt out like children asking where babies come from.
We got to see the raw cocoa pod and where the beans come from and how it is manufactured into the delicious chocolate bar we mindlessly chomp on after dinner each night.
With out sweet tooth sufficiently satisfied it was time to check into our accommodation and catch up on some emails or lay in your hotel bathrobe like I did hoping to settle my food baby before or dinner stops on the itinerary.
The next stop on the list is ACCOMMODATION.
Where to STAY in Franschhoek.
We checked into our gorgeous accommodation at the Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa. A gorgeous newly renovated hotel that offers ABSOLUTELY HUGE rooms and breathtaking views over the Franschhoek mountains.
With a huge closet, any woman would be happy to unpack for the evening before freshening up before dinner.
After getting really comfy in my hotel robe and catching up on a few emails, it was time to have a shower and go off to dinner just as the sun began to set over Franschhoek.
The next stop on the list is PRE-DINNER DRINKS.
Where to BEER TASTE in Franschhoek.
I have become a beer appreciator in the recent year so I was very excited to make a stop at the well known Tuk Tuk Microbrewery for pre-dinner drinks.
As we entered the tasting panels began filling up. We took our seats and enjoyed an interactive beer tasting with Tuk Tuk’s partnering beer house CBC (Cape Brewing Company.) We were taking through each taster with precision and knowledge by master pourers of the establishment that have hands on experience in seeing each of their beers from a hop mixture to the silky foam topped glass in from t of you.
Tuk Tuk also has a complimentary food menu that will satisfy any cravings while enjoying an ice cold beer and watching the game on one of the big screens. Just after the sun set, a number of the locals flocked in to enjoy a cold one before heading home.
The sun had set for a while when we realised it was dinner time. So much for pre-dinner drinks and snacks. We made our way across the road to what can only be described as the most incredible Eastern Cuisine meal I had ever had. So much so that I have a full blog post that you can read all about what Marigold has to offer.
The next stop on the list is DINNER.
Where to HAVE THE BEST MEAL in Franschhoek.
MARIGOLD was absolutely exquisite. Due to the pour lighting of the evening I arranged to go back which is where I managed to take photographs in the day time and you can read all about it here: Keep calm and Curry on at Marigold.
The following morning we woke up to the most spectacular view over Franschhoek. The crispy air, the mist hovering and the faint drops of dew over the plants was a sure sign of wintery mornings in the valley.
The next stop on the list is BREAKFAST.
Where to WAKE UP AND EAT in Franschhoek.
Mont Rochelle was recently bought over by Sir Richard Branson and you can see the decadence that he has instilled in the properly. The luxury, artistic touches that keeps with the Franschhoek feel is evident in furniture, light finishes and quirky ornaments.
The wrap around view of Franschhoek Valley in the breakfast room offers a gorgeous 180 degree view of the farms, estates and town centre as you enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast.
We took a tour of the grounds of Mont Rochelle and were in awe of the sheer beauty that this property has to offer.
Franschhoek is honestly blessed with an incredibly long list of activities and adventures to partake in. The best way around this is to pack your itinerary and get ticking off your bucket list. I am excited to see what Franschhoek has to offer in the Summer months and what more I can add to the diaries of Franschhoek.
Although this trip was a media tour of the Franschhoek valley all the opinions expressed are my own. I have highlighted my favourite spots in the valley on this trip and have taken all the photographs for the exclusive purpose of this blog post.