In Franschhoek, you could spend days marvelling at the scenery around you.
The mountains seem to erupt out of the earth before your eyes; vineyards extend their limbs in every direction – long and curling in the summer, dormant and brittle in the winter – and the earth below you is red and rich and nourishing, the sky above endless.
One thing is for sure: all the head-swivelling is bound to make you work up an appetite. So with that, here are a few tips on where to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in Franschhoek.
Start off with the most important meal of the day: dessert – we mean, breakfast.
Before you head off into the vineyards (an inevitability; even if you’re not a wine lover, the views alone will summon you), Essence Restaurant and Coffee Bar right in the heart of town offers languid cups of coffee and delicious scrambled eggs, smoked trout, capers and onion. If you’re in the mood for something sweeter (see reference to dessert above), try the waffles with bacon, Brie and fig smothered in maple syrup.
Alternatively, you can wander over to the Franschhoek Food Emporium, for all things homemade and freshly baked. Breads, cakes and tarts, accompanied by rich coffee and freshly squeezed fruit juices, will fill you up before your feet leave the black-and-white chequered floors behind for more mountainous terrain.
With the sun at its zenith, make sure that you have lunch on one of the spectacular wine estates in the area. These are views that need to be soaked up slowly – of all meals in Franschhoek, lunch is one not to be rushed.
At Monte Rochelle’s Country Kitchen, you’d be excused for considering selling your home, quitting your job, and spending the rest of your days on this beautiful cobblestoned terrace. Fillet medallions and asparagus risotto never tasted so good. The views aren’t bad either.
You may also choose to visit La Petite Ferme for luch. La Petite Ferme demands that you slow down a gear (if that’s possible, we’re not exactly travelling at lightning speed over here), and soak up its country-cottage atmosphere, its white linen table tops and its delectable springbok bobotie. The conservatory offers one of the very best views of the Franschhoek valley.
After watching the sun go down from the top of Franschhoek pass, make your way back into town for an intimate dinner at Café des Arts. Tucked away on Franschhoek’s main drag, Café des Arts serves up hearty, scrumptious meals made from ingredients that are fresh and local. Don’t be surprised if the chef comes out to show off the 30kg tuna fillet on offer for the night, or when it’s served to perfection.
If you find yourself unable to tear yourself from the vineyards outside of town (a forgivable offence, many have suffered the same fate), stop off at for a bite to eat at the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais (if you’re going to do this, leave space at lunch). Frequently featured in the San Pellegrino world’s top 50 restaurants, The Tasting Room offers an eight-course menu that will make you weak at the knees, even if the local wine pairings don’t.
This dish just flies out! Bacon-wrapped springbok, butternut granola and sour fig. #lunch #foodpic #eatlocal #franschhoek #wineestate #restaurants. A photo posted by LeQuaf (@lequaf) on
One final glass of wine won’t go amiss (and really, when the wine is this good, how can you not?), before you head home to rinse, rest and repeat.
Words and photographs by Cassidy Parker.