Berets and Baguettes

No I’m not talking about France (although I wish I was), I’m actually talking about the festivities that take place every 14th of July in the quaint little town of Franschhoek in the Western Cape of South Africa.  Franschhoek, which is Afrikaans for “French Corner”, is one of the oldest towns in South Africa and was first established in 1688 when the French Huguenot refugees began to populate the valley.  The town celebrates its French heritage in every way as can be seen by the Huguenot Monument which stands at the end of the town.  It also embraces French traditions, one of which is celebrating the national day of France aka Bastille Day!

It’s one of the best times to visit Franschhoek as the whole town gets decorated with French flags and banners creating the most enchanting atmosphere.  Looking around all you see is red, white and blue as well as the stereotypical French Beret being worn by all the locals and visitors alike.  As you drive down the main road you have a sense of being transported to a different continent and leaving South Africa behind.

The festival takes place over the whole weekend and you can purchase yourself a Saturday pass, a Sunday pass, or if you’re feeling really enthusiastic you can even purchase both!  I would recommend buying a Saturday pass and then spending Sunday exploring the town and enjoying the many amazing wine farms in the area.

We drove up on Saturday, dropped our bags off at our AirBnB and walked to the festival (luckily it was close enough!).  The setup is incredible, the floor gets covered with wood chips and all the wine and food stalls as well as the main stage and dance floor are underneath a huge white marquee.  A live band plays on the stage as everyone walks from stall to stall tasting the various wines on offer.  There is also lots of mouth-watering French themed food you can purchase to keep you fueled up for the day!  A day pass gets you a free wine glass which you get as you enter, as well as five free wine-tastings and R20 off a bottle of wine.  The best thing about the experience is that the festivities continue late into the night at various restaurants and bars.  We wondered off and headed to Station, a restaurant/pub that had transformed itself for the occasion, with a stage and dance floor setup we knew it was the place to be.  We danced into the night and collapsed into our beds exhausted but content.

The next day, after popping a few pain killers to nurse our aching heads, we decided to stroll into town and enjoy breakfast at one of the many beautifully quaint cafes dotted along the main street.  With food in our bellies and feeling far better for it we ambled along the main road exploring the numerous art galleries and boutique stores that one can only find in Franschhoek.  We decided to make the most of our time in the area and stopped and the spectacular Vrede en Lust wine estate on our way back to Cape Town.  I am a complete wine enthusiast and as I had never been before I was really looking forward to experiencing something new!  Walking through the estate I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the place.  The tasting room looks out onto one of the estates glorious vineyards with the snow-capped mountains creating a picture perfect back drop.  With the fire roaring, we settled down and enjoyed the tasting which was really incredible.  Having never tasted their wines before I was blown away by the depth of their flavour and I loved every one!  We also decided to order a cheese and charcuterie platter from their restaurant which was not only easy on the eyes but was probably one of the best I’ve had in my wine tasting adventures.

What a perfect weekend!

A xx


Boesmanskloof Hike

Firstly let me start by saying that I do not like camping.  I would honestly rather do absolutely ANYTHING else besides camping.  Unless its glamping of course!

A few friends had been chatting about doing a weekend away to Hermanus with the intention of hiking up to a “hut” in the mountains on the Saturday, spending the night there, and then hiking back the next day.  NOT my idea of fun.  I was all for spending a weekend in Hermanus but I was far more keen on spending the weekend exploring the incredible wine route along the Hemel en Aarde Valley which consists of 12 stunning wine farms dotted along the picturesque route.

Now that’s my idea of a great weekend away!  However, wine tasting was promised on Sunday and so I ended up committing to going along for the hike too.  What was portrayed as a rather leisurely stroll turned into the most grueling four and a half hours of my life!  Now I am proud to say that due to favourable genetics I am a naturally fit person, and after 3 hours of trekking through the glorious wilderness I had had enough and was determined to get to that bloody hut as fast as my little legs would carry me.

When I get on a mission there is no stopping me!  And so to the surprise of my fellow hikers (specifically the guys in the group) I powered on by myself and ended up at the hut 30 minutes before everyone else!  I have to say it was worth it to see the awe on their faces!  The hike turned out to be a truly incredible experience, with beauty I had honestly never seen before.  One of my favourite parts was coming across a stunning natural dam that a few of my more adventurous friends decided to take a dip in.  I for one did not want to risk dying of hypothermia!

The “hut” turned out to be a gorgeous little cabin with proper beds, a kitchen and dining room, a hot shower and a flushing toilet.  Thank the Lord!! And so it was a well deserved respite after making my legs endure what felt like climbing Mt Everest.  Once everyone else arrived the evening consisted of drinking wine, playing card games and sharing a meal together.  And also making the decision that there was not a chance we were going to attempt the hike back the following day!  Luckily we sorted out a lift back and so the weekend ended with exploring some wine farms and having dinner at Lizette’s in Hermanus which I can highly recommend!

All in all it was an absolutely fantastic weekend and many special memories were made.  I would actually highly recommend the hike but make sure that if you want to make it a more relaxed experience to give yourself the full day to get to the hut.  It is a 16 km hike after all!

A xx

P.S. If you’re interested in going on this adventure click on the following link: Boesmanskloof Mcgregor Hike


Jordan Wine Estate

On Saturday I had the amazing experience of visiting Jordan Wine Estate for the very first time!  I have tasted their wine before at restaurants and have even bought bottles from the shops to enjoy at home but I had never actually been to the estate.  With it only being an hours drive from Cape Town, I thought I would go and have the full experience at their tasting room!

The wine estate is located in Stellenbosch at the end of a long winding road, lined with trees and stunning natural beauty.  It was a chilly, rainy day and the drizzle and mist made everything have a mystical, almost enchanted aura.  I knew I was in for a treat.

I was treated to two different tastings, the first was a tasting of 6 wines all from their Chameleon range.  All the proceeds of the range go towards the Jordan Chameleon Research Bursary which is an initiative started by the Jordans, whereby the tuition and research costs of a PhD student is funded by the proceeds.  What an incredible way to give back to the community, and on top of that the wines form the Chameleon range are just gorgeous!

The second tasting consisted of 3 of their best wines, each being served in its own uniquely shaped glass to enhance the flavour of the wine.  My favourite was the Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2016 .  The tastes of lime, citrus and fragrant oak spice come through with a full, rich, slightly buttery taste left in the mouth.  Absolute heaven!!!

We decided to get a cheese and charcuterie board to accompany the last tasting which was absolutely delicious and hit the spot perfectly.  Yet another reason to visit this incredible estate!  Make sure to pay Jordan Wine Estate a visit the next time you’re in the area, you won’t be disappointed.

A xx

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The Farmers Table Media Launch

On May 22nd I was lucky enough to be invited to the media launch of an incredible company called The Farmers Table.  This company is one of the only in South Africa to see the gap in the market for selling locally produced, organic farm produce that’s accessible from your couch at home!  The website is an online market where you can purchase fresh farm milk, cheeses, charcuterie, jams, nut butters, vegetables, wines, beers and so much more.  How fantastic is that!

Their company ethos is all about empowering and giving back to the local community while at the same time making sure that all of their produce is sourced from the best local producers.  They want to serve the community with their business in any way possible – whether this be through supporting local social justice initiatives or helping small-batch producers become more sustainable.  The below quotes sum up The Farmers Table beautifully.

WE DON’T WANT PERFECT, WE WANT HONEST.

WE WANT TO LIVE LESS OUT OF HABIT, AND MORE OUT OF INTENT.

WE WANT TO BE FEARLESSLY AUTHENTIC. 

I can’t wait to be supporting such an inspiring company whose main mission is to give everyone an experience of real, wholesome food.

Their products already look mouth watering on the website, but getting to experience and enjoy them truly was incredible.

The event was held in a small local restaurant consisting of just the one dining room, with an abundant harvest table of deliciousness waiting for us.  There was wine flowing all evening, all the food you could eat and a room filled with laughter and conversation.  What could be more perfect?

A xx

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Klein Constantia

A few weekends ago my incredible friend Jamie took me with her to go experience the wine tasting at Klein Constantia wine estate.  I had never been before so I was excited to try out a different wine farm and to have a new experience.  The estate is absolutely beautiful and the drive to the restaurant and tasting room makes you feel as though you are somewhere deep in the country side.  The long driveway is lined with beautiful big trees on both sides and right by the main building is a field with horses.

The building is a beautiful red brick establishment that makes you excited for what’s awaiting inside.  On the one end of the building is the tasting room which has the most spectacular center serving table showing all of their delicious wines.  Through a corridor, visible from the tasting room, lies The Bistro.  I haven’t had the experience of going just yet but I am absolutely dying to as the restaurant is run by Cordon Bleau chef Graham Davies who has traveled throughout Europe exploring his passion for food.  He aims to showcase the rich culinary history of South African cuisine through his “farm to table” theme, popular in most modern restaurants today.

The tasting comprises of 7 wines of your choice including a taste of their incredible MCC.  Klein Constantia produce two ranges of wines: the Estate range, an accessible and easy-drinking KC range and their iconic natural sweet dessert wine, Vin de Constance.  You can choose any 7 wines of your choice.

I’ll start with the positives:

Their wines truly are delicious and since I’m such a fan of dessert wines, I had to include it in my tasting too.  I have to say it is absolutely gorgeous and I will definitely treat myself to a bottle soon!  I am a lover of chardonnay and their’s truly is delicious, it isn’t as buttery and rich as I normally like but it’s very easy drinking while still getting that after taste of oak and vanilla.

Now onto the negatives:

The tastings are tiny!!!  I’m talking maybe 3-4 ml which is literally one sip.  I was pretty disappointed because you hardly get to enjoy the taste or really experience the wines fully.  I also felt that the tasting was extremely rushed.  We had hardly sipped back our meager portion when our waitress was back with the next one!  Hardly enough time to let your brain register what you’re drinking, and certainly not enough time to enjoy any conversation with my dear friend.  Another unfortunate thing is that they don’t have a liquor license permitting them to offer tasting outside on their exquisite lawns which is such a waste of their gorgeous property.  So even on the most sunny and brilliant days you are forced to sit inside a dark, chilly building missing out on spectacular weather.  This is something I really feel they need to do something about because it really isn’t a place that I would want to go to again based purely on the venue of the tasting.

With that being said, Klein Constantia do produce beautiful wines so I would suggest buying a bottle and enjoying it on your lawn instead!

A xx

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The Bubbly Festival – Champagne & Bubbly

Hey guys!

I have such exciting news…  If you follow my blog you’ll know that I absolutely LOVE champagne.  I also love dressing up all fancy and sipping on champagne because it just makes me feel like I’ve made it in life.  Am I right?

Well guess what?  Now you CAN make it by attending The Bubbly Festival – Champagne & Bubbly , happening on October 27th at the Meerendal Wine Estate in Cape Town!!

I’m partnering with Events & More to give out FREE TICKETS, yes you read correctly, FREE TICKETS by running some cool competitions as we approach the event.  So you better stay tuned so that you don’t miss out!!

I’m also going to be at the event myself and would love to take some awesome pictures of you guys having the best time while looking absolutely fabulous to post on my blog.  Click on the link to  The Bubbly Festival – Champagne & Bubbly to reserve your spot.

A xx

 

 

 


Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers and Ribs

I had the incredible opportunity to pay a visit to the famous Gibson’s at the V&A waterfront on Saturday night.  I had been noticing their posts on social media for quite some time and each time they posted a picture of one of their mouthwatering burgers or milkshakes I honestly started salivating!  That’s how good they looked!

But as we all know, Instagram doesn’t always portray reality, so I decided to go and try it out for myself.  The experience when I walked into the restaurant was not what I was expecting at all!  I had envisioned the decor and feel of the place to represent an American diner, with vinyl chairs and plastic table cloths (which I’m not much of a fan of by the way).  But as I walked in I was blown away by the sleek, sophisticated decor; the filament bulbs hanging from the ceiling, the geometric mirrors and the slick minimalist furniture.  I was happily impressed!  The decor and feel of a place directly effects the enjoyment of my experience there, so I knew we were off to a good start.

The next thing to mention was the impeccable service.  As we arrived we were taken to our table and immediately a waitress came along to tend to our needs.  This, unfortunately, is not a common thing at most restaurants in South Africa and it can completely ruin your evening when you have been sitting at a table for a good 15 minutes before someone slowly ambles over to ask what you would like.  Our waitress was friendly, attentive, engaging and was always close by when we needed her.  Another big tick in my books!

Now lets get onto the most important part of the evening…THE FOOD.  If you are an indecisive person then I would highly recommend reviewing the menu a few days before as it can be slightly overwhelming.  They have close to 50 different burgers to choose from which all look absolutely mouth watering!! Our poor waitress kept coming back for our orders and I think it took nearly 20 minutes for us to finally make up our minds.  One of the things I really appreciated, which I have never experienced at any other burger place before, was the care and detail they go into to make sure you get EXACTLY what you want.

How would you like your burger cooked?, would you like raw or caramelized onions?, would you like hand cut fries; sweet potato fries; a baked potato or a side salad? would you like half and half of normal chips and sweet potato chips?”

Unfortunately we were far too stuffed after our burgers to order a milkshake, but I suggest you do!  They have 120 different milkshakes to choose from and they look like works of art rather than that standard milkshake you order at your local fast food joint.

I’ll have to go again to try one out for myself!

A xx

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