Once you get to Franschhoek you immediately notice it: this is a different part of South Africa. We left the Ebb and Flow campsite in Wilderness that morning (which is a must visit if you’re in the area). When driving on the R60 you’ll see the first wine estates being Robertson and Du Toits Kloof.
The real fun begins when you’re actually in Franschhoek. Over 50 wine estates can be found in and around this pretty town. The best thing about these estates is that at most of them you can just show up and taste some excellent wines for only a couple of Rands. After this short intro on Franschhoek I’ll describe a typical (/our) day in Franschhoek.
09.00u – 10.30u: Breakfast at Café BonBon
If you’re going to taste wine for the better part of the day you better have a proper breakfast. When we were here six years ago with my parents we stumbled upon this lovely estate with an even better breakfast. The only ‘issue’ was that we forgot both the name and the location of this place. With a reverse Google Image Search of a photo I took back then and a bit of luck we drove off in the direction of La Petite Dauphine. According to Google there was supposed to be a restaurant called Café BonBon at their premises.
Once we arrived at their estate we recognised it immediately. Wine ranks as far as you could see and pretty flowers and plants at the entrance. Seated on the terrace we ordered ‘Eggs Royale’: Eggs Benedict with some smoked salmon served on a muffin. To make it even better we ordered some tea and fresh orange juice and had a cappuccino after breakfast. I’ve had worse breakfasts than this one.
10.30u – 12.00u: Wine tasting at Eikehof
With this perfect breakfast we were ready for some wine tasting. The relatively small wine estate of Eikehof, with a production of about 20.000 bottles a year, was our first destination. Walking through the stylish building we were welcomed by the owners on the terrace of the estate.
We picked a pretty place at one of the picknick tables in the shade of an old oak (Eik means Oak in Dutch and Afrikaans) and got a brief introduction into the wines they produced. Apparently they’ve also the oldest African producer of Semillion. Of course this delicate wine had to be tasted by us. With an average production of about 300 bottle a year we had to enjoy and experience every sip of it. After tasting a couple more Eikehof wines we were convinced (didn’t take that much) to try the local Port. Since you can’t use the Port name in South Africa it was called a ‘Cape Ruby Grandpa’s 1942 Ford’. Grandpa’s Ford was actually parked right behind us so that added to the experience. We then decided to move on to the next estate after we’ve bought a bottle of Cape Ruby.
12.00u – 13.30u: Lunch at Boschendal
A bit further down the road you’ll find the Boschendal estate. This enormous estate is something completely different. Two restaurants, wine cellar tours, a herb garden, picknick spots you name it and they have got it here. We went for a ‘light’ lunch at the Deli. Jolene took the Gazpacho and I had a proper burger. We then went for a short stroll on the estate before heading back into town.
13.30u – 14.00u: Chocolate at Huguenot Fine Chocolates
For us Franschhoek is also known for one particular pleasing store in the main street of the town. At Huguenot Fine Chocolates you’ll find the most wonderful (and cheap) Belgian inspired chocolate in the area. Although we couldn’t handle more food after that amazing breakfast and good lunch we decided to stock up on some chocolate. That’s the benefit of having a fridge in your car.
14.00u – 16.00: Tasting at Dieu Donné
That it’s not just about the wine itself but also about the surroundings of the estate is something that Dieu Donné proves. Way up high in the mountains you’ll find yourself sipping and tasting their wines on a lovely terrace overlooking the Franschhoek valley. Despite the amazing view and the great service we didn’t really like the wines except for the Chardonnay. It could just as well be that we simply tasted enough for the day…
16.00u – 19.00u: Break at Otter’s Bend Lodge
After a day full of wine and food in the sun we had to relax a bit at our campsite Otter’s Bend Lodge before heading for dinner. Since they actually took one booking too many (us) we were given a spot next to this old English bus. The location of the lodge was perfect since it was in walking distance of Franschhoek’s main street with all of its restaurants.
19.00u – 21.30u: Dining at French Connection
When I managed to find my jeans at the bottom of my clothing ‘box’, you have to dress up a bit once in Franschhoek, we walked towards the French Connection. There we had the last wine of the day, a Eikehof Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, which paired perfectly with our steaks. Since we had mussels (Jolene) and a mozzarella salad as a starter and panna cotta (Jolene) and a Belgian Chocolate cake to wrap it all up we were done for the day. What a tough day in Franschhoek.