Exploring the Heart of the Cape Winelands – Part Two

The first leg of this journey had us focusing on some of the delights that the Stellenbosch region has to offer. We continue the next chapter as we unearth the beauty and splendour that is the Franschhoek  Wine Valley Region.

Franschhoeks (French Corner) name originated from the Protestant French Huguenots who fled France in 1688 and sought refuge here, escaping persecution for their religious beliefs. As highly trained craftsmen, they were responsible for the significant increase of the quality of wines grown and produced in the area. Today many of the farms still bare French names in tribute to the history and hard work which has now lead to one of the greatest tourist attractions of the Western Cape we see today.

Winetimes.co and the Cape Winelands District Municipality team got the day started with a visit to the quaint little cheesery, Dalewood Fromage.  Dalewood is responsible for producing artisan cheeses from the estate bred Jersey herd. Being as bio-dynamic as possible, no unnecessary antibiotics, growth or milk-producing hormones are given to the cows and no unnecessary fertilizers or insecticides are used in the pastures. Sampling some of the cheese on offer, even being so early in the morning, was a palate awakening experience of note! The creamy textures and flavours did a dance on the taste buds, leaving you unsure in which direction you would be pulled to next. With their varieties, including Brie and Camembert, I discovered the cheese that would change my take on cheeses for the rest of my life –“Boland”. If you are interested in trying out this Huguenot inspired product  then you will need to procure it from this small, intensive, artisanal farm cheesery on the R45 or speciality shops.

Dalewood Fromage 510x188 Exploring the Heart of the Cape Winelands   Part Two

Allée Blueue (Blue Avenue)run by the Dauphine family since 1999, is one of the French Inspired tribute estates. The estate, while of course being known for it’s superb wine as well as olives/olive oil, is responsible for some of the finest herbs we see in our stores today. Sweet Basil, Coriander/Dhania, Dill, Fennel, French and Garlic Chives are just a few examples of some of the aromatic herbs produced on site. A natural Greenhouse effect (Tunnels) has ben created  to provide just the right  temperature required to harvest the crop. Clever usage of colours and alien plants help to deter unwanted pests that eat the produce. Cooling sprinklers above help regulate the humid temperatures needed for optimum results.  Be sure to pop by for a visit or atleast keep your eyes open at you nearest Pick ‘n Pay store for these herbs that will enhance any dish with it’s lively flavours.

Allee Bleue Herbs 291x233 Exploring the Heart of the Cape Winelands   Part Two

When passion meets life – that is when legacy is born and it is an the apt description for Haute Cabriere. Originally granted to a French Huguenot farmer, Pierre Jourdan, on the 22 December 1694, it has been part of the Franschhoek Wine Valley fabric for over 300 years. Currently under the caring and capable hands of Achim von Arnim the legacy continues to be enriched. Famous for it’s well-known bubbly, Pierre Jourdon and Pinot Noir cultivar, the estate also boasts a wealth of history. Delectable dishes can enjoyed in it’s restaurant. If one is spoilt enough to receive a personalised tour from Achim himself then you would see the passion and zest that resonates from this charming man who is full of life and love. The tradition of “Sabrage” can be witnessed, This stems from the tradition where French soldiers were rewarded with Champagne before entering battle when they would use their sabres to free the corkamorimcork Exploring the Heart of the Cape Winelands   Part Two
by Amorim Cork
which would afford them the much needed “Dutch courage“. My highlight of  the tour was the display of “Dom Perignon” bottles suspended in Chandelier style in the cellar. These were consumed in celebration of the births of Archim’s children, celebrated annually at the exact time of each child’s birth. The formation, with a centered light, sprouts out an unintentional Sun pattern on the roof of the cellar.I believe this to be a true symbol and tribute to the beauty and heritage which is Haute Cabriere, a MUST see!

Haute Cabriere Achim 292x233 Exploring the Heart of the Cape Winelands   Part Two

In culmination of  our very educational and exciting two days of touring these regions we lunched at La Petite Ferme. We dined in the French-styled setting with beautiful garden scenery as our backdrop. Unanimously we all decided to treat ourselves to their “Home Smoked Rainbow Trout”, an experience that still leaves my mouth watering to this very moment! Be sure to pair it with one of their in-house wines. Our’s was the “La Petite Shiraz”, an unlikely choice for smoked trout and yet it paired superbly with the smoky flavours.

Le petite ferme 510x173 Exploring the Heart of the Cape Winelands   Part Two

I hope those who read these articles are enticed to go out and create their own journey, discover their own gems and make special memories as they unite with family/friends while exploring the heart of the Cape Winelands.