48 hours of South African Wine: A trip to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

After Cape Town,  a few days had to be spent in their winelands. For our winelands excursion we stayed at another Royal Portfolio property The Residence in Franschhoek. Again gorgeous place, beautifully decorated and we were served exquisitely.

Some pictures of the hotel…

…it’s views…

… The gorgeous rooms … 

..and incredible bathrooms

What to do there? so our two-day trip was all about wine and food! here are the wineries and restaurants we checked out Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

The food :

Kitchen at maisonIMG_8948

A beautiful restaurant, housen in the Maison winery in Franschhoek, ranked eight in Eat Out’s best of South Africa Restaurants. Great service and beautiful views. A great spot for lunch in between tastings. Some of the dishes we had:

  • Chicken, romesco, brusselsIMG_8887
  • Kohlrabi, curry, spinach, macadamia, ricottaIMG_8877
  • Lamb breast, sunchoke, hazelnut
  • IMG_8888

Overture – Considered one of the best restaurants in the area after the closing of  The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français I was very exited to try this restaurant. It did not dissapoint. The location in the hidden Valley winery (see below) is a beauty, the open kitchen was wonderful and the food top notch. I loved the presentations and the service and we had a wonderful meal. Here is what was had:

  • Amuses: Chip & Dip before a Braai; A visit to Prieska; Ostrich ham, pickled onion, home cured mustard, rye and caraway; A winter walk in the forest The starters were absolutely beautiful in presentation. My gluten free version had replaced my bread for some amazing fries that were awesome with the butters and dips and i did not miss it at all. THe vegetable chips and dips were spectacular IMG_0399.JPG
  • Starter: Smoked hake, Hathaway egg, crisp potato, celery, leek and chives  Hearty and light all at the same time. Beautifully composed and delicious.IMG_8774
  • Entree: Dry aged beef, ox tongue, jerusalem artichoke, caramelized onion, miso,
    chimichurri, confit garlic  Perfectly cooked beef, although i refused to try the tongue. I just can’t.                                                                                                                         IMG_8776
  • The palate cleanser were delicious passion fruit posicles. Delicious and refreshingimg_8787.jpg
  • Dessert: Vanilla Soufflé, roasted sesame seed ice cream: I love myself a good souffle and this one was spectacular!                                                                                                   IMG_8786

Foliage We went to Foliage with very high expectations, and of all the “nice” restaurants we went to in CapeTown and Winecountry this was probably the one we liked the least. IT just didnt meet expectations. It was good, and the menu was perfectly ok, its just that with the amazing food and experiences we had, this just did not measure up. Our menu:

  • From the Foliage garden: Pickled and compressed strawberries, heirloom carrots, lactic mulberry yoghurt, flowers                                                           IMG_8920
  • from the beach: Yellowfin tuna tartar, hake roe parfait, bokkom and wild garlic salad, apricot, almonds                                                               IMG_8923
  • from the forest: Acorn crusted grey squirrel pate, pine ring and nightshade puree, burnt oak consomme                                     IMG_8927
  • From the “veld”: Coriander and pumpkin seed crusted springbok loin, charred leek, brocoli IMG_8930
  • From the Orchards: Granadilla parfait, berry puree, apple                                                 IMG_8933

Chef table at La residence At the hotel, the chef prepared amazing chef table meal with the local ingredients from the garden. Amazing meal completely catered to my very large and intense food demands (no dairy, no gluten and no lots of other stuff) IMG_8944

The wineries : ranked in order of preference.

1.  Marianne  my favorite pinotage that I tried on the trip. We were also very happy to buy a couple of bottles of the Mandela Wine.


2. Annandale  A very small and non descript winery (its defiantly not a commercial or beautiful one) but if you like Red wines this one is for you. As a curious note, they were the ones who made the wine for the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco. The wine they created for that was named Chalbert. Corny but kind of cool all that same time IMG_8941

3. Grand Provence I think this is one of the ones where I liked the location  maybe a bit more than the wines. The art gallery is wonderful and so is the winery. However the wines were not bad, especially the high end lines. As with most of South African wines, although im 100% partial to reds, the whites are so much better.  I absolutely loved the name of their low end brand: Angels Tears. I so wanted to love that wine and take a case home, but unfortunately it was not acceptable, too sweet and not good. IMG_8950IMG_8951

4.  Hidden Valley gorgeous loation, gorgeous restaurant and the wine surpassed our expectations. A very agreable everyday pinotageIMG_8947

5. Maison another great restaurant/winery blend, that had some great house wines to pair with the food. My favorite was the Shiraz and what they call the Blan de Noir, a Rose made from Shiraz as wellIMG_8949

6. Lovane – a lovely boutique winery. The highlight was the fact that they have a 100%  Petit Verdot. I had never seen that before.  Their Burgundy type blend: Isikhati was quite good too. IMG_8942


7. Tokara Its gorgeous and the art is worth a trip, but we went for the reds and that is definitely not their forte. IMG_8943IMG_8945

Out of competition but wonderful: Babylostoren: We didn’t really  have wine here, so can’t rank the wine but I absolutely love the place and its a must visit. We went to check out the garden and the store and it’s was a wonderful surprise.  Great architecture and gardens for days it’s worth stopping in. I left with the roibbos jam which was spectacularIMG_8953IMG_8952

Other South African wines tried at dinners and hotels. The highlights, the house rose from The Residence hotel, surprisingly excellent. Hamilton Russell, all that we had was great. But my favorite probably was Villafonte.

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