Today is my Wedding Anniversary… 13 years and going strong! What a happy milestone (despite the number!!)
To celebrate my husband and I planned to spend a day this past weekend out in the winelands and as Franschhoek is one of my all-time favourite small towns and the place where we have celebrated this special day before it was an obvious choice.
We had planned to drive through on Saturday morning and spend a few child-free hours but as the weekend approached I started thinking how much better it would be to get away for a night too! Thankfully grannies, uncles, aunties and friends came on board to help me sort out a rather hectic schedule with our 2 kids and then at the very last minute we phoned and booked a b&b for Friday night! And it was totally worth all the last minute packing and planning…
We headed out of town around 3pm on Friday and got to Franschhoek at 5 (an hour longer than usual unfortunately due to Friday traffic!) BUT once we spotted the first vineyards we relaxed. A quick pit stop for the obligatory wine tasting to kick start out celebration found us at Vrede en Lust and we managed to sneak in a few minutes before they closed the tasting room!
Then it was off to discover where exactly my husband had booked us for the night… usually my domaine, but I let him lead and was very pleasantly surprised with his great choice! Les Chambres is a lovely little B&B walking distance from the main street, shops and restaurants. The owner was friendly and welcoming. The room was lovely – large and luxurious. And the bathroom was gorgeous with a big roll-top bath that I made a date with immediately!
I decided a short cat nap was in order (I mean WHEN do you ever do that at 5pm as a mom? I’ll tell you -> NEVER) and my husband went for a little wander around the village to find a restaurant for supper. Again he made a great choice and picked Kalfi’s, not one of the many fine dining options in the village, but a laid-back local favourite which served delicious food – the ribs and mushroom/ bacon pasta are recommended! Unfortunately the wine list was a bit sparse for those not wishing to buy a bottle and our Malva Pudding was a dry instead of sticky and sweet but the great service made up for it as they brought us a HUGE slice of chocolate cake on the house to make up for it!
The next morning we indulged in a lie-in and then headed in to enjoy breakfast in the dining area before heading out for our anniversary experience at Anthonij Rupert Wine Estate just outside the town…
Now we both love a good wine farm. In fact, we often head out to the winelands for a day trip to explore our beautiful countryside to have lunch or stock up on some reasonably priced wine. I love how a short drive in any direction from Cape Town can result in you feeling like you’re on a holiday somewhere exotic and as a bona fide Francophile (look it up!) I adore Franschhoek and have visited many times but surprisingly I had never been to Anthonij Rupert Wine Estate, I hadn’t even heard of it! And I was blown away….
We arrived at 11am and were only ready to leave after 4pm. Yes, we spent over 5 hours enjoying the gorgeous gardens, wonderful wines, fabulous food and historical heritage of this amazing wine estate and it’s neighbour L’Ormarins, owned by the same family.
We were greeted on arrival with a glass (or 2) of the delicious L’Ormarins MCC sparkling wine and it made for the perfect way to celebrate the special day! We were then given a history of the farm and some info about the current owners and the various activities available for our itinerary…
First up was a tour of the historic Manor House, built in approx 1833, which has been restored to it’s former glory and furnished in mid 19th century Cape Dutch style. It’s a fascinating insight into what life was like in this part of the world almost 200 years ago and as someone who loves these sorts of things I was intrigued. Visitors can step into the past and enjoy this mini-museum free of charge!
A great offering that you might be keen to combine with a trip out to the farm is their High Tea. This is available for small and large groups and is served on the outside patio, in the dining room or for small groups of 8 or less under the gazebo in the rose garden! We were fortunate enough to indulge in a small sampling of the High Tea treats and I can honestly say they were some of the best I’ve ever tried. I will certainly be back for the real deal soon as it’s the perfect place and way to celebrate a special occasion. Please note however that bookings need to be made 24 hours prior to arrival!
The Manor House is also the setting of the wine tasting room for the Anthonij Rupert and Cape of Good Hope ranges and we headed out the back door to explore the gorgeous rose garden and enjoy and intimate wine tasting amidst the scented blooms in the gazebo.
First up was the Cape of Good Hope range of white wines made from the oldest vines found around the Cape. My favourite was the super light and fresh Altima Sauvignon Blanc and I was also very surprised by the Serruria Chardonnay, not my usual choice of wine due as I’m not a fan of heavy oak, but this one was pleasantly light. I loved doing this wine tasting, not only because of the unique location, but because I left feeling more informed as a wine drinker. And I also learnt to speak out about what I smell on the nose of a wine. When I first thought “floor polish” after sipping the Laing Semillon, I kept quiet thinking that would be a rather naive description, only to hear Gidi, our lovely hostess for the day, also use the description! After 5 whites it was onto the reds… these being from the very prestigious Anthonij Rupert Collection. We sampled the Optima, Merlot and Syrah and discovered a bit more about the intense selection process that goes into choosing the very best of the best grapes for these wines!
Then it was time to head on to discover more of this glorious estate, on the neighbouring farm, L’Ormarins. To get there we caught the tram. Yes you read that right! There is a custom built tram that shuttles visitors between the two sections of the farm – the tasting rooms on Anthonij Rupert and The Franschhoek Motor Museum on L’Ormarins. And it was so much fun. I’ve never been on a tram before and this one took you up and around parts of the farm not usually open to the public. A fun experience that was well worth it!
The Franschhoek Motor Museum is home to one of the largest privately owned car collections in the world. I had heard of, and driven past, this museum before but just never stopped and gone inside. And not that I’ve discovered what lies behind the doors I will be back again and again. It was such a surprise, and for me who knows nothing about cars I was amazed at how interesting I found everything!
With over 280 cars in the collection, only 80 are displayed at one time making this a museum you can visit time and again while never getting bored! It’s a unique place to visit as it allows you to look back at more than 100 years of motoring history through a unique collection of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and memorabilia.
My husband was in his element and I found it fascinating. I can’t wait to take my dad and my son back to discover it’s delights. So much history here! To get an idea of what cars are currently on display visit the website here: www.fmm.co.za/on-display/
Time had flown and we were well past our lunch time reservation time so it was back on the tram for us and off to Terra del Capo tasting room and restaurant for another wine tasting experience and then some food!
The Terra del Capo Tasting Room is situated at the entrance to the property in a gorgeous modern building. The Italian-inspired Terra del Capo range of wines pairs perfectly with the delicious antipasto served in the restaurant below the tasting room. We sampled the range of wines and then sat down to enjoy a sampling of their antipasti platters made with fresh local ingredients from the farm. It was the perfect end to our day… a relaxed, leisurely lunch of calamari, olives, cheese, charcuterie meats, artichoke salad and plenty of wine!
R10- R60 pp per Wine Flight;
R140 pp for High Tea
R60 adults; R50 pensioners; R50 motor club members; R30 children (3-12yrs) for Franschhoek Motor Museum
Anthonij Rupert Wine Estate
Tel: 021 874 9041
Franschhoek Valley, Franschhoek, 7690
GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 33˚52’48.47” S Longitude: 19˚01’26.60” E
Terra del Capo Tasting Room:
Tuesdays to Sundays 10h00 to 16h30
Closed: Mondays, Good Friday and Christmas day.
Anthonij Rupert Tasting Room:
Mondays to Saturdays, 10h00 to 17h00
Closed: Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas day.
Franschhoek Motor Museum:
Mon – Fri: 10h00 – 17h00 (last admittance 16h00)
Sat & Sun: 10h00 – 16h00 (last admittance 15h00)
Open most public holidays (phone for confirmation)
No motor bikes
Images: Kathryn Rossiter
Unfortunately my camera is in for repairs so the pics are all from my Instagram feed. Apologies if you follow me there and have already seen them!
0 – Vrede en Lust, Les Chambres, Kalfi’s;
1 – Anthonij Rupert Wine Estate experience incl Wine Tasting, High Tea, Franschhoek Motor Museum and Lunch at Terra del Capo