Known to be one of the oldest wine farms in the Groot Drakenstein area between Paarl and Franschhoek, Allée Bleue owes its name, “Blue Avenue” in French, to the statuesque blue eucalyptus trees that line either side of the driveway up to the estate.
What I was to discover upon arriving at our second destination was that not only is this a well regarded wine farm, but, owing to it’s fertile soils, it’s also a thriving herb farm too.
A wide variety of herbs are grown here including Sweet Basil, Coriander/Dhania, Dill, Fennel, French and Garlic Chives, Rocket, Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Thyme, Lemongrass, Oregano, Sorrel, Tatsoi (Spinach Mustard), Watercress, Tarragon and Chervil. Besides supplying the restarant on the farm they also supply many retail outlets across the Western Cape.
We paid a visit to see the herb growing facilities which happens in row upon row of greenhouses and to find out more about the operation from the head herb garden grower!
After our herb tour we headed back to the restaurant to enjoy a wine tasting alongside other produce from the farm – the delicious Allee Bleue Extra Virgin olive oil 2013, freshly baked bread, olives, micro herbs and a delicious salsa verde created by the chef, Beau de Toit, using herbs from the garden of course which he showed us how to make.
If you’re in the area be sure to stop by the little farm stall shop at the entrance to the estate to stock up on herbs for your next culinary creation or why not book a herb tour to find out all about which herbs to use or grow at home.
Tours start 10:30am for 11:00am every Friday and are followed by a 3 course herb-inspired lunch at Bistro at Allée Bleue (R185 per person) Bookings are essential.
Situated at the intersection of the R45 and the R310
P.S. Don’t forget you can celebrate all things French this coming weekend at Franschhoek’s Bastille Day Festival taking place on 11 & 12 July. Don your best beret and head out to the winelands to indulge in all things French. The village comes alive with various French themed celebrations and specials happening throughout the weekend or head straigh to the Food & Wine Marquee for an afternoon of wine, food and live entertainment. Tickets cost R200 per person and are available via www.webtickets.co.za. For more information visit www.franschhoek.org.za.
Images: Kathryn Rossiter