Franschhoek Town Mountain Views
Franschhoek: A Winelands Paradise

By Joanna Hurlston

I was lucky enough to live in Franschhoek for two years before moving to The Mother City, and I was completely in love from day one. I frequently return and fondly reminisce, and I’m pleased to say that it hasn’t lost any of its magic over the years.

The valley was originally settled in 1688 by French refugees, many of whom were given land by the Dutch government in a valley called Olifantshoek (Elephants’ corner), because of the elephants that used to roam into the valley. The name of the area soon changed to le Coin Français (The French Corner), and later to Franschhoek (Dutch for “French Corner”).
La Motte, Champagne, La Cotte, Cabrière, La Provence, Bourgogne, La Terra de Luc and La Dauphine were among some of the first established farms, most of which still have their original Cape Dutch farm houses today.

Franschhoek is the food and wine heartland of the country, brimming with warm hospitality, world class cuisine and the finest wines – and the scenery is absolutely beautiful. I love how even through the town has grown drastically, it still maintains its rustic small town charm with its gorgeous original Dutch architecture. Throw in the sweeping, lush vineyards, and you’ve got paradise!

There’s so much to see, taste, and (ample!) wine to drink. Here’s a few of my Franschhoek favourites:

FRANSCHHOEK ART

Franschhoek is known for being home to a variety of exceptional art – from contemporary, to classic, and everything in between. There’s nothing that I enjoy more than a good Saturday stroll from gallery to gallery. These spots should definitely be on your go-to list:

  • Holden Manz is a contagious hub of colourful prints, South African realism and eye-catching oil landscapes.
  • Delfthuis is neatly tucked at the back of an airy courtyard, and is an antique lover’s dream come true. They specialise in Delft porcelain from the Netherlands, China and Japan. The owners have loads of interesting stories about the history of the pieces, and they also specialise in antique Hermes scarves from Europe.
  • The Vineyard Gallery is located in a renovated Victorian home and has a unique air of charm and elegance. It showcases exquisite locally-sourced artwork, and is invitingly bright and airy. A must!

WINING & DINING

The Werf Restaurant Boschendal

Boschendal Wine Farm

This spot takes the cake, because it (quite literally) feels like home to me. I’ve spent many lazy Sunday afternoons there, sipping crisp white wine with loved ones.
It’s nestled in the Drakenstein Valley, surrounded by grand mountain landscapes and beautiful lush gardens. They’re dedicated to serving wholesome farm-to-table food, sourced from their veg gardens and free range, pasture-fed herds of cattle. Yum!

cafe bon bon franschhoek restaurant

Cafe Bon Bon

This little gem is absolutely to die for. They serve delightful meals that taste like home, generous in size and packed with homely flavours. Café Bon Bon has it all: from the detailed wine list, to the warm authentic service, and of course, the food. And there is also a rather handsome resident cockerel – much to Pepe’s displeasure. Try the decadent honey glazed melt-in-your-mouth short ribs or the seared farm lamb with Greek flavours.

foliage restaurant franschhoek

Foliage Restaurant

Foliage is the new go-to for delicious freshly foraged treats, straight from the hills of Franschhoek. This niche yet super popular spot is making waves and attracting a wildly enthusiastic audience from all over the show. For this reason, booking is essential!
Many of the dishes are packed with delectable elements of sorrel and basil, forest mushrooms, wild herbs, river greens, nettles and pine rings. The “natural” theme is continued through methods of slow smoking, charring and glazing, and a strict free-range and pasture-fed meat policy. This is definitely one treat not to miss.

WHERE TO STAY IN FRANSCHHOEK

When you visit this magical little town, we’d love to have you! We have plenty of properties on offer, but these are on the top three on my list:

16 Cabriere Franschhoek Luxury Villa

16 Cabriere

16 Cabriere is set in the heart of Franschhoek and overlooks gorgeous mountain, cherry blossom and vineyard views. It’s built in the classic Cape Dutch Style, complete with thatched roofing and rustic charm.

Villa Amelie Franschhoek Villa Accommodation

Amelie

Amelie is plush, luxurious and homely, with a contagiously calming energy.
It’s located close to the center of Franschhoek, amongst the bustle of the town. This country-styled home has stunning mountains views and is exceptionally well looked after. The pool and garden area are absolutely breathtaking!

Villa Apaltha Franschhoek Villa

Apaltha

The most spectacular feature that Villa Apaltha has to offer is its magnificent mountain views – plus, it’s on the doorstep of a few amazing wine estates! It’s tastefully decorated with immense attention to detail. Homely, relaxing and very spacious, it’s ideal for families and friends who want a relaxing and luxurious stay in a stunning location.

And there you have it. I hope this blog will persuade you to head on down to Franschhoek and experience the magic yourself!

Until next time. Salut!

waterfront-food-market
Cape Town: The Market Scene
By Joanna Hurlston

There’s a reason why markets are always on my weekend itinerary – the combination of mouth-watering smells, incredible tastes, sounds and bubbly crowds are perfect for a lazy Saturday morning of people watching. And as a Cape Town local, the choice is endless, from the sunny seaside Hout Bay market, to the super-trendy Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. Each one has a set of unique charms that make it super special in its own way.

These are a few of my favourite Cape Town weekend gems:

the-biscuit-mill-woodstock

The Biscuit Mill Market, Woodstock

The award-winning Neighbourgoods Market, more commonly known as “The Biscuit Mill” is my favourite weekend go-to for shopping, indulgent eating, and mellow music in the sunshine. The super trendy hotspot is chock-a- block with gorgeous wholesome artisanal goods, fresh locally sourced produce, and all round happy vibes. It’s packed with over 100 speciality traders, farmers, fine-food purveyors, bakers, organic gardeners and grocers, mongers, butchers and local chefs that and you exactly what you’re buying, how it’s made and where the ingredients are sourced. My favourite Biscuit Mill combo? The incredible crispy Flammkuchen flatbread packed with bacon-ey deliciousness, and a glass of gorgeous Sauvignon Blanc. Yum!

oz-farm-market

Oranjezicht City Farm Market

There’s nothing better starting your day with a lazy stroll on the Sea Point promenade, with the Oranjezicht City Farm Market as the end destination. The market is held every Saturday at the Granger Bay site of the V&A Waterfront, and is a charmingly rustic farmer's market for local farmers and artisanal foodies. It’s absolutely perfect for stocking up on fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, home-baked bread, dairy, free-range eggs, honey, muesli, and delicious cooked and raw foods. If you’ve got a green thumb, they also stock edible plants and seedlings, compost and gardening supplies and equipment. This market is packed with jovial families, cyclists, joggers, and (much to my delight!) loads of fluffy friends.

bay-harbour

The Bay Harbour Market, Hout Bay

The Bay Harbour Market (or The “Hout Bay Market” to locals) is one of my absolute favourites, and the stunning seaside drive there adds to the whole experience. It’s charismatically cosy atmosphere is it’s best feature, topped off with a snuggly fireplace and live music acts. The market is made up of pop-up and semi-permanent stalls in a charmingly shabby old factory. The market has an epic choice of delicious foods from around the globe, from Chinese, to Mexican, to Mediterranean, to African. I love trying small nibbles from a number of different stalls, like a multi-cultural tapas feast. Throw in a zesty Bloody Mary from the The Naked Drinks bar, and you’ve got a winner. It’s perfect for South African memorabilia and locally made gifts, and has earned it’s winning reputation as a celebration of South African creativity, food and culture.

The MOJO Indoor Market, Sea Point

The MOJO Market is the new kid on the block, but it’s perks are quickly setting it apart from the rest! This 7-day- a-week food and lifestyle market is nestled perfectly between the picturesque promenade and bustling Regent Road, and has 45 designer retail stores, a daily fresh goods section, and 25 food vendors. The best thing about it? Unlike most markets, it opens at 9am and closes at 10pm, which means you can visit (basically) whenever you want, for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. I’m gradually working my way through each of the stalls, but my favourite nibbles so far are the amazingly fresh poke bowls at Hokey Poke, and the super juicy burgers at IYO – washed down with a lovely glass of bubbles or an icy craft beer. It’s perfect for a lazy Saturday morning brunch with friends and family.

waterfront-food-market

The V&A Food Market

The V&A Market, like The Mojo Market, it’s open seven days a week! The market is packed with fresh, wholesome street food from every corner of the world, from German, to American, to Thai, to African, to Mediterranean – and that’s just a few.

The market is indoors with loads of inside and outside seating, which is great for window shopping, free food sampling and delicious feasting, rain or shine. The best thing about this market is the gorgeous Table Mountain view. Simply divine!

And there you have it. I hope you enjoy each of these magnificent markets as much as I do. Salut!

Until next time,

Joanna