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!

cafe bon bon restaurant
The Insider’s Guide to Dining in The Cape Winelands
By: Joanna Hurlston

Working in the tourism and hospitality industry for over seventeen years has landed me in some near perfect places, and when I started Time And Away in 2014, it graciously led me to the Cape Winelands.

I’ve been terrifically spoilt with my ventures, and my most splendid home to date has been on Boschendal Wine Farm (just a stone’s throw away from the stunningly picturesque town of Franschhoek). If you’ve visited the area, you’ll be no stranger to the abundance of breath-taking natural beauty, relentlessly warm hospitality, and most importantly, the decadent dining experiences.

If you live for weekends brimming with impeccable wine and even better food, then I write this in the hope that your footsteps will retrace mine into endless afternoons filled with dappled sunshine and sweet self indulgence. So, without further ado: from comforting country dining to experimental flavour fusions, these are the homes of my very favourite memorably moreish meals in the Cape Winelands.

Café Bon Bon

cape winelands - cafe bon bon restaurant

If you’re a lover of the sleepy satisfaction that comes along with a homemade meal that’s “just like your mother used to make it” (but better), then look no further. This laidback country-esque gem surprises and delights with hearty flavour combinations and generous portions. Café Bon Bon has it all: from the thoughtfully thorough wine list, to the warm but relaxed service, to of course, the food. Expect the taste of home in every bite with dishes like tender, farm-reared pork belly, pan-seared farm lamb with pomegranate flavours, and exotic wild mushroom risotto.

Roca Restaurant

cape winelands - roca restaurant

This picture-perfect restaurant-cum-wedding-venue is so much more than just a feast for the eyes. The menu is primarily Mediterranean, featuring dishes like baba ganoush, falafels, crispy calamari, smoked olives and snails. While the delectable dishes come drastically close, I have to admit that the absolute pinnacle of Roca restaurant is the scenery. The restaurant boasts breath-taking views of the valley guaranteed to make you lose track of time and space.

Joostenberg Bistro

cape winelands - joostenberg bistro

Joostenberg Bistro is the ideal spot for long, lazy Sundays filled with good company and endless laughter. The ambience is luxuriously relaxed, cosy, and suited to families and friends alike. The traditional French cuisine embodies all the elements of simple good food, and on any given day you can experience dishes like herb-crusted pork loin, Cape linefish with white wine, and charcuterie boards. Every dish is hearty, robust, and above all, made from scratch with exceptional amounts of love.

Cattle Baron Grill Room at Saxenburg

cape winelands - cattle baron saxenburg

The Cattle Baron Grill Room is located on the splendidly beautiful Saxenburg wine farm in Stellenbosch. They serve classic meat dishes such as beef fillet Madagascar, scrumptiously tender fall-off-the-bone spare ribs, and their succulent signature T-bone. For less carnivorous palates they also serve an array of superb fresh seafood, chicken dishes and delicious vegetarian dishes (complimented by a wine list of gorgeous Saxenburg cultivars). If you’d prefer, there’s also the option to take your meal out in the farm fresh air with a rustic picnic on the sprawling lawns – perfect for friends and families.

Reuben’s at Chamonix

reubens franschhoek

Cape Town foodies will be no stranger to Reuben Riffel’s divine flavour amalgamations – and the beautiful Chamonix wine farm is the perfect accompaniment to his creations. Reuben Riffel has returned to Racine (which aptly translates into the French word “roots”) where he started his culinary career. He creates stunningly sophisticated bistro style cuisine,and this is where you need to go to find his signature miso braised beef cheek, roasted pork belly with sesame braised rib, and pepper crusted springbok. If you’re one for the simpler things in life, the menu features seventeen dishes that embody natural flavours and melt in your mouth textures.

And there you have it!

If you’re looking for a place to rest your head that is as luxurious as your dining expeditions, then look no further than our characteristically opulent wineland villas in the area. From beautiful Franschhoek villas such as 16 Cabriere and the 6 bedroom Garden Manor in Stellenbosch, to the avant garde yet cosy 2 bedroom aptly named The Gallery in Franschhoek, we offer beautiful housing suited to every unique taste and family size. Make your venture away a splendidly unforgettable one.

Salut! Joanna Hurlston