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Published: December 3rd 2011
I was lucky enough to be based in the Cape’s wine country and as a - possibly a tad too devoted - oenophile I simply had to go wine tasting. There are dozens of wine estates in a relatively small area and the most difficult part was to choose where to go. I started off at Stellenbosch, famous for its university, beautiful Cape architecture and oak-lined avenues. It is a pleasant town where you can easily spend a day ambling around the many pretty shops, have lunch at one of the lovely street cafes and then sit on the green and watch the world go by.
From Stellenbosch I slowly made my way to Franschhoek through stunning mountain scenery and lush vineyards. I visited six wine estates and tasted some exceptional wines. But like the scent of too many perfume samples at the duty-free tends to dull the olfactory sense so does the sipping of too many different wines drown the sense of taste, and eventually everything blended together and I found it difficult to tell a 300 Rand wine from a 50 Rand one. But it must be said that by that stage I was happy to just go
with the flow and enjoy the experience...
Franschhoek, 33km east of Stellenbosch, is much smaller than its glamorous neighbour. Here the main street is also the town centre, where virtually every building houses either a shop, a hotel or, in most cases, a restaurant. Franschhoek was founded by Huguenots in the 18th century and since my ancestors were Huguenots I felt obliged to stay and find out more about its history (although when I’m honest the real reason why I went there in the first place is because Franschhoek is known for 3 things – wine, good food and chocolate, which in my opinion pretty much makes it a culinary heaven on earth worthy of being checked out...)
Franschhouk claims to be the home of South Africa’s best restaurant and since eating is one of my hobbies and I am generally speaking a hedonist I simply had to have dinner there. The Tasting Rooms is run by Margot Janse and prides itself of serving traditional African food with a twist. I was presented with big plates garnished with what appeared to be three molecules of food, but exquisite molecules at that and after nine courses I actually felt
that the sum of all these delicious morsels had not only made a considerable impact on my purse and my taste buds but had also created a sense of general well being that lingered for a long time after the event.
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