Always a pleasure to visit, “the French Corner” remains a firm favourite on my list. When it comes to beautiful scenery, quaint villages, great food, wine and variety, Franschhoek (aka. the French Corner) has it all. Those 33 families of French Hugenots who settled in this truly stunning valley in the 1700’s seriously did a great job of starting something special. Their legacy has remained, and has given the village and the valley a classic French flair that is sets it apart from the rest of the Cape Winelands. It has also created the platform that lured many of the finest local and international chefs to set up shop here. In Franschhoek one can choose from many of the best restaurants in South Africa for a taste experience second to none.
We promised ourselves we would only eat one fancy meal per day, as the rich food on offer is hard to deal with more than once a day. Needless to say, we fell into the ever-present trap and ended up eating a 3 course lunch and dinner at two fabulous restaurants on Saturday, namely Grande Provence and Klein Genot, plus an excellent dinner at Reubens the night before. And what more can be said about Reubens? The classic story of “local boy comes good”. And how! What a pleasant experience all round. I will always go back. Unpretentious service and food that is simple, fancy and tasty all at once. The vibe is great and most imprtantly, it is real. Look out for his first book: Reuben Cooks. See: . Then Grande Provence, well wow! They really have created quite a place here. An incredible setting in a stunning courtyard set under ancient oak trees, looking onto manicured garden with sculptures cleverly positioned around. The indoor restaurant, wine tasting room and art gallery all lead out into the open courtyard, creating a very social atmosphere. Oh, and the food to match. Exquisite all round. See:
So it was 48 hours of taste and pleasure: so well worth it. We were lucky enough to stay at the luxurious Klein Genot Estate, where Angie and her friendly efficient staff looked after our every need. What a gem of a place – mixing old world charm with Feng Shui, Klein Genot is incredibly peaceful and spacious; surrounded by vineyards, oak-lined streams and sumptuous gardens. It is situated deep in the Franschhoek Valley, one is surrounded by high majestic mountains and one can breathe in the clean air and enjoy the peace of the surrounding farm. Klein Genot offers seriously good value for money and excellent winter specials coming up. See:
Oh and I forgot to tell you about the 3 course breakfast at Klein Genot: croissant with jam, yoghurt, fruit and muesli, followed by a full fry up (eggs, bacon, mushrooms and toast). Yum! And I have not even begun on the wine, so here we go. My best wine tastings throughout our stay were the following: Klein Genot Merlot 2006 (very smooth and good value at R68 a bottle), Grande Provence Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (very good, smooth, fruity and fresh, but costly at R130 per bottle), Reubens House Sauvignon Blanc (surprisingly nice and available by the glass). And if you like Cab Sav, look out for the Black Swan label from Klein Genot (quite costly but worth it for a treat). Reader’s note and author’s disclaimer: bear in mind, these wine reviews are coming from someone who likes his wine but is far from being any sort of connisseur.
So for some fabulous relaxing, fine wine and cuisine, get down to Franschhoek soon.