Boschendal – the perfect Wine Tourism Destination to explore the Cape Winelands.

The Great Wine Capitals Network awarded Boschendal their 2016 Best of Wine Tourism Regional award for best accommodation on a wine farm. With this in mind, I booked four nights in the recent holidays to experience first hand what is on offer.

Accommodation

The accommodation is  comfortable and stylish, offering free Wifi and DSTV – a necessity when travelling with teenagers. It might have been freezing outside, but we were super snug with electric blankets and a fireplace stocked with free wood. I had originally booked the Orchard Cottages at the top of the farm, but seeing the road was being paved, we were upgraded to Clarence Cottage which suited us perfectly. It is just behind the Werf Cottages and within walking distance of the Farm Deli.

ClarenceCottage

Clarence Cottage – Our home for 4 nights – gorgeous sunny veranda to sit and relax on with a book overlooking the private garden.

Bedroom in the Werf Cottage

Romantic one-bedroom Werf Cottage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm Deli

The cottages are fully set-up for self-catering and serviced daily by very helpful and friendly staff. Our package included breakfast at the Farm Deli. It was so relaxing to wake up each morning, have homemade ginger biscuits with our tea, before going for a run around the estate. We returned for a piping hot shower in the generous en- suite-bathrooms with homemade toiletries, before meandering over to the deli for a well-deserved and hearty farm breakfast. Each morning we tried something new and were never disappointed. 

 

A hearty farm breakfast with organic eggs, homemade sausage. freshly baked bread and veggies from the garden.

A hearty farm breakfast with organic eggs, homemade sausage. freshly baked bread and veggies from the garden.

You know you are in the country and on a farm when the information brochure includes the name and number for the local snake catcher! However that is no reason to be put off at all as Boschendal is great any time of the year and is incredibly family-friendly.

Horse-Riding

The one afternoon my teenage daughter and I went horse-riding. Having grown up reading classics such as Black Beauty and My Friend Flicker, it was great to be back on a horse in the most magnificent setting. The staff were very patient with us, as were the horses, and we thoroughly enjoyed the level – appropriate hour-long riding experience around this beautiful estate.

Riding through the food garden

Riding though the food garden in front of the main Werf restaurant – a great wine tourism experience.

Horses

Our guide and the well-looked after horses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trout-Fishing

Another day we decided to go trout-fishing. There were no bites to be had on this ‘catch and release’ activity, but it was in such a gorgeous setting overlooking the valley with the snow-capped mountains in the distance that it really did not matter. In summer if you are staying on the farm guests are welcome to swim in the dams.

Trout Fishing (2)

Dams stocked with trout – perfect for swimming in summer.

Wine-Tasting

No visit to Boschendal would be complete without tasting their huge range of wines – something to suit every palette. One afternoon we wandered up for the complimentary wine-tasting in the oldest building on the estate opposite the elegant Rhone Homestead before making our way slowly back to the cottage for an afternoon snooze. Time really slowed down and whilst it was only a four day vacation it felt a lot longer.

The Rhone Homestead (2)

Avenue leading towards the Rhone Homestead and wine-tasting.

Our relaxing stay at beautiful Boschendal once again convinced me that there are few places in the world which offer the magnificent scenery, quality of food and wine such  as the South African winelands. In the Cape, we truly have the best wine tourism experience in the world and Boschendal is testimony to that.

For booking inquiries or to plan your visit to the Cape Winelands please contact:  melissa@vindigotravel.com

 

 

A visual feast @Cafe Bon Bon

Casual Country Dining in the Winelands

Although there are lots of fine dining establishments in the Winelands catering to the Dollar and Pound laden foreign tourists, there are plenty of great reasonably priced options to delight locals who want to experience a break from the city and fresh and tasty local fare in country surrounds.

Steeped in tradition and celebrating their 330 vintage this year Jonkershuis @ Groot Constantia never disappoints. Family – friendly and always popular with locals I popped in for brunch recently and experienced excellent service, delicious scrambled egg on toasted ciabatta which was beautifully presented on a wooden board. Also on offer are their Cape Malay specials such as The Estate Tasting Plate which includes bobotie, samoosa and curry.

The relaxed setting at Jonkershuis at Groot Constantia

The relaxed setting at Jonkershuis at Groot Constantia

Few places beat the unique country charm and setting of Café Bon Bon which is located on La Petite Dauphine wine farm in Franschhoek. Turn right at the Huguenot monument and head into the back country roads and away from the bustling galleries before entering the estate. At Café Bon Bon you sit on the terrace under the oaks. The Café Bon Bon anti pasta platter is a winner and amongst other things includes Parma ham, minted zucchini, ham hock terrine, goat’s cheese accompanied by delicious bread. Booking is essential.

Cafe Bon Bon is the ultimate in relaxed country dining

The unique country charm of Cafe Bon Bon

The Country Kitchen at Mont Rochelle – Sir Richard Branson’s South African Hotel and Vineyard recently opened. It is a lovely venue separate to the main hotel buildings where the wine tasting takes place. It is open every day from 12- 6:30. In addition to tasting platters boasting a selection of local cheeses with homemade chutneys and preserves, it has a good selection of starters and mains as well as a ‘Little Chef’s Menu’. Their picnic baskets for two require 24 hour advance booking and range from R400 – R480 depending on the type selected.

The recently opened Country Kitchen at Mont Rochelle

The recently opened Country Kitchen at Mont Rochelle

La Petite Ferme – apart from the spectacular view over the Franschhoek valley, this family run restaurant with attentive staff can be relied on to deliver beautifully plated, fresh country fare. Whether it is trout caught that morning in the mountain stream or a Dender-Young family recipe, La Petite Ferme never disappoints. Booking is necessary for this popular spot.

La Petite Ferme in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley

La Petite Ferme in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley

The Deli at Tokara at the top of Helshoogte has been revamped and you can hardly get more family-friendly. Even the adults will be tempted to try out  the playground. There is standard fare of burgers and pizzas to tempt the littlies and the gift shop with free olive tastings and delectable truffles is hard to resist.

Heavenly offerings.

Lunch platter at Tokara Deli

Housed in the old wagon house, the Farm Shop and Deli at Boschendal, which recently hosted the Cape Wine Auction has also just opened. The whole estate has been revamped and there are outdoor tables under the oaks in front of the Manor House. Tempting homemade ice-cream with flavors such as pink geranium and green apple made on the estate are perfect for the still warm weather. Not only can you stock up on local preserves, but it is a perfect choice for a casual country lunch.

Lots to stock up on at the Boschendal Farmshop and Deli

Lots to stock up on at the Boschendal Farm Shop and Deli

Article first appeared in Food24.

Buitenverwachting

Where to eat on the Constantia Wine Route

 

Whether you approach it from the bottom of the valley at Steenberg Golf Estate or coming over Constantia Nek at the top, Capetonians are spoilt for choice as to the dining options available along the Constantia Valley Wine Route.

A lot has been happening with regards restaurants opening,  closing or in some cases relocating. Spring has heralded a new crop of ideas and dining options. Here is a round-up on what you can expect:

The wine bar at the ultra-modern Bistro Sixteen82 on Steenberg Estate is the place to start. Whilst previous chef Brad Ball has recently left to open a new restaurant at Peddlers on the Bend, a new chef is in the process of being appointed but patrons can expect the same delicious contemporary European fare.

Bistro Sixteen82

The ultra modern Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg

Stylish Catharina’s is nestled in the werf of the old farmhouse precinct and 5 star hotel. Breakfast is served from 7 am each day. Lunch choices are from a blackboard menu which changes with the seasons. For fine dining, the candlelit dinner is a romantic treat. On Sundays, Family Feasts accompanied by live music are served from 12 – 3 pm from May – l October and feature a choice of starters, platters of roast meats and vegetables and dessert for R280/adult, half price for kids under 12. The Summer Feast is a buffet at R300/person

Catharina's Restaurant

Inside the stylish Catharina’s Restaurant

When Constantia Uitsig recently changed hands many people wanted to know what would happen to their restaurants.The River Café is set to open again under a new name and the new management of Neil Grant later this year although no firm date has been set. La Colombe has moved to a new location in Silvermist estate at the top of Constantia Nek and construction is under way. See website for details www.lacolombe.com

The restaurant at Buitenverwachting has long been a destination for a treat meal. The Austrian chef’s roots are clearly evident in his cooking style. Buitenverwachting’s popular summer picnics start from 20 November 2013 – 31st March 2014. The Coffee Bloc is a new popular addition to the farm and valley with yummy Austrian pastries.

Buitenverwachting Restaurant

View across the vineyards from Buitenverwachting Restaurant

Buitenverwachting picnic

The popular Buitenverwachting picnics

Coffee Bloc

The new Coffee Bloc

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groot Constantia reminds me of my favourite granny and is an old and established favourite in the valley. Jonkershuis is ever popular for breakfast under the oaks in front of the Manor House or for their Estate Tasting plate featuring a medley of Malay curries. Simon’s is family-friendly and great for a casual lunch or dinner.

The relaxed setting at Jonkershuis at Groot Constantia

Dining under the oaks at Jonkershuis

Simon's Restaurant

Simon’s Restaurant is ideal for relaxed outside dining

 

 

 

 

 

Ascending the valley, Constantia Glen’s wine bar has a restricted offering of charcuterie and cheese platters to accompany their delicious wines. With breath-taking views this is proving to be very popular as a lunchtime spot.Constantia Glen is open daily from 10h00 till 17h00 on weekdays, from 10h00 till 16h00 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Constantia Glen wine bar

Constantia Glen wine bar

Beau Constantia’s location has the wow factor. One could be in a James Bond movie sitting in the glass tasting room suspended over the valley. Lunchtimes on Friday, Saturday or Sunday enjoy a small changing menu of burger, pizza or fish and chips @R90. There is also a tasting platter. Plans are at an advanced stage to open a wine bar downstairs which will also serve Craft Beer and tapas style dishes. Gourmet picnics will soon be on offer in the amphitheatre. Check website for details www.beauconstantia.com

The modern Beau Constantia Tasting Room with breathtaking views

Breathtaking views from the Beau Constantia tasting room

Article first appeared on Food24.

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