Hello Franschhoek

Hollywood of the winelands

If Stellenbosch is the Vegas of the winelands, then certainly Franschhoek is the Hollywood: or Hollyhoek in this case. Here, superstar chefs and rockstar wine-makers create a utopian winelands dream.

The main road is where it’s at; gourmet restaurants fit together like so many delicious puzzle pieces. Also along here are must-visit wine estates. Stop in at Môreson Wine Estate for golden glasses of Méthode Cap Classique paired with Neil Jewel’s outstanding range of charcuterie. Across the road you’ll find La Motte where chef Chris Erasmus pays homage to regional Cape cuisine. There are many restaurants on wine estates in Franschhoek take your pick. (Keep an eye out for the lavender fields on your way in.)

La Cotte wine shop is one of the first buildings to catch our eyes as we enter the main drag. Inside we discover an array of imported French cheeses, Franschhoek wines (at cellar door prices) and antique treasures. From here we drive straight down, past the Huguenot Monument: an impressive structure dedicated to Huguenots who immigrated to the Cape Colony during the 17th and 18th centuries. In summer the gardens burst with roses.

Further along still, we pass Holden Manz Wine Estate. Here you’ll find not only award-winning wines, but also a guesthouse (popular with bridal couples), as well as a spa. Also on the estate is restaurant, Franschhoek Kitchen. It’s run by chef Bjorn Dingemans, whose philosophy is to use produce and herbs grown in the restaurant’s garden.

But today, we on our way to visit fynbos aficionado, Rob Armstrong at Haut Espoir. Rob’s on a mission to transform the face of flora in Franschhoek; and he’s started with his own farm. Rob also makes mead, from on-site beehives, as well as buchu brandy from numerous varieties. Oh, and he makes exceptional wine too.

Heads spinning from sips of buchu brandy, we make our way to The Common Room for lunch. Executive chef Margot Janse creates whimsical dishes such as, springbok bitterballen and fish pops with chakalakka.  

On our way out, we stop by Huguenot Fine Chocolates for a tour and tasting. Danver Windvogel and Denver Adonis make and sell a large assortment of Belgian truffles as well as other chocolate products. They also offer tastings, which includes a talk about the history of chocolate as well as a chocolate making demonstration with tastings throughout. The tastings cost only R35.

We feel appropriately star-struck as we head home: leaving Hollyhoek in the distance.

By Malu Lambert

See Hollyhoek from a motorbike: Petrol heads enjoy carving through this quintessential winelands town. You don’t own a bike? Feel the wind in your hair with Cape Bike Travel.

Check out our Franschhoek Facebook album. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on Twitter.

Shimmy Beach ClubSend Off Summer in Style at Shimmy ...

The Cape Town Summer Shutdown will feature electronic band Goodluck Live, deep ...

Eggsperiment Holiday Programme 2A Holiday Programme That Makes Science ...

Your kids don't have to be geeks or nerds to enjoy this programme because the ...

One Man Stand Comedy Show 2One Man Stand Comedy Show at RLABS in ...

Laugh along with Dennis Stander as he uses comedy to share his journey through ...

Cloud 9 5Cloud 9 Boutique Hotel’s Central ...

Spectacular views and its central location makes Cloud 9 Boutique Hotel and Spa ...

Elrow Music Festival 3Trapeze Artists, Confetti Cannons and ...

Let loose and get ridiculous as the wildest party in Ibiza hits Cape Town shores

St. Patrick's Day Overview 2Our Choice Pick Of Bars For St. ...

The places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Cape Town this year ...

The Ritz OutsideFrom the First Floor to Top of the ...

The Grand Parade-style masala gatsby and Cape gooseberry sorbet chilli are a ...

Cloud 9 Hotel 1Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar at Cloud 9 Boutique ...

Expect never-ending 360-degree views of the Mother City from this inner city ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.