Franschhoek comes alive in winter in a magic way. Think colourful Autumn trees, the perfect weather, and a holiday feeling like no other lingers in the air. Franschhoek is #OpenForWinter, and winter might just be the best time to explore this gem of a town.
Tuk Tuk Franschhoek
When I say you can forget about catching an Uber in Franschhoek, I mean it. The best way to see the town is via Tuk Tuk. Tuk Tuk Franschhoek offer half day and full day private wine tours to selected wine farms in the Franschhoek valleys, with the option of a Brew Hoppers tour and transfers within the town. We were lucky to enough to experience what some time on the Tuk Tuk is like, with Noel (as the best driver and tour ever!) taking us around town and to two wine farms.
On our tour we popped into La Bri wine farm for some wine tasting. Grab a seat outside for a view over their vineyards, while you sip on some delicious wines. If you buy more than one bottle, your tasting is complimentary! Tip: Get a bottle of the Double Door Natural Sweet – it’s a dessert wine with the perfect balance of sweetness!
We also stopped at Mont Rochelle (owned by Sir Richard Branson!) for more wine and more views you can only find in the Franschhoek wine valley! Mont Rochelle’s White Flight was an interesting lineup of white wines with one particularly standing out for being ‘thicker’ than your average white wine, but so refreshing for the beautiful weekend we were having!
Hey Joe Brewing Co
With wine comes beer! And the long (very long!!) anticipated Hey Joe! Everyone who knows anything about craft beer has been talking about Hey Joe and when they’re finally opening up. Well, they’re open! And already have awards proudly displayed above the bar area for their traditional German inspired way of brewing.
The highest quality hops are imported, and defining the field with the master-brewer Anja, experimenting to bring out new blends and infused beers to customers. Hey Joe have it down. They’re fully booked most Saturdays and Sundays and have to turn people away because they refuse to sacrifice the kitchen’s capacity.
An interesting fact that you’ll notice when drinking their beer – you won’t feel as bloated as with non-craft beers, your hangover won’t be as bad, and you can drink a lot more too. Hey Joe don’t add any additives or preservatives to their beer! Tip: Do the tapas and snacks! The Angry Chicken Wings and Bretzels are SUPER yum!!
There’s nothing like sipping on a wine cocktail, catching the last of the afternoon sun rays, while you take in even more beautiful views. Leopard’s Leap have an array of refreshing wine cocktails, that are perfect sundowners before dinner, or before heading back to your guesthouse! A quick stop before you get the Tuk Tuk back to your guesthouse is just what you need!
La Petite Ferme
Wow. If I say I have had food with so many flavours, textures, and combinations – I’d be lying. Chef Kyle knows how to bring combinations you’d never put together on one plate, and elevate it to something magical! La Petite Ferme is the place you actually need to get to before the sun starts going down, to catch the sunset and what Franschhoek looks like from a different level and side. Unfortunately we arrived after sunset, but did arrive to a rustling fire that warmed the chilly winter air.
Everything about La Petite Ferme is taken one step further. From the thoughtful welcome drink, to the bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and harrisa paste. It’s more than a meal. It’s an experience! It’s an escape from food you’ll find everywhere else, to something so uniquely La Petite Ferme with such a South African flare. Also, their menu changes seasonally, so you might want to make a trip of visiting at least once every season. Tip: Come hungry! The portions are amazing and you’ll find yourself licking the plate!!
We tucked into, and couldn’t get enough of the vine leaf baked camembert with braaibroojie croutons, marmalade and macarons. It doesn’t sound like it should fit but it does. Every element enhances the flavour of the other. The Duo of Duck starter was followed “Mmh! This is so good!” and oozed different textures that all fuse together in harmony.
The mains that followed were even better than the starters! Wild Mushroom Arancini with tempura cauliflower on a truffle cauliflower purée; and Pork Knuckle with buttered popcorn and a caramel apple. Every element was plated with meticulous care, and brought out the way Chef Kyle puts together his creations.
The meal was completed with a Bourbon brownie, brandy snaps and cherry sorbet. An end to a night that showed us meals we could only have at La Petite Ferme!
It’s shocking that I hadn’t been to La Bourgogne before! This family-friendly deli, farm shop and wine estate is not only family run, but boasts an escape to a forest setting. Sitting outside you’re surrounded by trees and flora, and mountains and vineyards.
We were treated to a filling breakfast before concluding the weekend. But it would not be complete with being seated next to the fireplace and doing some sneaky olive oil purchases! Tip: The ‘Mission’ olive oil is a goodie!
Accommodation: The Corner House
When you’re spending a weekend in the majestic town of Franschhoek, it only makes sense to take advantage of the entire weekend and arrive a night earlier!
The Corner House is tucked away, but still in the middle of the town centre, with easy access to walk into town for some exploring. The rooms are airy and spacious, and fully equipped with everything you need for a winter’s stay. They have a few different room sizes to splurge on, we went for the Deluxe Twin Room and it was more than enough space, with a view into their courtyard.
I can only imagine what reading a book out by the pool on a sunny day but be like!
I don’t even know what where to start. Nestled on a wine and olive farm is this guesthouse and villa, with rooms that are both modern and quint – in the best way. On the one side of the room you have a courtyard to share with fellow guests, and on the other side your own private patio to have a glass of wine and look over the vineyards and the mountains.
Auberge Clermont is the guesthouse you can walk around on and explore, where you hear no cars driving past or city noises. It’s a surreal paradise that you’ll only find in Franschhoek! With views that can only be described as absolutely breathtaking, pack your bags and book your stay at Auberge Clermont today!
We are so blessed to have a place like Franschhoek right our on doorsteps. And it’s bustling in winter with tourists and locals coming together and sharing why they love this country so much over a much deserved glass of wine! Whether it’s a day or a full weekend, Franschhoek’s doors are open this winter, and just waiting to show you how magical it really can be.