5 days in Franschhoek – the food and wine capital of South Africa!

5 days in Franschhoek is a must if visiting the Western Cape of South Africa. Franschhoek means ‘French Corner’ in Afrikaans, and the area was named after the French Huguenots. Just like France, food and wine are fundamental here. The once sleepy village, with its Cape Dutch architecture, has grown in popularity in recent years, with its ideal summer weather and its proximity to Cape Town. Franschhoek is an idyllic place to spend time and here are my tips to spend 5 days in Franschhoek – the food and wine capital of South Africa!

Boschendal is first on my list, and this exceptional estate has it all… excellent wine, accommodation, a restaurant, horse riding, biking trails, workshops, a butchery and more. Keep an eye open for their upcoming events. I was lucky enough to experience New Year’s Eve at Boschendal with live music from ‘Hot Water.’ They have a regular Friday evening market where you can expect stalls, food offerings, family activities, live music and, of course, Boschendal’s great selection of wines.

For 5 days in Franschooek, La Petite Ferme is a must visit. One of the original farm-to-table venues, it offers breath-taking views and you can be sure to indulge in a delicious meal accompanied with La Petite Ferme’s own wine. Sitting back after lunch on the grass bank, enjoying the sunset is a truly worthwhile experience! Another spot for a relaxed lunch is The Country Kitchen at Richard Branson’s Mount Rochelle.

An evening recommendation is Chef’s Warehouse at Maison – it has a tasting menu consisting of eight dishes, served in three courses. The Cape Town version of the restaurant is equally delicious and all their menus change daily. Fantastic food, but without the price tag of other establishments in and around Franschhoek. Before going to Chef’s Warehouse in Franschhoek, I recommend sundowners at Roca restaurant. Go straight through to their grass bank and enjoy the impeccable views and sunset.

Haute Cabriere has excellent cuisine and again is situated perfectly for sundowners. Epice, the latest venture from the team behind La Colombe, La Petite Colombe, Foxcroft and Protégé, is in the village on the main road, and although the food was elegant and beautifully presented, it lacked atmosphere and was comparably much more expensive than other alternatives (do keep in mind that we visited within their first month of opening). Foliage would be our recommendation if you wish to stay in the village; using wild and fresh ingredients (such as cannabis peanut butter dessert!), the menu is tweaked every day depending on what they have in the kitchen.

If the wine is getting overwhelming and all you want is a pint of beer, head to Tuk Tuk. This micro brewery is on the High Street and it doubles up as a bar with good outdoor seating; a good place for a change of scenery. Another brewery (which is just out of town) with good beer is Hey Joe And if you’re missing pubs that much you can always check out The Elephant & Barrell!

If you’re not staying at a winery and you want good quality boutique accommodation in town, I highly recommend Mont d’Or. Run by Anya and a lovely team, Mont d’Or has a pool and a handful of charming rooms. Anya’s husband Wynand is a winemaker. Having worked with Ernie Els Wines for many years, he is now in partnership with SA cricketing legends and you’ll be able to try his excellent wines at Mont d’Or.

Babylonstoren is still a working farm

Food and Drink are the obvious attractions when you have 5 days in Franschhoek, although there are so many other activities on offer. The landscape is wonderful, so walk, run, bike or drive, and take in some of the great roads and trails. Franschhoek has a literature festival in May, an art festival in October, and the ‘uncorked’ wine festival in September! The market runs every week on a Saturday from 9am – 3pm, and is a perfect place to enjoy live music, lots of wine, and have a picnic from one of the wonderful food stalls or trucks. If you’re a sports lover, the oldest cricket ground in South Africa is in Franschhoek. And don’t miss the Motor Museum–owned by Johann Rupert–the collection dates back over 100 years.

Further away from the main village, in the triangle between Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl, is Babylonstoren. The way to describe Babylonstoren is a ‘boutique farm’. It has everything you can imagine: wine tasting, garden tours, farm shops, a spa, a hotel, workshops and obviously a couple of restaurants and a bakery! Babylonstoren presents beautifully. You can simply wander around and take in the assortment of gardens, or you can take part in one of the many activities on offer. However, it is a very popular destination, and after we saw the queues for their Greenhouse Café, we decided to try our luck at Babel, the in-house restaurant famous for their colour coordinated salads. If you wish to get away from the crowds, head to the next-door property from Babylonstoren and find Noble Hill. The Latin-themed restaurant (think Mexican small plates) is called Cosecha, which is Spanish for ‘harvest.’ Cosecha is open for brunch or picnics and the setting at Noble Hill is delightful with a relaxed atmosphere.

If you’re after elegance and prestige, then one more estate along this strip is Rupert & Rothschild. Here you can taste their estate collection including Rothschild’s wines from across the world (and their impressive fromage selection!). I would suggest booking if you wish to eat at their sophisticated restaurant, which has views of the vines and the spectacular Simonsberg mountain.

If luxury is what you are after, then Delaire Graff is the place to visit. Eat, drink, stay, spa – it is an incredible place. You can learn more about Delaire Graff here.

Views from La Petite Ferme - a must for 5 days in Franschhoek

Views from La Petite Ferme

Long lunches at La Motte

La Motte is an incredibly classy estate and one of my favourites. Their house museum allows you to immerse yourself in the history of the place from the original Cochoqua tribe inhabitants, to the arrival of the Dutch East India Company and the French Huguenots. La Motte is a beautiful place to spend time; friendly staff and delicious food – it is a must for lunch! Two other wineries in Franschhoek worth trying are Leopards Leap and Rickety Bridge; a contemporary estate and a traditional 19th century Cape Dutch estate respectively.

There are just too many incredible restaurants for 5 days in Franschhoek – there are many which I haven’t mentioned! Often, because of the vast amount of fine-dining restaurants, it can be tough to find a casual bite to eat. On the main street, some delicious and informal recommendations would be: The French Connection and Bovine. Both are atmospheric spots with tasty menus and there is the added benefit of being able to sit outside and watch the world go by. For coffee, the Hoek was a charming local coffee shop that became a regular pit-stop for us. For more than just coffee, there is Schoon which is a bread café, serving amazing breads, pastries and a more extensive breakfast / brunch menu. For brunch, Terbodore Café (formally Big Dog) takes the biscuit with its good coffee, great food and big garden (with an actual big dog) — a must.

I have missed plenty and no doubt you will too. Relax and enjoy, the food and wine capital of South Africa!

A beautiful entrance to La Motte

A fantastic lunch at La Motte

Shop at la Motte

Quality produce

Sculptures at la Motte

Incredible starters

Share the story