Happiness is in the Winelands!

Yippee! Here we are leaving for a weekend trip through the winelands. The road is beautiful, the air is sweet and the future is bright…

We pointed to a few landmarks on the map to use as a linking thread of our gustative adventure. A pleasant mix of wine and local product tasting.

Of course, we’ll visit winefarms, certainly two or three, well-known and recognized for their wines. But the question really is: Is there a better place in the world than a market to represent a country best ? No, once and for all, no. Scents, flavours, colours, local people or visitors, the market is a life enhancer.

FRANSCHHOEK VILLAGE MARKET

On Saturday morning, we stop at Franschhoek, an afrikaans name which literally means « French corner ». Inhabited by the Huguenots fleeing from France in the late seventeenth century, this area inherited skills from french wine growers, and certainly some others gastronomic savoir-faire.
The market is held under the shade of the large oak trees, near the dutch reformed church.

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Franschhoek Dutch Reformed Church

As soon as we arrive, we are caught by Madame Fromage’s generous arms. Well, that’s one way of putting it… However, the cheese-board is extremely welcoming and you have to show strength of character to not lose all dignity throwing yourself onto all these products offered. I took up the challenge with panache and only tasted two, one of which is the « Berg River », with a subtle nutty flavour, a mountain cheese, matured for up to 18 months.

After that, do we really have a choice ? No, we need liquid. Let’s set sail for Grande Provence stall, one of Franschhoek’s  flagship winefarms. While my travelling companion is testing their Viognier and Chenin blanc blend, I’m tasting a glass of shiraz, my weakness, and it must be said that Grande Provence’s one is worth it. We are ready for a good two hours of discovery and a feast for our taste buds.

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Let’s go! At Jazz-Berry Beads, I buy a neck for me, a bracelet for Marie-Laure. I then stop at Pierre’s, and order one roasted smoked sausage! One! At Dusti Attic, I hunt for antiques and leave with a lamp which, for lack of being valuable, looks very nice. Then it’s time for a small glass of  Four Paws Pinotage. At the Green Chameleon Design, I find an irresistible tee-shirt for my nephew Gaspard. At Mommaladys’ stall: I stock up on a few cookies for tea-time (you never know, I could be a bit peckish…). Then, quesadilla stop at Sabor Criollo for…., but where is my partner? We finally meet up under the trees for a beer. I’m exhausted. I wonder why… ?

BLAAUWKLIPPEN FAMILY MARKET

On Sunday morning, we start again at Blaauwklippen Family Market, 4 kilometres South of Stellenbosh, in the beautiful Blaauwklippen winefarm. I spare you my gastronomic itinerary of the day and my purchase list.

Here in Franschhoek, you’ll find all you need to make your bag heavy with various kinds of beautiful handcraft and to also add weight  on your body with delicious delights. The good news is that, on the other hand, you will lighten your purse, in joy and good humour (a few lonely cents are crying at the bottom of mine). Here, it’s a family’s heaven.

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Left: musician and singer Zenn

While children are playing with venal goats or riding a placid pony, thinking they are cow-boys, some of their parents enjoy a glass of Blaauwklippen wine while they are swinging at the sound of an inspired blues and while others daydream under a shady tree.

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All is perfect. Fresh, top-quality products, delicatedly cooked, all combined in a country and family atmosphere: It’s a nice postcard printed in our sensorial memory that we bring back from our weekend trip.

Finally, do we really need anything else?

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The Franschhoek Village Market organises a Christmas market on Friday, the 13 of December, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and over 3 days: from Saturday 14th to Monday 16th, from 9:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
The Blaauwklippen Christmas Market will be held from December 16th to 20th, from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

By Muriel Romero

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