Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cape Winelands

In less than an hour's drive from Cape Town, you will find the Cape Winelands. This is the largest wine producing region in South Africa. It is stunningly beautiful, with sprawling mountains dotted with vineyards and fields of lavender. There are over 400 wine farms in the region, most offering tastings. This is a dream destination for foodies and wine aficionados.

Renee and I spent two days here, enjoying all the region has to offer. Our chosen lodging was the charming and luxurious Le Quartier Francais. This boutique property has just 21 rooms and is conveniently located in the center of the town of Franschhoek. The rooms are individually decorated and make for the perfect romantic getaway. Le Quartier is also home to the award-winning restaurant, The Tasting Room, repeatedly on the list of the Top 50 restaurants in the world. In my opinion, it should not be considered a restaurant as much as an experience in gastronomy.

We spent one day visiting various wine farms, tasting the local wines (the pinotage was a favorite!), olive oil and chocolate. There are many gourmet eateries to choose from along the way, where you can stop and have lunch in between tastings. It was a relaxing way to spend the day and tour the area. We enjoyed passing through the quaint University town of Stellenbosch.

Our next day started with a cooking class, arranged by Le Quartier Francais. We had so much fun learning how to prepare some typical South African dishes. We tried not to eat too much today because we had reservations at The Tasting Room that night! It was hard to do, and we had to resist when we visited the Moreson wine farm, with it's renowned Bread and Wine restaurant. Home baked breads, selections of soups, salads and house made charcuterie make for another adventure in dining.

Finally, it was time for our much anticipated dinner. The decor of The Tasting Room is understated, with the emphasis on the cuisine. We perused the menu, deciding between the five course choice menu, or the nine course "surprise" menu. The idea of the surprise menu is to have diners experience things that perhaps they may not usually order. We opted for the surprise menu and got our tastebuds ready! We also went with the wine pairing, which gave us a different taste of wine with each course. The meal was heavenly and we enjoyed course after course, each artfully and dramatically presented. Each wine was poured and served with an explanation or description. Both Renee and I agreed it was one of the best meals we have ever had.

Ready for your gastronomic experience?  We would be happy to arrange accommodations, private drivers, and secure restaurant reservations at the most exclusive places.
Call the travel specialists at Bee Kalt Travel today!
Tel: 248-288-9600 or Toll-free 1-800-284-5258