This year’s Franschhoek Bastille Festival took place on one of the coldest bloody days in Cape Town & the Western Cape’s history, like ever… OK OK, I don’t know that for a fact, but it was damn cold.
But we were not about to let that minor detail put us off from having a great time. We figured we would just need to eat & drink twice as much to stay warm. The perfect plan for some much needed craziness…
Our festival home for the day was the Food & Wine Marquee (tickets were R150 for entry). It was actually relatively cosy inside, then again I was dressed kinda like the Michelin Man. hehe. I loved all the red, white & blue trim, trees & chandeliers. It made it feel like we were in a little magic forest.
Of course, this being a French festival, we had to support in style. So we got ourselves some berets at only R50 a pop:
Some of the stands really went all out with their space, like this beautiful Morena stand:
And this one very pretty one by Graham Beck:
But my first port of call was obvious… the pancakes stand! AND it was for a good cause as all the money went to the Franschhoek Hospice. So that’s sugar indulgance with a conscience. Doesn’t get better than that folks.
On the topic of food. There was some seriously impressive variety. Everything from gourmet snacks, tempting sweet treats, oysters & hearty sandwiches with the finest cheeses & cold meats…. Mmmmm…
Entertainment wise they had some live music creating some cool background noise throughout the day. Not that people who’ve had too much wine really appreciate music, but it was really nice for early on in the day at least.
Now let’s talk wine. I decided not to cover the obvious options and rather focus my energies on trying wines I did not know.
First up was a Cab Sav Merlot called “Miss Molly in my bed” by Moreson. Now I know Moreson wines, but I hadn’t tried this specific one before. Plus it has to get a special mention as the sale of this wine contributes to the South African Guide Dog Association:
Another winery which caught my eye thanks to their beautiful hand signed bottles was La Chataigne:
They are a small winery which only produces 15 000 bottles per year. And get this, the wine maker personally signs every single bottle. That is not a print. Impressive stuff. We bought some of the Marron (55% Merlot, 30% Pinotage and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon) as well as the Sauvignon Blanc and ended up going back for seconds… and maybe thirds… so turned out to be very popular wines amongst the gang.
I identified this as an Italian wine, not thanks to the name (although that would’ve been obvious as well), but rather cause my eyes zoned in on that grape variety. Sangiovese is used by the Italians to make yummy Chianti wine, something I picked up last year while over there. I absolutely LOVE Chianti, so this was an easy choice for me really. This Terra Del Capo range is actually produced by Rupert wines. Apparently the late Anthonij Rupert had a dream of one day producing an Italian wine because he loved the country & their wines so much. I have to agree with the man, that is one hell of a place and some damn good wine. Maybe that’s why they decided to sneak this Italian alien into Batille land, they knew people wouldn’t be able to resist.
Now what’s a wine festival without some champers right? Our sparkly of choice was from Haute Cabriere:
After a little too much wine appreciation, we needed to go back in for another round of food. There were 2 really nice meals from Reuben’s – the man who’s won restaurant of the year twice. He was offering some beef bourguignon with horseradish cream & bordelaise salsa (R45):
As well as wok fried squid with chorizo, slow braised onion, cubed potato, gremolata & saffron rouille (R45):
Both were absolutely delicious. Definitely the fanciest festival food I’ve ever had. Then Bread & Wine decided to do a French bunny chow. How do you make a bunny chow French? You add a “le” to the front… Duh…
It did have quite a lot of flair though. So I would say that was the true Frenchness about it:
More drinking, laughing and general festival shenanigans followed. All rounded off with some drunken happy snaps… pure bliss…
A successful day out overall. We ate. We drank. We survived the cold. And we all left in one piece. Bastille will see us again next year!