Grand Pastime at Grande Provence
Possibly one of Franschhoek’s best hidden secrets is the Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate. Driving into the gates, and along the narrow road between the hedges, you can already tell that what awaits at the end will be spectacular.
There are beautiful white Cape-Dutch buildings sprinkled across the property, and they are contrasted with the well-kept green hedges and grass. On arrival at the shop and dining area, you are greeted with the most magnificent sculptures on the lawns. You could spend hours walking through the garden, moving between the trees and the natural flow of the sculptures, taking in all the beauty. What’s more, is that Grande Provence also has a gallery which displays some of South Africa’s finest artists.
Part of the reason that this is such a well kept secret, is that Grande Provence has their own wine (of course), but it is only sold under that name at Grande Provence itself! This definitely gives an air of exclusivity and it is definitely a way to surprise friends and family with one of their bottles that can’t be found anywhere else! The Wine Tram also conveniently makes a stop here - very useful if you’ll be tasting some of their incredible wines. There is also a nougat and wine pairing which we have yet to try!
The Restaurant at Grande Provence is something more to rave about! There are inside and outside seating options and both are equally lovely. The staff are extremely friendly and have the biggest smiles on their faces whilst welcoming you to the restaurant. The Gallery is also situated right next to the restaurant, so it’s convenient to pop in and have a browse whilst waiting for your next course. The huge white arm chairs with high backs are super comfy and especially so when you need to take a break in between courses of the magnificent feast you’re enjoying.
On our most recent visit, we started the lunch off with the Grande Provence Rosé. This rosé has a beautiful salmon color, and is light and crispy, with hints of apple and berries. Definitely a perfect, fresh summer wine! We enjoyed this through our starters, and halfway through our main course - then we needed to decide if we’ll stick to what we already know and love, or move on to something else. We went with the Grand Provence Chardonnay and was it ever a good selection! The description mentions buttery, vanilla and oak - if this doesn’t sound like a butterscotch sauce (I might have an obsession), then I don’t know what else will! The wine definitely had a smooth, buttery texture, and you pick up an aroma that you can’t pin - which is of course the vanilla. It was a fantastic choice and another great wine to be enjoyed any time! Now I don’t know if I love the rosé or chardonnay more...
Our food was truly delicious and so beautiful fully presented - you can’t help but want Alena photos of it! For starters, I chose the Yellowfin Tuna Tataki which was served with tempura cauliflower and daikon, and finished off with jalapeño dressing. Each component of this dish was incredible on its own, as well as in the ensamble.
For main course, I couldn’t resist the Aged Rib Eye when I saw it came with shimeji! The flavors of the spaetzle and onion soubise were incredible accompaniments to the rib eye, which was cooked to perfection - there was no trouble at all cutting into this piece of meat.
What better way to finish off our visit than with the 70% Chocolate Fondant? This dessert was paired with peanut ice cream, apricot purée and caramelized sesame seed brittle. This served for a truly delightful dance of flavors in your mouth.
I had a special link to this farm without even knowing it. The French Huguenots Pierre Joubert and his wife Isabeau Richarde, who lived in the Manor House on this farm, are great ancestors of mine! This new found connection will certainly make my future visits even more pleasurable.