The last day in the valley. It began with another run with Kevin and Gary. The same 6.5 km route taking us out to the monument, then round past Mr Branson’s new purchase (Mont Rochelle), and the new developments on the extensive properties owned by Analjit Singh (who purchased the three adjoining estates of Dassenberg, Von Ortloff and Dieu Donné).
After this it was off foraging with Chris Erasmus, chef/owner of the fabulous Foliage restaurant where we’d eaten the night before. He took Gary and I with him on one of his daily foraging trips in the valley. Chris knows his stuff, and finds all sorts of things on his ventures which he can then use in the kitchen. Previously he was the chef at Pierneef at La Motte, before setting out on his own.
Back at Black Elephant, where I was staying, a number of local winegrowers had gathered for a feedback session. After my visits, they wanted to know what I thought. Where should Franschhoek be going as a wine valley? What insights did I have from all the trips to other wine regions worldwide? Should the Franschhoek WO be expanded to include the Paarl Simonsberg? Was the Franschhoek AGP a good idea? What was my honest view on the wines that I had tried? This was, of course, all off the record.
Afterwards, lunch. We headed to Ryan’s Kitchen, which is a South African themed small plates restaurant, and it’s really good. Gary, Kevin, Jacques and I were joined by Ludwig Maske, owner of the La Cotte wine shop, and who probably knows more about Franschhoek wine than anyone. It was a great chance to learn from him. The food? Superb. I liked everything. Smoked Brinjal dumplings, baked spiced yellowtail with a coconut sauce, pork jowl, and baboutie pancake. Four great dishes.
Then it was off to the airport, and the long journey home, made that little bit longer by having a middle seat sitting next to someone else’s young child where the parent didn’t want to sit next to them and took the aisle. Odd behaviour.
Coming soon: full write-ups of all the visits and notes on all the wines tasted.