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Franschhoek at Decorex

Stuart Douglas, Cindy Douglas and Vuyisa Potina at the Potina Ceramics stand at Decorex Cape Town 2022.

Three Franschhoek creative businesses took part in Decorex Cape Town 2022 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre form 16 – 19 June 2022.

La Petite Colombe set to open soon

La Petite Colombe promises a surprise or two...

As one era ends another commences.  With The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français having closed recently La Petite Colombe will take its place from 1 August.  La Petite Colombe is a new partnership between the Leeu Collection and the proprietor chefs of La Colombe, Scot Kirton (Eat Out Chef of the Year 2015) and James Gaag.

Explore Boschendal – with Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth

Explore Boschendal by carriage with Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria

Boschendal offers all that you’d expect of a wine estate – restaurants, wine tasting, picnics – and then some!  Also on offer are half and whole day spa treatments, walking and mountain bike excursions (on 30 km of new trails), fly fishing – and horse riding.  It can be stated quite categorically here that if ever there was an enthusiastic team it is that which now runs the equestrian activities.

The equestrian team is headed by Hans Mbalula and his brother Petrus.  Hans was formerly a barman at Boschendal’s deli/Werf restaurant/picnics), but on hearing Boschendal’s CEO discussing the pros and cons of riding and related activities on the estate he immediately volunteered to give up bartending and to run this new initiative.

It transpired that he had, in fact, been raised on a Free State farm and as a boy had ridden regularly before and after school to carry out a variety of farm duties such as cattle and sheep herding.  He had, too, it was discovered, learned early on how to win the confidence and calm down a wild horse so that within a few days (often in fact within one day) he could saddle and ride it without any of the bronco busting histrionics of the Wild West’s cowboys.  He had also learned how to put horses into harness to pull a cart or a plough, again using a minimum of force and a maximum of coaxing.

Boschendal now has 13 horses, including a few Shetland ponies, the majority of which are massive Shire horses, Friesians, Clydesdales and Percherons, all of them giants of the horsey world – they grow to 16 hands or more.  Being immensely strong, they are capable of carrying a 100 kg or 110 kg rider in armchair comfort.  Surprisingly, however, they are also quite exceptionally gentle so that, despite their size, they can be and sometimes are ridden by quite small children.  A few lucky riders are offered the opportunity to mount these massive horses, but most of Boschendal’s outrides are done with well-trained smaller horses.

Today the Boschendal horses can be hired for outrides and these usually take the visitor into unspoilt conservation fynbos territory where waterbuck and eland have been introduced by Boschendal’s owners.  For those prepared to rise early Boschendal offers a breakfast ride in its extensive conservation territory with delicious eggs, bacon and mushrooms cooked over an open fire.  The rides can last up to three hours and afford the visitor a total escape from the overcrowded mechanised world.

Shire horses are, however, at their most impressive when they are acting as draught animals.  Their huge size make it possible for them easily to pull carts, the weight of which would bring lesser horses, even fully trained hackneys, to their knees.

At Boschendal the management now offers visitors one-hour cart rides almost daily. The carriage can take a small number of adults and a larger number of children.  Passengers sit on a beautifully restored 19th-century landau and this gives them a tranquil lovely way to see the estate and to watch these big horses working so willingly.  The foremost carriage pair are black Friesian mares.  They are sisters and are named Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.  Their names are appropriate because they exude a patrician, almost regal ambience, as if aware that they are several cuts above today’s typical livery stable animals.

Booking is essential for a carriage ride, but, as Samantha Lundie, wife of the CEO of Boschendal who is closely involved with this operation, has said, “An overnight visit to Boschendal these days is incomplete without a carriage ride – it somehow epitomises all that the estate stands for.”

horses@boschendal.co.za | 021 870 4211

Rickety Bridge’s Foundation Stone Range

This experimental craft range, which winemaker Wynand Grobler particularly enjoys making, is adorned with a creative, eye-catching label reflecting Wynand’s innovative approach to the three wines. The blends are constantly evolving, being tweaked by Wynand every year. Although they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the intricate label, designed by the talented Fanakalo team, may make you wonder at what’s within. Chances are that you’ll like what you find!

A Little Something French

During March French culture is celebrated worldwide. For the first time Franschhoek is part of the Festival Francophonie. Get out your beret and do something with French flair on the Human Rights Day long weekend.

La Petite Colombe, mon amour

Franschhoek spoils for choice when one is considering where to dine. The best of South Africa appears to be concentrated in the main street and where to eat is not made any easier by La Petite Colombe’s winter special. Visitors can expect the same stellar standards in both service and cuisine, as they have come to know from world renowned parent restaurant La Colombe.

The winter lunch special that is currently on offer at Le Petite Colombe has been described as a bucket list worthy!

2018 Bellingham wines built to last

Bellingham Chief Winemaker Richard Duckitt

Harvest 2018 is complete and Richard Duckitt, Chief Winemaker at Bellingham is enjoying a momentary reprieve.

The Cape’s devastating drought played a dominant role in this year’s harvest: the Winelands were declared a disaster area and the outlook at the start of the vintage wasn’t a positive one. A plunge in yields was to be expected, but this fear was compounded with the effect the drought would have on quality – as lack of water during the critical veraison period can affect berry composition, and in particular sugar accumulation and concentration.

Cape Chamber Music Collective in Franschhoek

This month the Cape Chamber Music Collective (CCMC) welcomes some of our most best known musicians, pianist Francois du Toit and violinist Farida Bacharova. Together with exciting young instrumentalists, David Pinoit (cello), Bonolo Kgaile (violin) and Uliana Alekseev (viola), they will perform Dvořák’s chamber masterpiece, the Piano Quintet No.2 in A major. Rarely performed works by Shostakovich and Kodály complete the line-up for this concert.

Shostakovitch’s Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano, is a compilation and arrangement by Lev Atovmyan of  film and ballet music which Shostakovich was forced to compose during the period when he was out of favour with the Soviet authorities and was desperatey in need of an income.

Second on the programme is the Duo for Violin and Cello by Kodály, which has a distinct gypsy feel that draws inspiration from Hungarian folk music; Kodaly was passionate about the music of his homeland and he proceeded to record and catalogue as much of this music as possible. The programme concludes with Dvořák’s masterpiece, the Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major where the composer combines his affection for Bohemian folk music with his own seductive and lyrical charm.

This programme is the fourth offering by the CCMC this year in a series of concerts in and around Cape Town. The Franschhoek Concert takes place on Friday, 8 April, 19:00 at the NG Kerk. Tickets are R140.

The Cape Chamber Music Collective (CCMC) is a unique and innovative initiative with the aim of bringing high-class chamber music to established audiences and also to introduce classical music to new audiences.

Furthermore the CCMC supports local musicians, devising programmes that give young musicians the opportunity to perform alongside established professionals and also providing all performers with competitive fees.

The programming is aimed at mixing standard repertoire with lesser known works and also promotes and commissions works by South African composers.

60 concerts are planned for the year 2022 – five performances of each programme at various venues with the explicit aim of making the performances available to a larger audience.

All tickets can be booked on Quicket via the CCMC website at www.capechambercollective.com.

New Cape Music Collective Inaugurates With a South African Première

Four members of the Cape Chamber Music Collective premières a new South African classical composition at its five inaugural concerts in Cape Town and the Boland from 19 to 23 January. They are violinist Jeffrey Armstrong, pianist Tertia Visser, viola player Stéphanie Lawrenson and Cellist Graham du Plessis.

A brand new South African classical composition premières the inaugural five concerts by the Cape Chamber Music Collective (CCMC).  Conveniently for locals one of the concerts is in Franschhoek.

“A journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step”

Barry Phillips after finishing the Cape Argus

So says the ancient Chinese proverb. For Barry Phillips his journey of 1000 miles (1600 km) starts with a single push of a pedal in St Malo a chilly Channel port in the north of France on 30th May. His destination? Nice – on the Cote D’Azur of the sun blessed Mediterranean. He will ride this iconic Channel to Med odyssey organised by Saddle Skeddadle (www.skeddadle.co.uk) with some 16 other cyclists. The first half passes through the quaint villages in the undulating farming landscape of rural France heading south to the banks of the Loire – France’s longest river and then into the rolling hills of the Dordogne. Heading east, the second more challenging half begins in the mountainous region of southern France but the vineyards of the Rhone Valley, home to many world renowned wine regions like Chateauneuf-du-Pape, will be reminiscent of Franschhoek. And 18 days later after an average daily distance of over 90km and a total ascent equal to almost twice the height of Everest the odyssey ends with a ride along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice and a very welcome dip in the warm waters of the Med!

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