Franschhoek is known as a most spectacular wine producing valley, but did you know that this little Cape Winelands gem also annually hosts a string of foodie festivals?
Located a mere 45 minutes outside of Cape Town, this is South Africa’s food and wine heartland, set amongst towering mountains and magnificent vineyard scenery. Franschhoek is renowned as South Africa’s gourmet capital, packed with more award-winning restaurants than any other small town on the continent. In fact, up to eight (the number varies year on year) of South Africa’s top restaurants are located in Franschhoek.
Franschhoek is well worth a visit any time of the year, but this picturesque town really comes alive several times a year when it hosts its annual food and wine events that are very popular.
Franschhoek Bastille Festival: 16 and 17 July 2016
It was the French Huguenots who first settled here more than 300 years ago, and their rich wine and food tradition persists to this day. Each year, to mark the French National Day of the storming of the Bastille, Franschhoek hosts the Franschhoek Bastille Festival on the 16th and 17th of July.
Set against the historic Huguenot Monument, this wine and food festival is one not to be missed and its Food & Wine Marquee is an absolute must! Even though its winter at this time of year, Franschhoek is often still lovely and warm in the day with a perfect blue sky as it comes alive with the national French colours of blue, red and white. The village is abuzz with a plethora of festival activities from sampling the superb wines of this beautiful valley, to feasting on gourmet fare from the town’s popular eateries, a dedicated children’s play area, the Porcupine Ridge Barrel Rolling Competition, boules, markets, to having your picture drawn by a caricature artist … there is something to tickle everyone’s fancy!
The festival itself is well laid out with ample parking available on the grounds which are within easy walking distance from the village. Limited tickets are available each year, so we suggest pre-booking yours at Webtickets sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. To gain entry to the Food & Wine Marquee, you will have to pay R220 per person which includes entry, a complimentary wine tasting glass, a booklet with 5 wine tasting coupons and a R20 wine voucher that can be redeemed on the day. Further coupons are also available on the day. Get hold of an Early Bird Special, which is valid from the 11th of May to the 11th of June only. Limited tickets for Sunday the 17 July are also available directly through Webtickets at a discounted price of R180 per person.
Franschhoek Uncorked: 24 and 25 September 2016
The 24th of September is South Africa’s Heritage Day, also known as National Braai Day. Franschhoek marks this festive occasion by hosting the annual Franschhoek Uncorked Festival, which takes place from the 26th to the 27th of September.
It’s the perfect occasion to celebrate South Africa’s rich heritage and one of Franschhoek’s premier wine tasting events. During this festival, the valley’s winemakers open up their doors and you can taste beautiful wines paired with South African favourites cooked over an open flame in honour of National Braai Day.
Tickets can be booked through Webtickets at a cost of R120 per person for the Uncorked Weekend Pass, which allows you entry to the participating farms, a complimentary wine tasting glass, as well as free wine tastings.
Franschhoek Open Gardens Festival: 21 to 23 October 2016
What better way to celebrate the start of summer than to visit the annual Franschhoek Open Gardens Festival and experience the natural beauty of this breathtaking area? The event takes place from the 21st to the 23rd of October with ten owners opening their spectacular gardens to the public. The gardens for 2016 are yet to be confirmed, but you can rest assured that they will be as magical as in previous years ranging from small village gardens to the impressive large estate gardens.
The town centre will once again come alive with markets and the giant plant sale as in previous years. Visitors opting to take a gentle stroll to the iconic Huguenot Monument won’t be disappointed at this time of year as all the flowers are in full bloom. Tickets will be available from the Town Hall in the village centre.
Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival: 3 and 4 December 2016
Nothing much beats ending off 2016 with an effervescent glass of bubbles at the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, also known as the ‘The Magic of Bubbles’! This event takes place on the 3rd and 4th December at the historic Huguenot Monument and is one of the festivals in Cape Town not to be missed as Cape Town’s fashionistas flock to this stylish event which always has an elegant dress theme.
Sample an array of South Africa’s most exquisite Méthode Cap Classiques (amoungst them La Motte, Boschendal, Pierre Jourdan, Graham Beck and L’Ormarins, to name but a few) and France’s top Champagne (think Veuve Clicquot, Piper Heidsieck and Billecart Salmon), as well as beautiful locally-produced dishes provided by some of Franschhoek’s top restaurants as you stroll through the grand marquee with the beauty of Franschhoek itself as your backdrop.
Ticket prices are still to be confirmed, so please keep an eye on Webtickets as these sell out fast and are limited! Last year the tickets were R200 per person which included entry, a complimentarily tasting glass and tasting coupons.