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Franschhoek may be paradise

I’ve always wondered whether I prefer a mountain village or a beach town. This morning that was settled decisively in favour of the mountain village. It could be an unfair battle, since the view from our room here at La Petite Ferme is breathtakingly beautiful. But our view from The Clarendon in Cape Town was lovely too. But a view of the ocean is all rather uniform: look where you might, it will resemble the rest of the view. The valley and mountains in front of us offer more variety:

It may also be the mountain air that I like so much. It was lovely and cool this morning, and even though I didn’t sleep that well last night, I was up by 7am. Andrew got up soon thereafter, and went for a run, this time down into the valley. He tells me there was less traffic, which is good because I’m learning to worry in preparation for motherhood.

After another quick swim, we headed to breakfast. We both had lots of fruit (etc), and then a fritata with parmesan cheese and red onions. It was good, but the view really upstaged the breakfast. Once we were done eating, we met John, the head of the family that runs the vineyard and winery, and who started it all 30 years ago. He gave us a tour of the grapes (which included him asking me all sorts of questions that I had prepared to ask him (sigh), and of the cellars (which I really enjoyed), including letting us taste wines out of the casks (so so exciting). Then we went back up to the bar and tried a wide selection of bottled wines, and had a good discussion about screw tops.

As tour rounded out, we got John’s advice on what other wineries we should visit that day. He sent us to Stony Brook (even smaller than La Petite Ferme) and Le Motte (much much bigger: as John said, we should see how the other half live). Stony Brook was grand. The woman who runs the place with her husband helped us taste about 7 different wines, and we liked several of them quite a lot, so we bought two cases to be shipped up to to London for us. Le Motte was an altogether more formal affair. Prim young women¬†efficiently¬†moving you through the offerings, very helpful if we had a quesiton, but not the type of place to sit back and have a chat. That said, we bought two bottles from them (a Shiraz and a Shiraz-Grenache blend). We’ve been delighted to discover that Shiraz smells like a locker room…in a good way.

We then headed back to La Petite Ferme for lunch, and I’m delighted to say that the food was an equal match for the view. Andrew had Ostrich Carpaccio followed by Bobotie, then chocolate tart. I had a deep fried brie salad followed by rabbit stew, and then milk tart. We drank a Viognier from their cellar and a good desert wine with our puddings.

Since lunch (which we finished at about 5pm) we’ve mostly been reading and napping on our giant wonderful patio. We have to get up tomorrow at 4am to go hot air ballooning, so we’re going to bed as soon as it’s cool enough to sleep.

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