Bastille Day 2011, Franschoek, 18.07.11


Bastille Day is like the Grahamstown Festival – it seems to escape me every year. I never see advertising about either event so this year I was determined to keep a close eye on the media but most importantly, I used my friend Google! After missing the ticket sales for the Saturday (sold out) I kept my eyes glued on Twitter for reports from the event. Come Sunday morning I was in the car and on a day mission.

Anticipating congested traffic it was a pleasant surprise to drive straight through Franschoek and to find parking relatively easily, that is, at all! Upon looking at the restaurants packed and adorned with French flags, the village was very festive and in full swing, with patrons dressed in red, blue and white and various music emanating from every block. Many Capetownians don’t explore their city or surroundings, I, however, am not one of these people. Thus the thought of visiting a restaurant on main road seemed slightly disappointing as this is what I would do on any regular weekend. Subsequently, I was delighted when I managed to buy cash tickets from the marquee entrance. R100 for entrance, a festival glass and 6 tasting tickets – a good deal!

Anticipating the usual crowds that smother these ‘one weekend only’ festivals, I was pleasantly surprised at the Sunday audience. Although hustling and busting, it was very easy to access all the tasting tables. It seems Sunday might be the new Saturday festival day. Sparkling wine was the order of the day and Franschoek wouldn’t be a good day out without a touch of Pierre Jourdan from Haute Cabriere, a personal favourite. Never disappointing, their Brut and recently launched Unwooded Pinon Noir was a great way to start the tasting day. Next was Topriay’s sparking wine, preferring the medium taste over the dry, this was light and refreshing. Morena’s shared a their shiraz which was surprisingly cool for a red wine – maybe it was the ice!

The next stop was to sample the cuisine. One of South Africa’s most famous chef’s: Margaret Jansen, was serving at the La Quartier Francais table, which meant I knew the chocolate and nut brownies (R15) would be out of this world, and they were. Next was a half camembert plater (R39) served with a white bread roll, fig preserve and rocket. Perfect festival food to accompany the sparkling wine. Although I hate seafood, I reached out and had ONE oyster (R8), just to commit to the festivities. It was tolerable although the oyster lady was very weird, I think she was drunk…!

With ample tables and chairs for visitors to utilise whilst drinking and eating, The Studerbakers were the cover band who kept the rock n roll jams rolling, easily enticing the vino drinkers to have a boogie on a Sunday afternoon! Although there were MANY hangovers on Saturday morning, as I drove off into the sunset, I wondered how many dozen wouldn’t be arriving for work on Monday morning…


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