wine farm

A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate

A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate
A night at Lanzerac Wine Estate

A stone's throw from Cape Town centre tucked away in what seems to be the suburbs of Stellenbosch is a historic landmark that has risen from the ashes, quite literally. Lanzerac Wine estate is not just your average wine estate but rather a piece of history with a classic feel that is timeless. With a history dating back to 1692, this grande dame is synonymous with old-world charm and rich Cape heritage.

The estate is situated just an hours drive from Cape Town CBD and is worth booking a weekend for, if not longer.

Upon arrival you are greeted with the most beautiful shady driveway that is towered by tall oak trees, I always wonder the stories they could tell!

The estate is the third oldest in Stellenbosch and although the property has over 300 years behind its name the newly renovated hotel is the most recent addition. The property was closed down and a breath of classic fresh air was breathed in after a horrendous fire in 2017. The grounds are perfectly manicured and the interior of the hotel echoes this. Every little aspect was not only thought out but is utterly beautiful.

Each room is unique and has a different feel to it. Classic interior tied together with old farm charm is the feeling in the rooms. With large king sized beds and different room options available. The bathrooms have large walk-in showers and bathtubs. The bedrooms are fitted with a TV and minibar so staying in and getting comfy is at your fingers tips!

The estate offers several options to wine and dine your needs. My personal favourite being the Deli where you can experience a wine and chocolate pairing along with one of the best cheese platters I’ve had to date. With freshly baked loaves of bread and cakes lingering in the air, I am sure you will find your way there. The manor kitchen was also another favourite with many glasses of the perfect Chenin Blanc, a personal best of the estates. The food is classic and fresh using seasonal produce grown locally. Whats not to love?

The estate is home to a spa which is an activity I very gladly took up. With a full body massage leaving me in a relaxation coma I decided to lounge by the pool for the rest of the day. You can of course head out into Stellenbosch to explore or arrange a wine tour at reception. There is something for everyone and all you have to do is ask. The staff are attentive and friendly and always ready to share a little history or attend to any of your needs.

This five-star establishment captured my heart. Whether it is for a weekend getaway or a wedding, the estate has all bases covered. It's wonderful to see such a classic piece of history honoured with such integrity and standing proudly in the small town of Stellenbosch.

-Melissa


La Petite Ferme

La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme

La Petite Ferme is a wine farm situated on the hills of Franschhoek, upon the Oliphants Pass and Middagkrans Mountains with splendid views over looking the valley. This establishment is something special.
Its story even more so - like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Le Petit Ferme is a modern day institution and Franschhoek would hardly seem complete without this bastion of present day permanence. 

The modern farm was bought in 1974 and in 1984 a 40-seat restaurant was built. The farm previously ran as a plum farm and when the plum farm closed down the owners John and Carol Dendy-Young re-hired all the original staff to help run the restaurant.

After experiencing a tragic fire in 1996, the restaurant was brought back to life with the help of the staff and community… Instead of donning the usual aprons, they put on gumboots and rebuilt this beautiful establishment from the ground up.

The restaurant is bright and beautifully decorated. Adorned with the original fireplace in the main seating section, the new interior honours both the old and the new, salvaging what survived the fire and embracing it with fresh décor. Outside the lawns roll down into the Franschhoek valley and the views are simply spectacular. Walking around the estate, while sipping on perfect glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc, I watched an elderly couple; sitting quietly on a bench taking in their surroundings. A place that encourages the appreciation of peace and calm really is a place worth visiting.

The property has luxury accommodation and will make even the wariest of travelers feel welcome and well rested. With large bedrooms with spectacular views I could picture myself in the stand-alone bath with bubbles in hand over looking the valley.

We were treated to a special, old versus new tasting to launch the new menu at the restaurant. The food brims with flavour and is the perfect option for a long summers lunch. My must try was the trout which was served with a citrus hollandaise sauce. Who knew that hollandaise needed citrus? A revelation! Hardly one to be forgotten - A very real concern for me now is how to ask chefs at other restaurants to up their hollandaise game without getting thrown out.

Paired with the La Petite Ferme Sauvignon Blanc, I was in heaven!

The maestro in the kitchen, Neethling du Toit has struck the perfect balance between the much-loved old menus, retaining certain inalienable elements to pay homage to the past, but with an ever-mindful eye to the future.

To know where you are going you can never forget where you have come from.  

If you find yourself in the area or travelling up the Franschhoek pass then this estate is a spot that you simply have to try.
It might feel a little strangely familiar, like a home away from home, but that’s ok.
You could stay on for a few days and lose yourself in La Petite Ferme. 

Getting festive in Stellenbosch

Sometimes I find it slightly scary meeting new people. I am one of those people who wear their heart on their sleeve.  This is a good thing in many ways but it can also result in unwanted vulnerability.

I read this quote the other day, “If you are scared, it is because you are about to do something really brave!”

I was invited by a group of really fantastic visual storytellers recently to a tour of Stellenbosch. Young bloggers and influencers that are making waves as they go. As you can imagine meeting everyone and not knowing them from a bar of soap was rather daunting. Daunting until they shared their various handles with me. Isn’t it strange that living in a world of social media sometimes results in people knowing me more as The Truffle Journal than Melissa Delport?

Well I can’t exactly criticize because I am one of those people that will recognize you quicker by your Instagram handle than your real name. Once I had matched the "virtual persona" to all the real live persons I quickly settled in for an adventure that involved a group of really dynamic and fun people.

The hashtag for the day was #festivestellenbosch, which quickly started trending on twitter just by the influence of everyone combined. This is my photo journal. A little look-see into what Stellenbosch has to offer.

A walking tour through Kayamandi that in my opinion, every South African should do hosted by Bites and Sites.  It ended up being the best excursion of the day. Why? Simply because it forced me to look across cultural boundaries and to see that in truth as a young South African I had never actually been into a township. Yes to be honest it was out of fear. Now I see it was the fear of the unknown. To see how my fellow South Africans live was not only humbling but also enlightening.

The smiles and warm energy that we were received with was something I will never forget. To see another human being live in destitution but still smile, laugh and face each day with bravery made me feel foolish for the amount of times I complain in a day. So you will have to excuse the amount of photographs but I couldn't help but capture this experience!

Walking into a little nursery school with broken windows and worn off paint I couldn’t help but have flash backs about the privileged education I received and how different it was. I could not begin to compare.

My heart almost burst when I entered the nursery. Happy little faces greeted me with smiles and cheer. They called us Teacher, as it is a standard for anyone who visits them. They sang us songs and performed dances for us. All the while the walls covered with posters about sexual abuse and how it isn’t their fault, teaching these tiny little humans to speak up and communicate to the adults teaching them. Again it made me think of my fairy tale up bringing.

With prominent events like our #feesmustfall in headlines recently it makes me think how we as a nation need to stand together. Yes, tertiary education should be affordable to all South Africans but in my opinion every single child of our nation should have access to the fundamentals; the ABC’s.

We stopped by an elderly gentleman called Jimmy who does pottery from his shack. He was illiterate and yet had forged his own path in life the best way he could – to be honest I don’t know if I would have survived as well as he has. He worked at a pottery studio sweeping floors and one day asked his boss to teach him. He now has several spinning wheels and offers classes for those who are interested in the craft as well as selling his beautiful little bowls, plates etc. His laughter and his eager attitude left me wondering how different his world would be if education were an option for him.  I thought about how something as simple as a Facebook page and a great location would swing his life around or at least create the possibility of change.

Of course after this amount of walking I was starving – not that it was far! I am just always game for lunch.

We were whisked off to Tokara wine estate to juxtapose our township adventure. The Deli is one of my favourites. With plenty of great products on offer their Olive Oil made on site is one of my favourites. We all sat down and had a chance to finally chat and get to know one another more as fellow online Bloggers. Of course I decided to take it easy and get their burger for lunch. A giant patty of goodness served with the perfect potato fry. An ideal lunch to wash down with some of the finest wine Stellenbosch has to offer!

With our bellies full we set off to take a guided tour through Stellenbosch. It is amazing how something can be right in your back yard and yet you can have such little knowledge of it. Walking through the town and learning of its history and landmarks was just fantastic. I must admit I had house envy for some of the historical landmarks. They are simply magnificent and I wouldn’t mind moving in!

I’m no authority and it's no rule - here it is, a list of the places I went to and loved.

Stellenbosch Dorp Museum
Tokara Deli
Bites & Sites cultural food tour
Schoon De Companje
De Warenmarket
Spier wine farm & Eigh

-Melissa

Cheese fondue at Delheim, Cape Town

Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim

There is something to be said for true friendship. I above all, value this the most. I often think to myself where would I be without my friends? I am sure you know what I am talking about. Those friends that you have that have stood by you when the chips were down, when you felt your life was falling apart or simply those friends that come over with a great bottle of wine, settle down and chat the night away with you. They know where you keep things in your kitchen because they are part of the furniture, even better, part of the family.

I must say I am a lucky girl and I count my blessings everyday when it comes to my friendships. 

I recently took a drive with one such friend and my family to a wine estate called Delheim. We chose this particular one because, cheese. Well more than cheese, a whole melting pot of cheese. Cheese fondue to be precise. Delheim does the cheese fondue on the weekend and I must admit, it’s the closest I have gotten to the real thing in South Africa. It’s fantastic and will leave you in a cheese coma. I mean how could it not be? It’s cheese. Again cheese. The other perk is their wine isn't too bad either, in fact, its award winning wine. 

So the scene is simply really, great company, melting cheese, fantastic wines, beautifully sweet desserts all the while with cool jazz playing in the background. 

It’s a winter thing and you will need to call and book but trust me, its worth it. If you can't get around to it, then here is an old family recipe of mine for cheese fondue.  


Serves: 6

Ingredients: 

  • 600 grams shredded cheese-I use ½ gruyere, ½ emmentaler,
  • 1 clove garlic, split
  • 1 ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 shots of kirsch
  • ground pepper and nutmeg to taste
  • 1 sour dough loaf cut into bite size pieces 
  • 300 grams of blanched mixed veg for the table, you can use broccoli, baby potato (cooked), cauliflower, rose tomatoes (raw) and carrots. 

Instructions:

Rub a heavy saucepan or heatproof clay fondue pot with the split garlic clove.  

Dissolve the cornstarch in the kirsch.

Put the cheese and wine into the pan and slowly bring to boil, stirring constantly. 

When the cheese is completely melted, add the kirsch and cornstarch mixture, stirring vigorously. 

Continue to cook. 

Season with pepper and nutmeg.

Serve over an alcohol lamp.  

The cooking should continue on a low heat.  

Stir constantly with small pieces of bread or veg speared on a fondue fork.

As a variety you can also only use Gruyere cheese only at different ripeness.

In Geneva three kinds of cheese are used; Gruyere, Emmentaler and a vaudois cheese. (a semi-hard cheese, whose unique flavour is a result of the addition of Chasselas wine and ageing with crushed walnuts.)  Then sautéed chopped morels (fresh or dried and pre-soaked) or diced tomatoes are added.

Fondue aficionados dunk their bread in kirsch before dipping in into the cheese.  Don’t forget: whoever loses his bread in the pan must pay for a round of beer or a bottle of wine.  If it happens to a lady she must kiss the man sitting next to her! 

-Melissa