Franschhoek

As well as having two very different yet equally appealing restaurants at Mont Rochelle there is also the town of Franschhoek a mere 20 minute walk away. Considered by many to be the gourmet capital of South Africa this picturesque town has plenty to keep you occupied and with 36 restaurants and 42 active wineries in the area you’re guaranteed not to go hungry or thirsty.

One of the local highlights has to be the Huguenot Fine Chocolates.  Located in the main street of Franschhoek this boutique chocolaterie offers  a delicious range of chocolates, made from the finest imported  Belgian chocolate. The ‘Chocolate Experience’ is a half hour program where you get to watch the Belgian-qualified  chocolatiers demonstrate how the chocolates are made and more importantly taste the finished product.

There is a great variety of shops to browse including antiques, collectable books, diamond jewellery, designer clothing, artworks and the most extensive antique corkscrew collection in Africa. And if you fancy chilling out with a coffee you could go to Essence Restaurant & Coffee Bar, a casually elegant coffee and lunch spot that offers breakfast, light meals and an array of desserts. Nab a spot on the side porch to get out of the hubbub of Huguenot Street or take a seat out front.

Or there’s BICCCS, the name stands for Bread, Icecream, Cake, Croissant, Coffee and Sandwich. BICCCS is a cross-over between the traditional Italian Gelateria, a top quality Bakery and Patisserie and a comfortable and contemporary coffee bar and haunt for the art and fashion set. All the stores are small and chic with comfortable sofas, comfortable outdoor seating and Italian chairs. BICCCS offers the finest Italian ice cream in South Africa made in front of your eyes in beautiful 1950’s vintage Carpigiani ice cream machines, to nibble at in a cone or cup or to take home for a decadent dessert.

Other attractions in the area include the Franschhoek Motor Museum, with a collection of over 220 vehicles ranging from a 1898 Beeston motor tricycle to a 2003 Ferrari Enzo, wine tasting on horseback with Paradise Stables, and the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve a great place to burn off those calories with hiking trails through some breathtaking scenery.

However if you’d rather stay within the hotel grounds  why not pick up a picnic basket at the Country Kitchen and take a stroll with your blanket in hand, through the vineyards down to the dam, into the rose garden or to the shade of an oak or weeping willow and make yourself comfortable. Unpack your basket of delights, open a bottle of chilled wine, sit back and relax.

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