Grande Provence serves up winter flair

2012-07-04 16:59
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Grande Provence chef's table

Executive Chef Darren Badenhorst has excelled with Grande Provence's latest Winter menu special. With the option of an exclusive lunch or dinner for eight people in the estate's Jonkerhuis, it is the ideal winter setting: roaring log fire, fine cuisine paired with the estates award-wining wines - all you need to do is add the company.

The vines may be bare but the place to visit during winter is definitely the winelands. In particular, Franschhoek. Overflowing with award-winning wines and restaurants, this foodie travel destination is able to rival the likes of Tuscany, New Orleans or Marrakesh in our opinion.

Eating out here means high-expectations, and the accompanying high prices.

Grande Provence’s Chef’s Table Winter Menu special offers a food pairing three-course menu at R250 – not unreasonable if you consider the wines on offer. So with the price factor covered, the question I had was would it challenge the number of accolade-imbued establishments lining Huguenot Street?

The answer: Darren Bardenhorst, the resident Executive Chef, is a talent to be reckoned with.

Having been part of the team as sous chef under the direction of former Head Chef Darren Roberts the new Darren, for lack of putting it a better way, is impeccable in his understanding of food pairing in order to bring out the best of the Grande Provence wines. His talented flair should have you enjoying every morsel as he fulfills his aim to “take guests on a culinary journey” through his fine dining French cuisine with an Asian twist. His close collaboration with winemaker Jaco Marais and the team of Chefs at Huka Retreats, Grande Provence’s sister establishment based in New Zealand, clearly adds to the dynamic experience.

Upon meeting him in the very personal setting of Jonkerhuis, along with newly appointed General Manager of Grande Provence Karl Lambour, my advice would be – don’t let his youthful presence fool you. This stunning wine estate, which includes
The Restaurant, The Winery, The Gallery and Sculpture Garden as part of its offering, certainly has armed itself with a worthy team. They appear more than capable of exceeding expectations through their knowledge of the international wine industry.

As for the setting?

Jonkerhuis couldn’t be any cozier with its roaring fire warming up the intimate setting for eight.  It is P erfectly suited to a quaint, special gathering of friends and family. Or most certainly a business meeting aimed to impress.
The taster menu we sampled was winter on a plate. Think rustic, full-bodied flavours and textures, yet artistic and eloquent in its presentation. My favourites would have to be the Starter of Mushroom Soup and the Self-saucing chocolate pudding.

But don’t take our word for it, take a look at some other creations we sampled along with the Grand Provence wines launched this year such as the Grande Provence Shiraz 2008, The Grande Provence Cabernet Sauvignon 2009.

The Chef’s Winter menu will be running until the end of September 2012. If you are visiting during that time consider the following annual festivals happening in Franschhoek.

* Franschhoek Bastille Festival: 14-15 July - A celebration of the valley's French Huguenot heritage.
* Franschhoek Uncorked Festival: 1-2 September - Welcoming Spring as the wineries showcase their new releases.

If an overnight stay suits your indulgence then you’ll be pleased to know that the luxurious 5-star graded Owner’s Cottage, previously only available to guests on an exclusive-use basis, now offers an individual Bed & Breakfast rate for the Angels
Suite and four en-suite bedrooms. Winter Bed & Breakfast rack rates range per room from R4150 to R5810 per night.

Don’t forget to keep a look out for the official launch of Franschhoek Valley’s Wine Tram. Offering guests unique wine tasting tours at selected wine estates, including Grande Provence, it is scheduled to launch in Spring 2012.

For all enquiries and rates please contact Nicole on 021 876 8600 or

Huka Lodge, New Zealand (a member of Relais & Châteaux) and Dolphin Island, Fiji, with all three exclusive properties comprising The Huka Retreats.

Read more on:    franschhoek  |  winelands  |  travel south africa

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