Having spent most of our Sunday enjoying a drive, admiring the Huguenot Monument, and letting the kids run wild and free at the Station Pub & Grill in Franschhoek, we then wrapped up the outing with a stop at Hillcrest Berry Orchard (at the behest of BOTH Chantelle and the girls!) on the drive back.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time then you know that we end up stopping here more often than not whenever we find ourselves driving along the R310, better known as the Helshoogte road, through the beautiful Banhoek Valley (which lies on the outskirts of Stellenbosch on your way through Pniel and on to Franschhoek).
If that is the case, then you undoubtedly already know about the fantastic jams and other berry-rich products that Hillcrest Berries produces, not to mention the good, uplifting work opportunities it provides in the immediate area.
If you know about those, then you probably also know that the Tea Garden and its deck with a view is a great option for some good coffee and scones, and furthermore, as a long time reader you would probably then also know that paying a little more for the Devonshire clotted cream REALLY is the way to go.
Unless of course they don’t have any more left for the day, meaning then that your foodie wife is nearly brought to tears with disappointment.
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Still, it was a very nice enough stop as always – even if they had already run out of clotted cream for the day.
It is nowadays quite impossible for me to travel the road from Stellenbosch, past Pniel and on towards Franschhoek without it being requested that I stop for scones and cream at Hillcrest Berry Orchards by young Jessica.
(Not that I mind though – a visit to Hillcrest Berries, on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, is always quite pleasant!)
While you can sit and dine in the remarkably popular restaurant/tea room if the weather doesn’t play along, it is by far the best to grab a spot on their terrace, with its beautiful views over the Banhoek Valley.
You’ll be rewarded with some crisp fresh air and some particularly pretty scenery to look at.
Primarily a producer of a wide selection of fine jams from the assortment of berries grown on the working berry farm, a visit to Hillcrest Berry Orchards is definitely defined by tucking into their scones, first choosing the jams to accompany and then deciding on what to round it off with.
Pro Tip: the Devonshire Clotted Cream is the MUST go to option, no question about it!
The atmosphere is relaxed (though on this particular visit there was a gaggle of girls celebrating someone’s 16th birthday, which on its own made for a very entertaining watch – so much posing and so, so many selfies!), the scones, jam and coffee great, and the view is fantastic.
Hard to argue against visiting this great little business that coincidentally also does so much good in its local community then.
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Oh, and they even have a couple of weekend away guest cottages for rent available these days – just in case you’re looking for a bit of a Banhoek Valley/Stellenbosch getaway.
(Bonus: You’ll note the sad face photo of Jessica towards the bottom of the photo gallery. It was just me and the girls on one of our days out and about and unfortunately for Jess, it was a bit of a knee meet cement slab moment.)
As you drive through the Banhoek Valley on your way to Franschhoek, just before Pniel you’ll encounter an insignificant little entrance marked with a small signboard for Hillcrest Berry Orchards.
This so happens to be an old favourite of Chantelle’s, and we are almost always guaranteed to pull over for a quick coffee stop every time we find ourselves driving along this particular route!
Hillcrest Berry Orchards is as the name suggests, a farm known for growing a lot of varied, good quality berries. They are perhaps even more known for the wonderful jams that they produce from all these berries, though we know them almost exclusively for their wonderful little restaurant and tea garden setup – with the tables along the porch giving one an absolutely stunning view across the beautiful Banhoek Valley landscape.
The scones there are particular favourites of ours, though you must be sure to select the option with the Devonshire clotted cream! It is always great fun selecting something new to try among their large selection of jams, and from the look of things, our girls might be growing up to appreciate the scones too!
This particular outing happened as part of a fairly lengthy early March Sunday afternoon drive for the four of us – first lunch at Eaglevlei outside Stellenbosch, then play time at The Carnival on the Weltevreden Estate, followed by a drive through Franschhoek, over the pass and on to Theewaterskloof Dam, before heading through the picturesque Viljoen’s pass to reach Grabouw, before finally shooting back home via Sir Lowry’s Pass!
(No sir, no messing about for us when it comes to lazy Sunday afternoon drives! :P)
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Anyway, it really is a lovely little late afternoon spot to stop for coffee, well made scones and some particularly delicious jams.
Wow, for a change I got to pretty much spend the entirety of last weekend in Chantelle’s company, something which probably hasn’t happened in literally months! :)
After working from home on Friday (official office move was still in progress, meaning I was getting more done from here than what I could achieve over there), the evening was pretty much dominated by me rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in with helping Chantelle finish off all the preparations for the Willowbridge Market the next day.
Saturday kicked off like most market Saturdays, with Chantelle bolting out in the wee early hours of the morning, leaving me to take care of Jess until early afternoon before joining up with the family in Bellville, though this one took a sharp twist as instead of taking Jessie with to visit mommy at her stall as per usual, I dropped her off in the capable hands of Rob and Monty and headed out solo to the market, where I joined up with Cheryl and Chantelle in their stall, muscling my way to the front before donning my gleaming salesman demeanour as I worked the available foot traffic and in the process, managed to net quite a number of sales as well as the incredulous stares from a rather astonished pair of Chantelle and her mom!
After closing up shop following a now rather successful market, next on the weekend stop list was a spot of shopping at Ackermans in Tygervalley in the hopes of finding some replacement pyjamas and long sleeve tops for Jessie, following the accidental permanent disposal of some of her clothes by Rob the previous week.
As it turned out Ackermans once again didn’t let us down, meaning that the next item on the agenda was to drop Jessica off back with her Ouma and Oupa and Chantelle and I prepared to head out to meet up with the posse Evan had managed to round up in order to catch the awesome Avengers movie at Cape Gate.
A quick round of McDonald’s before the start (well, he had the group of 12 assembled an hour before the screening just to be safe!), and after a lengthy queue to grab some popcorn and drinks, it was into the cinema where we proceeded to all marvel at the fantastic Joss Whedon spectacular that is the Avengers movie (in 3D!).
Jaw-droppingly satisfying comic book action film is perhaps the only way I can explain it – truly Avengers cannot be criticised on any level, bringing with it an intensely enjoyable mix of fine actors, awesome visuals, action, humour and a great story. (To be quite frank, I haven’t stopped gushing about the film and it has been a week now!)
Being parents now for the most of us meant no hanging around to chat after the group filed out of the cinema, but it did mean that Chantelle and I got a good night’s sleep in, unexpected and rather pleasing considering that two weeks ago Jessica had made it almost impossible to sleep with whatever was paining her so on the night!
Refreshed, we tackled Sunday morning by getting stuck in to the packing up adventure, before heading out in convoy (Chantelle was driving her Dad’s car, Monty and Cheryl were in the Tucson, Mom and Dad were in their Lexus SUV and I of course was in the Getz), winding our way out into the Cape Winelands region, targeting the interesting sounding Babylonstoren Farm for an afternoon out and about.
Of course, we should have picked up something fishy when GPS revealed a POI named Backsberg/Babylonstoren, as it first lead us to Backsberg wine estate, before allowing us to reach a closed due to over capacity Babylonstoren farm. Not wanting to waste time by sitting around and doing nothing, the Lotter/Montgomery convoy opted to continue the journey out to Pniel, targeting the always fabulous Hillcrest Berry Orchard, where in the end we feasted on some of the most delectable scones, cream and jam you’ll find anywhere in the Cape!
After an enjoyable kuier, it was time to part ways, meaning a trip back to Gordon’s Bay for Chantelle, Jessie and I, which really brings me to the end of this little weekend update post.
Although the original plan was to visit the Babylonstoren farm on Sunday, they were too full to accommodate the combined might of the Lotter and Montgomery clans, and so instead we continued on with our journey through the Cape Winelands, ending up at the always popular Hillcrest Berry Orchards in Stellenbosch, for some scrumptious scones with cream and jam.
Most certainly a delightful way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.
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