We really wanted to have lunch at Tokara Delicatessen. We completely underestimated just how popular it is. Luckily, a perennial favourite of ours was close at hand to help Chantelle get over her disappointment.
There is a reason that I feature Hillcrest Berry Orchards so much on this blog – they have by far the best combination of scones, devonshire clotted cream, coffee, and location.
Love it. (And their jams of course).
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”7″ ids=”52486,52487,52488,52489,52490,52491,52492,52493,52494,52495,52496,52497,52498,52499,52500,52501,52502,52503,52504,52505,52506,52507,52508,52509″]
(P.S. Lesson learned, the next time we headed out to Tokara we actually booked!)
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.
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”7″ ids=”47155,47156,47157,47158,47159,47160,47161,47162,47163,47164,47165,47166,47167,47168,47169,47170,47171,47172,47173,47174,47175,47176,47177,47178,47179,47180,47181,47182,47183,47184,47185″]
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.
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”7″ ids=”47188,47189,47190,47191,47192,47193,47194,47195,47196,47197,47198,47199,47200,47201,47202,47203,47204,47205,47206,47207,47208,47209,47210,47211,47212,47213,47214,47215,47216,47217″]
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)
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”7″ ids=”44239,44240,44241,44242,44243,44244,44245,44246,44247,44248,44249,44250,44251,44252,44253,44254,44255,44256″]
Anyway, it really is a lovely little late afternoon spot to stop for coffee, well made scones and some particularly delicious jams.
The fact that I was going to be away for business in Sandton for my birthday back in May, meant that Chantelle and I bumped things up a little and headed out to breathtaking Franschhoek the weekend preceding Monday the 11th, free of the kids (thanks grandparents!) and ready to take in some culture!
Early Friday afternoon saw us hit the road, and the impromptu decision to head out to Franschhoek by looping around Viljoen’s Pass and then Franschhoek Pass was a good indicator of how the weekend was going to be. Relaxed, fun, and full of beautiful things.
An unplanned stop at the Peregrine Farm Stall resulted in some delicious coffee and cake to start things off, and then it was back on the road for what was one of the more scenic drives that I’ve enjoyed for quite some time!
The guest house that Chantelle had picked out for us (she organised the entire weekend mind you!) was a place by the name of Maison d’Ail – a luxurious guest house nestled under the Franschhoek mountains, fronted with a beautiful pool and even more majestic views. Given that there weren’t any other bookings for the weekend, the owner graciously upgraded us to his luxury suite – which came with its own little balcony and even more views of Franschhoek mountains!
The guest house was perfect, the food great and the accommodation comfortable – not that we spent all that much time there mind you. This was to be a proper weekend of being out and about! :)
Chantelle and I enjoyed a relaxing stroll around Franschhoek before heading out to supper on Friday evening, picking out the French Connection Bistro as our place of choice for the evening. As expected, both the food and wine was excellent, and seated outside for the view and fresh air, we were treated to a fantastic night out and about in Franschhoek.
Saturday morning was an early start, as we raced away after a hearty breakfast to an undisclosed location, me genuinely excited at not knowing where we were heading or what my big birthday surprise was meant to be, Chantelle super excited by the fact that I was both so excited and clueless at the same time!
Sadly for her though, her big surprise was ruined, when, after arriving at the Stellenbosch Flying Club (my mouth was hanging on the floor at this stage), a young pilot let us know that due to the overcast conditions at all the other landing strips, my intro flight had to unfortunately be cancelled. Absolute devastation.
Shame, Chantelle was literally in tears! (Note: a lot of rescheduling later, I did eventually go up in a Cessna Skyhawk – it was awesome!)
So it was a sad drive back to Franschhoek for Chantelle, but thankfully our next stop was exactly what was needed to bring back a little cheer to her face – the ‘chocolate experience’ tasting and informational session at the Belgian-trained chocolatiers, Huguenot Fine Chocolates.
Following that, we strolled around Franschhoek a bit, taking in the great sunshine and atmosphere, stopped for some coffee at Sacred Ground (the coffee shop / bakery that Chantelle used to supply with cupcakes and cakes back in the day), and booked our tickets for the Wine Tram experience on Sunday.
With that done, it was on to the next site for the day: Johan Rupert’s fabulous Franschhoek Motor Museum at the L’Ormarins Estate. Chantelle had organised a tour guide for the session, and we spent the next couple of informative hours strolling through the four massive barns filled with some of the most beautiful classic cars you have ever seen – an experience which even load shedding couldn’t take the shine off of!
And then the day got even better.
As we stepped out of the front door following our excursion, I was greeted by a beautiful 1959 Cadillac Series 62 convertible – to which Chantelle then strode and climbed in!
Yes, Chantelle had organised for us to be driven along the estate, stopping for a light snack in between. What a fantastic experience!
The excitement of the car museum behind us, we then decided to head out on a bit of a drive, and made our way through to the Hillcrest Berry Orchards for some scones and tea – a personal favourite of Chantelle and something we do without fail at least once or twice a year! :)
Relaxed, full and rather content with life in general, we finally headed back to Maison d’Ail to put our feet up for a little bit, before once again heading into Franschhoek, our goal the fabulous Roca restaurant perched on the top of a hill on the Dieu Donne wine estate.
Needless to say, the food at this particularly cosy and majestic eatery was absolutely brilliant!
Sunday was to be the day of wine, and following a good night’s rest and a great breakfast, we packed our bags, bid farewell to Maison d’Ail and headed off to the pickup point for the Franschhoek Wine Tram, looking forward to our first ever taste of their hop-on hop-off tour.
We selected the estates that we wanted to visit (in the end, we only made it to three of the six on our particular line!), and off we went, the cute and clever little tram and busses shuttling us off to the most wine tasting sessions we’ve ever experienced in a single day!
Rickety Bridge, Grande Provence, La Couronne – we had an absolute blast, took in some beautiful views of both landscape and art, enjoyed particularly good wines, experienced a cellar tour and even paired chocolates, cheeses and wine!
An absolute stunning day out which I can only but highly recommend to anyone who enjoys drinking wine!
And that was that.
The weekend was over and reality returned, meaning that after a quick stop for a bite to eat and coffee to rid us of the last tipsy effects thanks to all the wine, it was off to Bellville in order to pick up the kids and then finally back home.
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”7″ ids=”32594,32595,32596,32597,32598,32599,32600,32601,32602,32603,32604,32605,32606,32607,32608,32625,32609,32610,32612,32613,32614,32615,32616,32617,32618,32619,32620,32621,32622,32623,32624″]
Without a doubt, a birthday weekend to remember! :)
Despite the gloomy weekend weather, Chantelle’s craving for Hillcrest’s scones with clotted cream was strong enough to organize a morning outing with our friends to Hillcrest Berry Farm.
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”4″]
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.
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”4″ orderby=”title”]