THERE are a few things you might not know about Allée Bleue, just outside Franschhoek. Yes, it’s a wine farm, but it also produces fruits – peaches, pears, plums, persimmons, herbs (supplying major retail chains), and has three accommodation options.
We spent the night in Kendall Cottage, which dates back to 1920. It has a large lounge area in the middle, flanked by what we referred to as the east and west wings, each comprising a bedroom, separate loo, and bathroom – with deep tubs as well as showers. The inclusion of a magnifying mirror always adds bonus points for me. The front porch is festooned with pale pink and white bougainvilleas, and at the back is a wooden deck overlooking some of the vineyards, and the Palm Garden. Those trees in the distance? Those are the border of the next door farm, Solms Delta.
The cottage has pitched ceilings with large exposed beams, and the decor is a combination of antique pieces and modern art, some of which is painted directly on the walls throughout. The light fittings cast pretty rainbows wherever they are used. It’s not a self-catering cottage but there is a decent-sized bar counter, sink, fridge, and all the tea and coffee making stuff. On account of the weather, hot chocolate sachets had been added, and a big bag of rusks.
It was deliciously rainy when we arrived at the farm. First we had a herb and wine pairing, a cheese and charcuterie platter, and more wine – all in front of a log fire in a private tasting room. Afterwards, we headed across the lawn to the cottage where the gas fire had been lit for us and we got cosy on the couch with more wine. Later, one of Allée Bleue’s famous picnics was delivered to us. The clouds had cleared a bit and the late afternoon sun was peeking through them, but it was more comfortable to sit in front of our fire, tucking into the crates of yummy goodies, than outside on the lawn.
As I write this, it becomes apparent this was 24 hours of eating and drinking, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We did balance it out a bit with watching the last couple of episodes of season seven of Game Of Thrones, before having an early night. The next morning (after being woken at sunrise by squirrels cavorting on the roof, which sounded like they were the size of Maltese poodles) we were back to the food, with fabulous breakfast made to order and delivered to the cottage: super fresh bread, eggs, crispy bacon, OJ, the works.
To prevent being utterly and completely lazy, we went on a walk as a preview of what visitors can expect for the May Day Meander on May 1. For more information about this, click here. Along this stroll we saw the other two accommodation options, being the Mill House Rooms, the budget option of two double rooms each with an en suite bathroom; and a sneaky peek inside the Manor House. This has several dining and reception rooms on the ground floor level, and two spacious suites up in the loft. Outside, there is a terrace and walled garden with lawns edged in iceberg roses and lavender, and beyond, a citrus orchard and herb garden. It’s oh so pretty, and popular for weddings and various other conferences and or events.
Apparently it’s also haunted by the ghost of Isabeau, who apparently drank a lot of wine one day then went horse riding, and died. It’s a sad cautionary tale, and she is remembered by the fabulous flagship wine which bears her name, a blend of Chardonnay, Semillon and Viognier. I hope to return to sleep in her house one day.
Allée Bleue – so named for its avenue of blue gums – is at the intersection of the R45 (the main road into Franschhoek) and R310 (which takes you over Helshoogte to Stellenbosch), Groot Drakenstein. For more information, click here, call 021 874 1021, or email [email protected]
PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN