It's a weakness of Capetonians to not want to venue beyond the Huguenot Tunnel, I've learnt. Perhaps it's that extra R40 toll fees, or the excessive amount of fresh air they're not used to... But whatever the excuse, it's criminal.
If you're looking to beat the Cape Town craze, you can't ask for a better escape than the Breede River Valley. Although it's situated only an hour's drive from Cape Town, it feels as if it is a million miles away.
SEE: Travel the Cape Winelands like a local: New apps to explore 13 iconic 'dorpies'
What food, wine and a world-class experience concern, however, the valley is right up there with Franschhoek and Stellenbosch - minus the crowds.
A great starting point to get a feel, taste and idea of this valley is the recently opened Bosjes hideaway. The farm is famous for its unique wedding chapel but has also recently opened a state-of-the-art Winelands restaurant, under the guidance of renowned chef Pete Goffe-Wood.
The restaurant is seasonal and celebrates local food and wine in an understated yet delicious way. The opening autumn menu boasted comforting options like lamb with tabbouleh, a grass-fed beef burger with bacon, caramelised onions and Camembert, and a mushroom quiche with poached egg and Gruyere shavings... Like Goffe-Wood says, “You won’t find any fussy plating here - no smears, nipples or foams - just honest, artisanal food prepared with heart.”
Bosjes Kombuis is a brand new addition to the old farm, designed by London-based South African architect, Coetzee Steyn. With exposed trusses, the warmth of timber and brass and skylights revealing deep-blue skies etched above mountain peaks, the new restaurant is understated, perfectly in keeping with its rural surroundings.
Tables spill outdoors onto a terrace with gunshot mountain views, and a whimsical tree mural by artists Michael Chandler and Lucie de Moyencourt fashioned from 366 blue-and-white hand-painted tiles inspired by shards of porcelain dug upon the farm. More on that later...
Despite the exclusive setting and offering, the menu is also reasonably priced with mains ranging from R95 to R165. Read Food24's review of the food here.
BOSJES Kombuis opened in March 2017 for lunch only, from Wednesdays through to Sundays. For reservations, call (023) 004 0496 or email them.
The one landmark Bosjes is perhaps most famous for is the unique new chapel, Bosjes Kapel, built on the property.
As you turn off the R43 in the direction Breedekloof near Ceres and onto the gravel road approaching the Bosjes farm, you see the new, strikingly modern white curves of the roof of the glass-walled structure.
The chapel's curves were inspired by the Biblical Psalm 36:7, which reads, "How precious, O God, is Your constant love! We find protection under the shadow of Your wings..."
Bringing this symbolic to life was Coetzee Steyn, again. Apart from its beauty, the chapel also made history for architecture in SA for its unique gunited - or shotcreted - structuring.
Religious or not, the striking new chapel and sentimental symbolic behind it is reason enough for many couples to want to tie the knot here.
There is a myriad of things to love at Bosjes... One is certainly the tree mural by Chandler and Moyencourt, which represents so much more than an intriguing mural. It boasts 366 blue-and-white hand-painted tiles - one for each of the days of the leap year it was created in - inspired by shards of porcelain dug upon the farm.
More than that, the mural hides over 100 species of fauna and flora which can be found right there on the farm. It's a winner for kids, and adults too!
Speaking of kids, the farm also has a very intricate and exciting jungle-gym that will keep little ones busy for hours.
We also love how family-orientated the farm is. It boasts an original Cape Dutch manor house that was built in 1790, which has been in the Botha/Stofberg family since 1831. It's the same family who today still oversees the property, which now also offer accommodation.
Overnight guests can check into the gorgeous Die Skuur Guesthouse, which has been decorated, in muted shades of sand with accents of chartreuse and copper by talented interior designer, Liam Mooney. The house is perfect for a large family or wedding party wanting to enjoy quality time together either at the pool on hot days or around the fire pit on cold ones.
All five rooms, including the family room and the honeymoon suite, can also be rented individually.
View more information here.
*Disclaimer: Louzel Lombard Steyn was hosted at Bosjes Kombuis for Traveller24.
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