#FindYourEscape: What's it like to drive an R1.9m Maserati to Breede River Valley

2018-04-03 15:33 - Gabi Zietsman
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Maserati's Ghibli on a visit to Picardi Place near

Maserati's Ghibli on a visit to Picardi Place near Rawsonville (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

You don't need to travel all the way to Rome to experience Italian cuisine and craftsmanship - you can do it right here in South Africa with a luxury Italian car, wine tasting and intimate pasta-making classes in the Breede River Valley near Rawsonville.

You never realised how slow everyone else is going until you get behind the wheel of an R1.9 million car that's designed for long open roads where a 120km/h speed limit is non-existent. Maserati's Ghibli is a car that not only goes fast and looks like the car version of an Italian runway model - it also wants to make sure you're comfortable in its warm leather seats contoured to your body. 

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Although you cannot help but feel that a car like the Ghibli - which means 'wind' - may never truly reach its full potential on South African roads, where long stretches of pristine road is scarce and oppressive speed limits will never allow you to really channel your F1 fantasies, especially when you feel every bump in the road.

However, the Ghibli is more focused on your driving experience, and I have never driven a car with such comfortable seats (when you drive a 1.1 Hyundai i10 every day, sitting on your butt for a long drive without getting cramps is a major win).

This is the car for those scenic drives to wine farms and countryside jaunts, and the road from Cape Town to Rawsonville is the perfect city escape once you get out of range of all the city traffic.

The price-tag got you dreaming of winning the lottery though? If you splash out a little you can always rent out the Ghibli or any other luxury car just for the day or weekend and experience how the 1% lives - an especially amazing treat for petrolheads. 

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But how can you find Italy in Rawsonville? 

Discover the winemakers of Breedekloof Wine Route

Off the heavily beaten tracks of the Cape Winelands, the Breedekloof Wine Route offers many a family-owned and managed wine farm where you have a bigger chance of tasting with the winemaker than at bigger farms. 

Vineyard in Slanghoek Mountains in the Breede Rive

(Gabi Zietsman)

Italians are known for their love of wine, and South Africans also have a special love for the liquid ambrosia. One wine farm that has the honour of being home to the first Woman Winemaker of the Year award winner - Ivy du Toit.

Her family has been farming grapes for six generations, but only started producing their own wine after Ivy convinced her father to make her winemaking dreams come true. Her wines have won multiple awards and their Izak Bordeaux Reserve Blend 2013 is their most successful wine. 

Their smokey cabernet sauvignon is a must-try, and white wine drinkers will readily enjoy the chardonnay.

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Wine bottle from Jason's Hill Winery in Breede Riv

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Learn to make pasta with Picardi Place

The real Italian experience though is at Picardi Place - where your host Jaco Brand will teach you all you need to know to make a classic Italian dish. The day starts off with an introduction from Brand before heading off to his permaculture garden where everything is organically grown and a roving chicken coop keeps the soil fertilised. All the plants have other companion plants that help them grow and stave off pests.

Brand's main background is landscaping, and these days he focuses on creating gardens that are edible. He stumbled upon Italian cooking while taking a class on his European travels, and decided to bring the pasta-making art back home with him.

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With the picked produce, and a sneaky glass of wine, the pasta-making commences with a few eggs, olive oil and flour - all you need to make pasta. Brand goes through all the technical bits with you, but afterwards you feel like you can take on anyone on Master Chef.

Picardi Place also offers accommodation if you feel like you may be too full from the pasta and wine after your workshop. The Camomile cottage is self-catering and focuses on minimalist design, with a king-sized bed and two loft areas with three single beds each - great for families and squads.

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Home-made pasta with tomato sauce and basil leaves

(Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

*Disclaimer: Gabi Zietsman from Traveller24 was hosted by Maserati to Breede River Valley.