Ted and John in South Africa 2011 travel blog

Cows with Calla Lilies (on the way to the winery)

Hollywood eat your heart out

View from Mont Rochelle

View from Wine Tasting terrace at Mont Rochelle

View from terrace at Mont Rochelle wine tasting

Sunday, August 27

Wining and Dining

We decided to take it easy on our first full day in Franschhoek.  We got up leisurely, had breakfast here and then took a walk to a local winery our new best friends from the UK(who don't even know we're best friends) told us they would be having dinner at tonight when we met them at last night's restaurant.  This place is called Mont Rochelle and it's a stunner.  Drop dead gorgeous hotel and restaurant overlooking breathtaking valleys and vineyards.  We booked our dinner there for tonight and we're hoping our new best friends from the UK(who don't even know we're best friends) won't be too shocked to see us there or report us for stalking.

We went to the wine tasting room there and each of us tried out four different wines.  Now if truth be told, I never understood that whole wine tasting culture stuff.  I mean, if it's wet and it's red, it's red wine in my book.  But after one official wine tasting, I'm proud to report that I have really gotten the hang of the lingo.  In fact, Johnny was quite impressed with my description of the wine I most enjoyed today:  "The wine shows an intense purple red color, with a well rounded palate.   The tannin structure is silky yet structured, leaving a velvety yet elegant and clean mouth feel complimented by notes of cassis, black cherry, and cigar box on the bouquet.  Judicious use of coopers results in exquisite tension between fruit and wood while clean balanced acidity provides further balance and elegance with a nice kick in the butt when you try to stand up."

After our successful wine education, we went to a presentation called "Chocolate Experience" where a skilled chocolatier gave us the history of chocolate, free samples to taste and an exhibition of candy making.  It was actually very interesting and the dark Belgian chocolate was delicious.  The young black man giving the talk seemed very well rehearsed but that didn't stop him from taking the opportunity to make a few sexual innuendoes  regarding dark chocolate, e.g. "once you go black, you never go back."  I had to explain it to Johnny; it went right over the poor thing's head.

It's now Sunday evening and we have just returned from an incredible dinner at Mont Rochelle.  Our new best friends from the UK were there and I'm happy to say that they now know they are our best friends.  That would be Fred and Sheila.  We chatted a bit when they arrived and about mid-point in the meal and then they invited us to sit at their table after we had all finished eating and we talked for another half hour or so.  

The dinner was described as a "Winter Warmer Special" which included 3 courses and a glass of wine for 190 Rand (about $27 US).  The 3 courses quickly turned into about 7 after the amuse bouche, the starter, the sorbet, the main, the pre-dessert, the dessert, and then the hand made chocolates with the bill.  The food was exquisite and the presentations were all works of art.  Both of us think it's quite possibly the best meal we've ever had.  I'm thinking Johnny's going to have to get off of work a little earlier every day from now on to recreate that kind of home dining experience.

We're counting on another beautiful weather day tomorrow for a road trip to Hermanus to see whales and a drive along the Coast Route.


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