Cooking Wild in Franschhoek

Love food? Then you’re sure to have heard of  – or been to – Franschhoek. An hour’s drive outside of Cape Town, this pretty Cape Winelands town has a well-earned reputation as South Africa’s culinary capital. But while it’s the big names such as ‘The Tasting Room’, ‘Foliage’ and ‘Pierneef a La Motte’ that grab the awards and attention, there are also tucked-away reasons for foodies to put Franschhoek at the top of their travel list. The 2-day culinary and wine tour with Cooking Wild Safaris showcases these hidden treasures of Franschhoek.

Our Giltedge Product Manager, Erika Costa, went to see and taste it for herself.

Cooking Wild Safaris

Cooking Wild focuses on unique foodie experiences. You might start your day at an artisan coffee roasters, forage for wild mushrooms with the head chef of Foliage, taste wines that are paired with handmade Belgian chocolates, or learn how to blend your own bottle of wine.

No two days are the same. Yet whatever lies in store will certainly include good food, delicious wine and a few interesting characters along the way. In the evenings you learn to cook delicious African-inspired dishes, although in Erika’s words: “This is not your typical cooking class!” But more on that later.

Rickety Bridge & the Aphrodisiac Shack

Arriving in Franschhoek Erika checked into Basse Provence. It’s a quaint guest house right next door to Rickety Bridge – where she would cook up a storm that evening.

After checking into Basse Provence, Erika and her group were driven over the spectacular Franschhoek Pass to a smokehouse called the Aphrodisiac Shack. Sean, the owner, smokes everything from bacon and cheeses to chocolate and olive oil.

They sat down at wooden tables, while Sean entertained them with stories and fed them a feast of a charcuterie board which included free-range pork and smoked caviar, washed down with craft beer.

A Taste of Morocco (or Cape Malay)

Then it was time to head back to Rickety Bridge for their hands-on cooking experience. All of the Cooking Wild menus are African inspired: the first evening was Moroccan and the second, Cape Malay.

The chef runs through the recipes, leaving you to pick which one you want to prepare. Dishes are intricate, but the recipes are easy to follow and the chef is always there to lend a hand.

There are three cooking stations and you cook canapes, starters, mains and desserts in your group. Erika prepared roasted Dukkah crusted Moroccan vegetables on the firt night. Then everyone sat down together and “ate like kings”.

The dinners are served at Paulina’s Restaurant at the Rickety Bridge wine estate. There’s plenty of wine to accompany the food and the satisfaction of having prepared a communal feast.

Boschendal & the Chocolate Factory

Day two started with a visit to Boschendal Farm. The group was welcomed with champagne and orange juice. After snacking on salmon and cream cheese croissants from the deli, they went on a private tour of the estate and organic vegetable gardens.

Next, it’s was off to Anura Wine Estate for cheese tasting followed by, a real highlight of the trip, a visit to the chocolate factory. The sign on the door reads: “7 Days without Chocolate Makes One Weak”. They were treated to a demonstration of how these incredible truffles are made by hand.

Lunch at Rickety Bridge set them up for a cellar tour and tasting with the winemaker. Everyone even got a chance to blend their own bottle of red! After all the wine, that evening’s cooking experience was a little fuzzier around the edges with loads of laughter. But, once again, a feast was produced – this time in the style of Cape Malay cuisine.

Experience Your Own Cooking Wild Safari

If you’re planning on coming to Cape Town, ask your consultant about a Cooking Wild Safari. It’s going to be a highlight of your holiday.