Cheese tasting at Fromages de France
Hidden in the corner of the La Cotte wine shop in the centre of town, Fromages de France is a cheese shop that will transport your taste buds straight to the cheese boards of France.
Owners Lodine Maske and her husband Ludwig are passionate about good cheese. So passionate is Lodine, in fact, that a few years ago, when Ludwig confessed that he didn’t see the appeal of French cheese, she packed their bags and took him all the way to France to sample the flavours of the French fromages.
Their cheese counter is stocked with a variety of around 125 French cheeses – most I’d never even heard of before – that they have selected for quality and flavour, and imported exclusively from French suppliers, who took months to be won over.
A cheese tasting at Fromages de France is free, and they offer up to seven cheeses per day to taste. Learn about what it means to “ripen” a cheese, and why “sell by” dates should be ignored when you’re dealing with quality French cheeses.
I guarantee you’ll leave the store with a new view of the humble Brie, and possibly even as a turophile.
Coffee tasting at Terbodore
As every foodie knows, no day can get started without a good cup of coffee. If you’d rather forgo your daily dose of java than have a cup of hotel coffee, you’ll love Terbodore.
Roasting their own beans, sourced from Ethopia, Indonesia, Uganda, Malawi and South America, in their Franschhoek roastery, Terbodore’s coffee shop-cum-retail outlet is your beacon of hope in an ocean of instant coffee.
In the 30 minutes that I was in the store, about 30 people came in and owner Michael McCaskill knew almost every one by name. I always say that visitors should go where the locals go – and Terbodore is certainly the place to find locals.
Book a coffee tasting at Terbodore, or just pop in to soak up the atmosphere and drink some great coffee. (Tip: if you have some emails to catch up on, they offer free, and fast wifi.)
Cooking lesson at Leopard’s Leap
The shiny kitchen at Leopard’s Leap is a great place to get together with friends or family, and spend an evening learning about food and cooking. They have a series of cooking courses and demonstrations from which to choose.
The wine-fuelled lessons with chef Pieter de Jager can accommodate up to 22 people. After the lesson you’ll sit down to enjoy what you’ve prepared, over a bottle of Leopard’s Leap wine. Check the website for details on upcoming classes.
Beer tasting at Haut Espoir (Ndlovu Brewery)
Not strictly a foodie experience, the beer tasting at Haut Espoir wine estate is something any beer lover will enjoy. Their six varieties include Mushroom Stout, Rooibos Lager, Suikerbossie Weiss and straight lager, stout and weissbier.
While you’re there, sample some of winemaker Rob Armstrong’s outstanding range of Haut Espoir wines. The Gentle Giant is as the name suggests: A big wine, with a gentle side.
It’s not uncommon to end up spending hours at the farm and leaving with a carful of wine. Tastings are by appointment only, so call ahead or tweet @rambowine to book.
Charcuterie tasting with Neil Jewell at Bread & Wine
The pork that chef Neil Jewell uses for his range of cured meats and sausages is sourced from a farm out in Caledon that lives up to all the idealistic ideas of a traditional pig farm. Here, 300 pigs live happy lives in pastures covering 500 hectares.
When Neil cures meat, he cures meat that he wants to be able to feed his kids. And that means that he makes sure he uses ethical, quality produce. The result is a range of delicious French-style sausages, Spanish chorizo, salami and meats infused with brandy and cardamom.
The best way to sample these delicious meats is to book a table at Bread & Wine at Moreson, and order the charcuterie platter. Or pop into the deli and load up a basket to take home.