I haven’t been to the Bastille Festival in Franschoek for several years. I went for the first few years and then I started going to the Knysna Oyster Festival. This year, work commitments forced me to cancel my Knysna plans so I ended up at the Bastille Festival again.
It has certainly grown! It used to be fairly quiet and civilised, but there are masses of people now. It reminds me of the cheese festival (but not as bad). I haven’t actually been to Franschhoek itself for quite a while so I didn’t want to waste my whole day in a tent. I arranged a visit to Haut Espoir in the morning (more on that just now) and also booked a table for lunch at Haute Cabriere. So we ended up arriving at the festival tent after 2pm. Luckily we had booked because they ran out of tickets a while before we arrived. Seeing as we had tasted wine all morning and enjoyed a two course lunch, we weren’t in the mood to taste wines and food. Which saved us quite a bit of cash as tasting tickets are R10 each which is absolutely ridiculous. Considering the size of a tasting, R100 would barely fill a glass. To get in cost R100 as well and the food is not cheap, so it can be quite an investment.
We ended up chatting to friends, watching Schalk Burger get his photo taken and enjoying the sounds of Lonesome Dave Ferguson. After two hours or so we got bored and decided to visit the Elephant and Castle in town. The last time I went to the Bastille Festival I went to the Elephant and Castle and it was empty, this time I never got in. The courtyard outside was packed and they had 2 bars in the courtyard. I caught a glimpse of my friends at the bar inside but there was no way I could get to them.
Lunch at Haute Cabriere was a little disappointing. We tried two courses with the paired wines. I started with the quail (R68) which was cold and completely overwhelmed by the homemade ‘chutney’. My partner had the goatsmilk terrine (R64) which she was happy with but not blown away. For mains I had the beef fillet (R140) which was good and quite a generous portion. My partner had the springbok fillet (R130) which was also good. The paired wines are selected from the Haute Cabriere stable (which includes Pierre Jordaan). I think the selection limits the pairing, I didn’t find my paired wines to be complimetary at all. At that price I would suggest just ordering a bottle of your favourite.
As you can see the prices are not cheap, without drinks you would be looking at R200+ for two courses. Your definitely paying for the environment thought. Haute Cabriere is a stunning farm with amazing views. The toilet is downstairs and if you peer through the curtain at the bottom of the stairs you have an amazing perspective on rows of wine barrels with a tasting table at the end. I need to do a wine tasting there! Luckily they are currently running a special during the week, 2 courses with a glass of bubbly for R100 which is an absolute steal. So if you’ve been wanting to try it out, this is your chance.
The service was capable, but one thing that did really annoy me was the addition of a R5 Streetsmart donation without our permission. I am a supporter of Streetsmart and would have happily contributed but it is meant to be a voluntary donation. I’m sure Streetsmart themselves wouldn’t be happy with the contributions being added to the bill without warning.
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