Cape Town - What is summer without at least one picnic on a wine farm? There are several from which to choose. We picked Durbanville Hills.
The cellar, restaurant and wine-tasting centre are perched quite literally on top of a hill which affords glorious views of Table Mountain, the vineyards and the ocean. There is a large lawn where you can throw down your blanket and pillows that are included in the price of the wicker picnic basket and its contents, or you can sit at a table with chairs. Personally, I don’t consider that a real picnic; sprawling on the ground under a tree is part of the appeal, as are the uninvited ants.
The basket for two costs R310 and contains more than enough for the two adults for which it is designed. Going with a teetotaller (and designated driver) meant I got to drink the whole bottle of Durbanville Hills Merlot Rosé. On the food side, there was a mini baguette, chicken liver pâté with dried fruit chutney, roasted vegetable couscous with basil pesto and feta, two little savoury tarts, a rocket salad with chicken and parmesan, a generous tub of olives, cheeses, biscuits and preserves, fruit skewers, and Turkish delight and nougat to end.
For six-year-old Bella there was the “5 Ants” (far fewer than the number that invaded our blanket) picnic for R75 – a brown paper bag filled with chicken sosaties, sausages with tomato sauce, hot dog, carrot sticks, fresh seasonal fruit skewers, finger biscuits, marshmallows and fruit juice.
Once the staff have delivered your food, wine, blankets and pillows, they leave you to your own devices, which worked for us. We lazed around for several leisurely hours while Bella did the complete opposite, frolicking and gambolling and making us tired just watching her. There are swings, a slide (be careful, it gets very hot in the sun and there were momentary tears) and a jungle gym for the little ones.
The picnics are until the end of April. Bookings are required at least 48 hours in advance during the week and for weekend picnics, by Friday at noon. Bookings can be made at [email protected] or 021 558 1300.
* Some Holiday EsCape Times activities are sponsored by the suppliers.
* Klein Roosboom, Durbanville: Every Saturday in January, 1pm-5pm. Cost: R300 a couple including a bottle of wine, two glasses, cutlery, veggie spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce, fried calamari with tartar sauce, hummus, tzatziki, dolmades and more. Bookings essential, call Café Ruby at 021 975 7965.
* Delheim Wine Estate, Stellenbosch: Eco-friendly “Green Picnics” can be enjoyed on the river banks until April. The handwoven baskets are filled with homemade goodness ranging from pickled pumpkin, cream cheese salmon rolls and ostrich steak salad, to pork rillettes and farm-fresh bread. Available seven days a week, the Delheim Green Picnic costs R149 a person and includes a bottle of Delheim Heerenwijn or Delheim Pinotage Rosé per couple. Vegetarian options are available on request and a special children’s menu can be arranged at R70 a child. Booking is essential. Call 021 888 4607 or e-mail [email protected] Info: www.delheim.com.
* Uitkyk Wine Estate (on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Paarl): Picnic on the lawns at the restored Georgian manor house. The basket for two includes artisanal breads, cheeses, pâtés, olives, a charcuterie selection, smoked salmon, fruit and decadent chocolate brownies, mineral water and a bottle of Uitkyk wine (R350). Upgrade to the R380 picnic, which includes a bottle of the estate’s flagship Carlonet wine or the R400 Glass Memoires picnic, which includes a bottle of the new MCC. Picnic blankets and/or picnic tables are provided. Booking is required 24 hours in advance. Call 021 884 4416 or [email protected]
* Allée Bleue (Franschhoek): “Chicnics” are served in the dappled shade of an old oak tree, on the lawns of the homestead. Baskets are packed with fresh, delicious and nutritious goodies from the farm’s fertile soils themselves. The premium package includes a bottle of the farm’s wine and all menus incorporate Allée Bleue herbs. Children will be well supervised as they enjoy themselves on the jungle gym, jumping castle and trampoline.
Prices start from R150, while a special basket for children is available at R55, and advance booking is required. Call 021 874 1021, and see www.alleebleue.com for more info.
* Du Toitskloof Wines (at the entrance of the Du Toitskloof Pass, 90km from Cape Town): Choose your own delicious treats for your picnic from the list of cured meats, fresh artisanal breads, pâtés, salads, cheeses, sweet treats and snacks such as biltong and cheese straws along with your favourite Du Toitskloof Wine. Find a spot on the lush lawns under one of the umbrellas and spread out on the blankets provided. The free-form jungle gym will keep the kids entertained. Picnics will be available every Saturday until the end of April, 9am-3pm, and cost between R80 and R200 depending on your final selection of eats. For more information or to make a booking, call 023 349 160.