How to visit Franschhoek like a Love Islander

CMonkey Town is a suitable setting for Love Island. Like the contestants themselves, it’s almost absurdly photogenic. And yes, you could say it’s not exactly an island, but there’s definitely a lot to love—most notably the hanging-carpeted valleys that sweep the wine gardens and the delightful hotels and restaurants that adorn them.

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The best of the show is the jewel-like white clapboard town of Franschhoek, an hour’s drive from Cape Town, where the islanders’ villa is located. Its name means “French corner” in Afrikaans – quite fitting as it currently houses a host of hotels and restaurants that are good enough to rival most of France when it comes to glamor, taste and sheer beauty.

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The leader of the group is Babylonstoren. Former magazine editor – and outstanding gardener – Karen Roos is why her 500-acre Cape Dutch wine and fruit farm has become one of the most beautiful places to spend the day or night in the Cape. First, the terrain: an attraction in its own right, filled with rippling streams surrounded by plum trees, hydrangea clusters, tall cacti, and wildflowers. Next is the wine tasting, which costs around £2 per person and takes place in a light, airy, converted warehouse with a choice of five wines, plus a choice of charcuterie and vegetable platters (£10 each).

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Franschhoek with a view in the middle of South African vineyards

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Like its sister establishment in Newt, Somerset, the Babel restaurant gets most of its produce from the garden, meaning that even a simple green salad is packed with more flavor than most complex meals. “We start preparing your food long before you arrive,” says Maranda Engelbrecht, author of The Babel Cookbook. “Ingredients are everything, and here in the Cape we have the best in the world.”

As of this year, a long pool in the shadow of the Drakenstein Mountains has been added to the Babylonstoren portfolio, as well as a hammam and a new spa with some of the best treatments on the Cape Peninsula. It’s hard to beat the 12 cottage suites with thoughtful touches like fynbos in the bathroom for sleeping and bookshelves filled with South African literature.

Located in the famous Franschhoek Valley, Boschendal is one of the prettiest of the local wine farms, with its 17th-century main house, shady oak trees, lakes and picnics on the lawn. But like all great goodies, she wants to be recognized for more than just her looks – she urges celebrity local chef Christiaan Campbell to revamp her The Werf restaurant menu to include seriously gourmet options like braised beef short ribs or pulled duck legs and duck breast. (mains approx £12). Go wine tasting in the refurbished barn in the afternoon (£3 per person), then spend the night at the historic Rhodes Cottage, designed by British builder Herbert Baker.

Men wait to meet the girls at the Franschhoek villa.

(ITV)

A little further down the road is Rustenburg, with its overturned flower beds, lily ponds, 200-year-old labyrinths and gazebos covered with roses, clematis and foxglove. If it weren’t for the bright sunlight and steep mountain views, you’d think you were on the grounds of a stately English home. But this is Rustenberg, the largest of the grande dame Cape Dutch homes (worth a tour whether you drink or not) and home to some of the most beautiful gardens in the wine plantations. Somewhat jarringly, the wine tasting (£2 per person) takes place in a very modern, yet bright building next to the gardens – be sure to try the buttery and richly ripened chardonnay.

For all Love Islanders whose relationships have gracefully moved to the other side, there’s a charming rustic romantic meal at De Meye, a hugely popular restaurant that only opens Friday through Sunday for a simple, three-course set. The lunch (£19) is made almost entirely from ingredients from the garden. Consider a radish salad with pears, pickled shallots, and Karoo cheese, or a grass-fed beef flat rib cooked for 15 hours. Wooden tables and chairs are set in the dappled light of oak trees, and guests are encouraged to kick off their shoes, bury their toes in the grass, and drink a bottle or two of refreshing chenin blanc.

However, the closer you get to the city, the more attractions you will find. Offering superior tasting menus for meat eaters, pescatarians, vegetarians or vegans, Chef’s Warehouse is located in the suburbs. For the first, thin raw veal with oyster mayonnaise and venison with roasted pears and calamari; for the latter, potato salad with truffles (and these are just the starters). Offering a culinary journey of seven shared plates, this beautiful garden-based restaurant makes its guests moan with delight within minutes of picking up their forks.

Franschhoek is all about wine tasting

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

On Franschhoek’s Main Road is Le Quartier Francais – a restaurant consistently ranked in the San Pellegrino Top 50 as one of the first spots in the country to focus on traditional South African gourmet cuisine. Now it offers luxury rooms to spend the night for all the gourmets who want to crash where they eat. Further ahead is Foliage, the initiative of Quartier Francais protégé Chris Erasmus, which has received rave reviews for its creative approach to local cuisine – think black truffle and biltong risotto and ostrich and kidney pie.

But if Love Island winners want to stay around to enjoy their glory, La Cotte is hard to beat. Like a hotel gem with a long shady pool, a mountain-view restaurant, and deep comfortable beds in beautifully decorated rooms, it’s an ideal place to get to know each other under the glare but away from the glare of the nation. of the hot South African sun.

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