As you will all remember, Saturday must have been the hottest day we have experienced in Cape Town for a very long time. I booked well in advance for the Winelands Tea experience at the beautiful La Motte Wine Farm in Franschoek. Had I known it would be such a hot day, I would rather have waited until winter. My dear Mom and Dad (who joined us) did not let me forget how I dragged them out of the house all the way to Franschoek on the hottest day of the year.
As we stepped out of our air conditioned car we were hit by a gush of hot air, we limped on through towards the air conditioned entrance where we were greeted with a cool breeze and instant relief from the heat. Entering La Motte is like experiencing a different world. If I had to describe the surroundings- it would be similar to a big courtyard-covered in greenery with huge tall trees creating beautiful shady spots. Just through the trees you see some of the Franschoek mountain range setting the perfect back-drop.
Surrounding the courtyard is a beautiful farm stall, a restaurant called the Pierneef a’ La Motte , a wine tasting room as well as a museum.
The history of the wine farm is an interesting one. The land was granted to a German immigrant named Hans Hattingh in 1695. In 1709 a French Huguenot named Pierre Joubert bought the land and named it after the village he was born in, called La Motte d’Aigues. In 1752, 4000 vines were planted by Gabriel du Toit. (La Motte n.d)
In 1970, La Motte was bought by Dr Anton Rupert and changed the farm to what it is today. (La Motte n.d) The farm is enjoyed and appreciated by many South Africans and Tourists alike. The environment of nature meets art, good food and wine is an experience itself. The museum is inspired by Still life art and here you can view one of the biggest privately owned works of art by South African, Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. With the Rupert’s passion for music, the museum is graced by classical music by Hannelie Rupert-Koegelenberg, the daughter of Dr Anton Rupert. Hannelie owns the farm together with her husband Hein Koegelenberg.
I had heard about the Winelands tea and being a tea and cake fanatic I decided this was a must. I was not in the least disappointed. The tea is served at the restaurant in a beautiful sun room.
We seated at our table and our waitron proceeded to explain how the Winelands tea experience works. The cost is R125.00 p/person with the option of a cup of tea from a variation of teas from Singapore or La Motte’s own house brand coffee or…an MCC Sparkling Wine. You are of course welcome to have all three during your tea experience but only one option is included into the price, if you order more than offered than you are asked to pay extra. Included into the price is the Salmon pancake with cream cheese, macaroon of the day, the South African chocolate truffle, a biltong choux pastry with biltong filling and lastly a choice from their cake selection. There were four of us at our table and we each chose a different cake by choice and not by force :). I had the Carrot cake, my fiancé had the chocolate cake-as men do, my father had the baked cheese cake and my mother, the Frangipani tart, which was the most aesthetically looking cake to photograph-not that the others weren’t.
All treats are neatly placed on beautiful silver individual vintage platters. I was a bit of a greedy guts and had my treats with a cup of crème caramel tea as well as a glass of MCC. The taste of the tea was wonderful and you could just taste the caramel and the aroma of the tea-too die for!
Now, personally I am not a fan of very dry wines but the MCC was perfect and just right for a hot summer’s day. My fiancé opted for a fruit cordial, one of the additional drinks options. It wasn’t your usual sweet cordial, it was more subtle and you could really taste the fruit, to me it tasted of summer berries and left your mouth feeling refreshed.
The winelands tea isn’t your average high tea with a heavily laden buffet table creaking under the weight of forbidden treats. This selection is hand-made and beautifully placed and served to you at the table. If I could travel back in time, I would probably have this experience 100 times over, it was that good! I’m considering building my own time machine.
The carrot cake was so fresh, moist and not too sweet-I saved it for last, it was the best. The macaroon flavour of the day was raspberry, the meringue was crimson in colour and the texture and crunch was how a macaroon should be. The raspberry filling-beautiful!
The biltong choux pastry with biltong filling- I’ve never tasted anything like it, and I’m not a fan of choux pastry but this wasn’t the same as your normal chewy, ‘taste like air’ chocolate éclairs, -This was different and full of flavour. The South African chocolate truffle of the day was Turkish delight, now I don’t know if it was the heat or something but the truffle popped in your mouth and this oozing of delight just streamed into your mouth-my dad kept urging me to drink it with the tea, but my cup was already empty-will just have to go back again and try it with the tea. A vibrantly coloured tower of smoked salmon, cream cheese and pancake was probably the highlight on the plate, garnished with chives, crispy capers and sweet sultanas-I would never have thought of sultanas going with salmon but the contrast of slightly salty with the sweetness of the sultanas had a remarkable taste and texture.
I had to fend for my treats as my fiancé had devoured his within minutes. I savoured every moment, every taste, everything worked together so well and the heat was forgotten. My father and I each had a cup of La Motte’s house-brand coffee, I am not a coffee connoisseur but I loved the hot steamy, richness! The coffee was simply wonderful, if I could describe the taste it would be a roast aroma on the nose and a slightly burnt coffee bean taste, similar to the burnt popcorn kernels that we find at the bottom of the popcorn bowl we all secretly enjoy.
We ended off our tea with a little “Soet sopie.” I opted for the muscadel and my dad had the port. “Soep sopie,” a traditional Cape Dutch wine served by the man of the house. Ours was served in chilled glasses and was just enough to round off the tea. I would definitely recommend the Winelands tea to anyone who enjoys good food and wine with an interest in art and history.
La Motte is child friendly and they have a painting corner set up with an easel and paints for kiddies to paint and have fun and who knows we may even see the works of a budding young Pierneef.
Be sure to sample the grapes on the vines situated at the entrance. You can experience the taste of the different cultivars used in the many fine wines produced at La Motte.
For bookings contact La Motte at
021 876 8030
R45 Main Rd, Franschhoek 7690
La Motte.,n.d,Heritage of La Motte,viewed 14 April 2014, from http://www.la-motte.com/about-us/heritage/.
La Motte.,n.d,The Rupert Family, viewed 14 April 2014, from http://www.la-motte.com/about-us/the-rupert-family/.
All images photographed by Meghan Opperman