Grande Provence: Picnic in decadent French style
By Bianca Coleman
Whether you eat in the restaurant or al fresco, a meal at Grande Provence in Franschhoek is a fabulous treat.
Last year I had a meal there that blew me away with its flavours and presentation, and this summer I went back for a picnic. A table was set on the lawn under an oak tree, from which we had a view of the mountains and the vineyards. The basket was brimming with jars of delectable goodies.
The basic picnic has a crusty baguette, butter and preserves, a chunk of saucisson, a circle of brie, a garden salad, a chocolate brownie, and includes a bottle of Angel’s Tears wine as well as still or sparkling water.
Executive chef at The Restaurant at Grande Provence Darren Badenhorst applies the same creativity and skill to this casual dining as he does to his indoor menu. What I like about this particular picnic is that you can add extra jars according to taste and appetite, with each one being individually charged. Very often a pre-packed picnic basket will contain things you might not want, and which go to waste.
On this note, you can accommodate your dietary requirements as well; Darren provided a little loaf of gluten-free bread which, unlike any other I have encountered, did not weigh the same as a brick.
Top up your meal with rabbit liver parfait, seasonal fruits like nectarines and bunches of grapes, wild mushroom quiche, chunky Waldorf and rocket salads, and rose and white chocolate macaroons. Prices for these range from R15 to R45 a person. The salads are in jars as well, with clever lids into which the dressings are screwed.
The flair is French, particularly if you want to just tear of hunks of fresh bread to stuff into your mouth with sausage and creamy cheese, washed down with wine. Those little quiches with their buttery flaky pastry were divine.
While we sat on chairs and ate at a table with a crisp white cloth, and the fanciest plastic cutlery I have ever seen, you can spread a blanket on the grass and do it that way. The picnic area is secluded, and there is a children’s play area.
While you are there, take a stroll through the sculpture garden, and visit the art gallery which always has amazing pieces on display. You can visit the tasting room, or sample the wines outdoors under the trees.
* To book your basket at R245 a person, call The Restaurant at Grande Provence a day in advance on 021 876 8600, or send an email to email@example.com.
The summer picnics take place until April 30, weather permitting. Only a limited amount of baskets are available each day so make your reservation early to avoid disappointment.
For more information visit www.grandeprovence.co.za, Facebook.com or Twitter: @grande_provence.