Picnicking is possibly the oldest food trend there ever was, probably born from the idea of trying to inject some fun into a plain old packed lunch. Over the years it has grown into family frivolity, a luxurious way to enjoy good food and wine; and mostly as a romantic gesture, with the high probability of a marriage proposal.
Capetonians love a good picnic, add Franschhoek as the destination and you’ve put together a golden trifecta – great view, good food and delectable wine. Allée Bleue does nothing is small measure, if you’re familiar with the wine, you know exactly what I am talking about. A catered chicnic, under big bulky oak trees, looking out onto the gorgeous mountain range, surrounded by greenery – sounds utterly dreamy, and it is.
There are tables and chairs as an alternative to picnic blankets, the choice is yours.
The picnic area is an enclosed space where kids can run free, play soccer, and tire themselves out on the jungle gym – all within a safe environment. Lunch is articulately considerate of everyone’s needs – the kids platters were layered with homemade pizza, carrot sticks, a selection of cold meats, cheese and tomato kebabs. They relished in the options and rattled through their platter in no time. A carefree environment seems to work well for their normally fussy tastebuds.
The adult portions are more than generous and included the signature Allée Bleue Herb Salad with a Cabernet/Merlot wine reduction with pecorino cheese shavings in nifty little jars – shake to coat the dressing on the salad and devour. A platter of shaved cold meats with local cheeses, and oven-baked bread can be enjoyed leisurely. Smoked olive tapenade, aniseed onion marmalade and freshly baked pies and seared beef wraps indulge our palates. The pies are of two varieties, one with a traditional bobotie filling with lightly spiced Malay flavours that warm your insides. The other is a steak option with a rich pastry and a warm meaty gravy centre.
Dessert is a traditional Malva pudding drowning in crème anglaise, as per winter regulation in the Cape. There’s no order in which to devour your picnic, which I think is the best part of it all. You can spend hours picking at the food, there’s no rush whatsoever, you make the rules.
The afternoon is spent soaking up the sun, sipping on a delicate spicy glass of Shiraz, watching the kids make new friends and explore the open spaces together. A game of footie with the dads, sons and daughters is in full swing too – giving mom a chance to do absolutely nothing for a few minutes – sheer pleasure is what I call it.
It is a day well spent, hungry bellies filled to the brim and children thoroughly entertained – a chic idea indeed, this chicnic.
* Menus including a vegetarian option are priced at R245 for a single basket and R460 for a double basket, the kiddies picnic costs R105 per child under 12 years old.
Contact: 021 874 1021
Address: c/o R45 and R310, Franschhoek