Outing Report: Eikehof Estate- 21st April 2016
The night before our trip we had gorgeous soaking rain and we woke up to cloudy skies with the promise of more rain. We were able to board the coach without getting wet. We drove through to Franschhoek on the N1 motorway with a few little bursts of drizzle.
First stop was the Jam Jar – we were lured to the Jam Jar by a recent post on the Eat Out website. The ladies did-their-thing purchasing yet another bottle of jam to take home!
“You can’t resist this little roadside building with its walls painted with fruity murals. Inside you’ll find exotic rarities such as dark-whisky marmalade, kumquat-liqueur jam, berry and lavender jelly and fig and walnut jam. Chutneys, fruity sauces, syrups and cordials are also for sale.
Ethical shopper tip: Everything (bar the olives) is made on-site with fruit from the grounds or surrounding area”
After this our next stop was Franschhoek where everyone was given just on ¾ of an hour to browse the quaint shops. Many headed to Huguenot Chocolates and some headed to buy candles ; olive oil and flavored vinegar on tap ; in fact when we all met again at the coach many little bags of ‘gathering’ were shown to each other – comparing what they found and sharing everything is what makes ladies happy!
The weather was closing in and rain was on-the-way. We reached Eikehof just outside of town where Elize and Francois are 4th generation family members of the Malherbe family and more friendly people one cannot imagine.
Elize met us at the door and Francois was soon on hand to introduce us to his Sauvignon Blanc wine and give us all a wonderful background of the farm. One can feel their passion!
This estate under the shade of lush green old oak trees alongside the R45, is in the vicinity of La Motte. This hidden gem has belonged to the Malherbe family since 1903. Francois today makes wines in the very cellar his grandfather did (even his grandfather’s old truck is evident outside)
Very soon Elize and her staff served us delicious individual chicken pies served with fresh vegetables and a table salad. Francois produced his Cabernet Sauvignon and even let everyone taste his Merlot.
Eikehof is on the Franschhoek Tram route and very soon 8 tourists arrived and were seated and offered wine tasting. The Franschhoek Tram is such a wonderful addition to wine tasting in Franschhoek. They drive you around in ‘old fashioned’ vehicles which look like the old trams! You go from wine estate to wine estate and do wine tasting and the joy is that you don’t have to worry about driving yourself around and finding-your-way!
A combination of tram and tram-bus transports passengers around a loop of stops allowing them to hop-off at each stop and experience the activities on offer, be it wine tasting, a cellar tour, lunch or simply a stroll through the vineyards and when they are ready, hop-on to continue the tour.
The tour takes passengers right into the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, with a narration focusing on the history of Franschhoek and wine cultivation in the valley, complimentary wine tastings and unparalleled views of the valley and vineyards.
After we had all spent the best part of 2 and a bit hours at this Estate many of the ladies were heard to say that they felt as if they had been guests at a family member’s home for lunch. A fire crackling in the corner / wonderful service / but best of all the hospitality of Elize and Francois will make Eikehof a place you will want to return to time-and-again!
There was a misunderstanding about the dessert but this was very quickly rectified. Elize prepared some cheese platters for our group with biscuits / fig preserve / sweet chilli sauce. This coupled with a cup of coffee or tea rounded off our day completely.
Many were loathe to leave the warmth of this fabulous estate but we have vowed to return in summer when Elize said she would lay a long table under the oaks and we could all enjoy the magnificent views of this superb estate!