La Petite Ferme: dining with a view

April 29, 2023 (Last Updated: June 19, 2023)

There are just two roads in and out of Franschhoek, a culinary treasure in the Winelands: Route 45 from Stellenbosch or Paarl, or via the Franschhoek Pass from Villiersdorp. The latter is far and away the prettier of the two.

At the start of the pass, as you head out of the town, lies the picture-perfect La Petite Ferme with possibly the best views of the valley.

Picture: Lorraine Kearney

There are several ways you can enjoy these views. La Petite Ferme is a boutique hotel with 10 well-appointed rooms where you can lay your head for the night – five Vineyard suites and five Manor House suites. It has a wine cellar, making a full range of wines, including reds, whites, rosé and Cap Classique under the steady hand of winemaker Wikus Pretorius.

There is also a restaurant that specialises in contemporary country cuisine. It runs along the front of the main building looking out over the grass, the vineyards and the valley. It is here that we booked a table for a special themed evening. Cinnamon was the chosen ingredient, each dish cleverly spiced with the aromatic bark.

READ MORE: This winter comes with delicious food events at the lovely La Petite Ferme

The menu ranged from harvest-time mosbolletjies with cinnamon butter to a very fine take on a traditional milk tart. There was an interesting Fire & Ice course, made of carrot and cinnamon soup with a carrot sorbet. The sweet potato, ricotta and cinnamon tortellini was delicious. The pork belly with apple and cinnamon tarte au tatin made the meat-eaters happy.

Tortellini / Picture: Lorraine Kearney

Over the winter, La Petite Ferme is hosting several limited evenings, open to hotel guests and other visitors: The Chef’s Table from May to September; Themed Evenings from April to September on the last Friday of each month; and two Winemaker’s Tasting Dinners on the last Thursdays of May and June.

Fire and Ice / Picture: Lorraine Kearney


The Chef’s Table

The Chef’s Table comprises a five-course dinner with wine pairing, carefully curated by head chef Ricardo Watson, senior sous chef Joshua le Roux, and Wikus. It’s available for groups of six to 10 guests from Wednesdays to Saturdays for dinner only.

Milk Tart / Picture: Lorraine Kearney


The Themed Evenings

The Themed Evenings take place on the last Fridays of April, July, August and September. Each comprises a five-course dinner with wine pairing. The dinners are inspired by a flavour chosen by the chefs that is used across all five courses, which are paired with an estate wine:

  • Themed Evening: Citrus – Friday, 28 July
  • Themed Evening: Mushroom – Friday, 25 August
  • Themed Evening: Chocolate – Friday, 29 September

Picture: Lorraine Kearney

ALSO SEE: Find out “Where to eat in Paarl

The Winemaker’s Tasting Dinners

The Winemaker’s Tasting Dinners are hosted by Wikus, who draws on his experience of local and international wines.

  • Winemaker’s Tasting Dinner 1: Viognier takes centre stage. Traditional to France’s northern Rhône valley, the cultivar is known for its delicate acidity, dryness and varied expressions, while the dinner is dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon. Known as a full-bodied wine, it is nonetheless capable of delicacy and elegance in skilled hands. Thursday, 25 May
  • Winemaker’s Tasting Dinner 2: Chardonnay is the chosen wine. It’s a bold grape that surprises and delights in all its different guises. Thursday, 29 June

Courgette Cake / Picture: Lorraine Kearney

Each evening begins with a showcase tasting of four wines – one from La Petite Ferme, two from other Winelands regions, and one international. All the wines on the evening are the same cultivar to compare different expressions and the effect of terroir and technique. The tastings are followed by a three-course dinner, inspired by Wikus’s world travels.

These dishes are not on the restaurant’s à la carte menu. ‘Our wine-paired dinners will provide enthusiasts of our beloved restaurant the chance to return to their favourite, month after month, each time to experience a different sensory indulgence,’ he says.

Each dinner is R1 450 per person. Booking is essential. Reservations are limited to make for an intimate experience. To reserve your table e-mail [email protected]

Be sure to check out The 25 Best Restaurants in Stellenbosch.

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Written by Lorraine Kearney

Feature image: Lorraine Kearney

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