• By F&HE contributor Jenny Handley

    There can be no better way to spend a working day than enjoying a culinary escapade in the picturesque valley of Franschhoek. Given a choice, I would make it Grande Provence. Not only does this heritage wine estate boast many award-winning wines, it provides a platform for young, talented executive chef Darren Badenhorst to strut his stuff in their award-winning restaurant.

    I was delighted to represent Food & Home Entertaining at their winter Chef’s Table. Darren’s flair for producing eye-catching, mouth-watering dishes that are innovative and exciting was obvious. After a delicious cauliflower soup with truffle oil, I tucked into the butter-poached baby lobster, married with the Grande Provence Chardonnay followed by quail served in three ways – foie gras stuffed, southern fried and bacon rolled – with wild mushroom, brûlée black fig and star anise jus, accompanied by their pinot noir. As different desserts were served to all six diners, after cracking open a chocolate casing I was treated to a taste and texture sensation… but my eye kept on wandering, with a touch of order envy, to the other desserts, which also looked, and were declared, spectacular.

    An hour’s drive to Grande Provence is well worth it. Next time I will fill up my car and book The Owner’s Cottage for a decadent dining weekend in order to do justice to the superlative wines on offer and perhaps one of their special Tuesday curry evenings. With Darren hailing from Durban, those are sure to be authentic and amazing too!