Summer’s just the time to enjoy a ‘chicnic’
WITH December mere days away, mostly glorious weather and the distinct whiff of holiday season in the air, it’s safe to say we’re on the brink of summer. And what is better in summer than a picnic?
You can pack your own and head to any number of our beautiful outdoor locations, or you can opt for one of the many wine farms which will do all the hard work for you – supplying the food, wine, the blankets and whisking it all away afterwards so no menial chores when you get home.
Resolutions are traditionally made at new year, but I’m ready to make one now: have more picnics.
We went to our first at Allée Bleue, Franschhoek, a wine, fruit and herb estate where they do “chicnics” on the lawns near the tasting room. Part of me still believes a proper picnic should be eaten on the ground, but that was in my younger, more agile days. Here they are served at tables set out in the dappled shade of oak trees, with umbrellas and ice buckets for your wine and this suits my tired old knees just fine.
There is lots of space for children to run around and they can squeal and play to their hearts’ content on the jungle gym, jumping castle and trampoline, so it’s a good option for a family day out. For those who are not fans of the little ones, they are far enough away to not be any bother at all while remaining safely in their parents’ sight.
The wicker picnic baskets are packed with lovely light and fresh goodies sourced from the farm. Breads are wrapped in paper and everything else is served in glass jars.
There are standard and vegetarian options which, apart from a couple of items, are almost the same. Inside your basket you’ll find: chunky farm jam; salsa verde; tomato, garlic and thyme chutney; onion and aniseed marmalade; a mixed salad with parmesan cheese; wild rice salad with baby carrots, pickled onions, basil pesto and smoked feta; baby fennel, red onion, and preserved citrus with hazelnut dressing; soy and sesame cured beef stir fry with egg noodles; salted chicken with coconut shavings, dried mango, and coconut dressing; and cheeses.
Vegetarians will swop the meaty jars for grilled Mediterranean veggies in a balsamic reduction and pickled organic beetroot with goat’s cheese and garlic emulsion. The sweet ending takes the shape of mini melkterts and fruit from the farm.
● Available daily, chicnic baskets should be booked in advance. Prices start from R185 a person including two glasses of wine (cellar door prices are very reasonable should you want more), and R65 for children under 12. There is live music on Sundays.
Allée Bleue Wine Estate is at the intersection of the R45 and R310. More information see www.alleebleue.com, and to book call 021 874 1021.
FRESH: Enjoy an al fresco lunch in style this summer at Allée Bleue.