On Saturday the 29th of May my friends and I participated in the most fun, amazing, entertaining and tasty event in Franschhoek namely the Lions Amazing Race!
The Franschhoek Lions Club organised the event in order to raise money to buy a sorely needed Electrocardiogram (ECG) machine for the Franschhoek community. Twenty-two wine farms in the region participated in the event. The 'Amazing Race' format was used; at each farm we did a wine tasting after which we had to perform a wine related task that was timed. At the end of the day the team with the best time would walk away with the grand prize of 15 cases of wine! Every team also had to have a color scheme and dress accordingly.
At 9:30 we received our first clue and the pink & black team aka The Samurai Pizza Cats was off to My Wyn!
As we drove closer to our first stop, the house at My Wyn appeared out of the thick vegetation and mist high on the mountain slopes. My Wyn is the smallest wine cellar in Franschhoek, Jacoline Haasbroek runs the place and produces all the wines herself using traditional wine making equipment.
Our first task was hand dipping wine bottles in wax in order to seal them. Due to the weather being typical Cape-like it was raining, so the whole operation moved into the cellar. We each sealed one bottle and affixed a label to it. We even got to keep our own bottle!
After successfully completing the sealing we received our second clue which lead us to...Glenwood!
Glenwood is the home of the Blushing Bride Protea, a rare species that was once thought extinct! Apparently the higher in the mountain the flower grows, the darker shade of pink the blossoms are. There is a little folklore attached to the flower:
Historically it is reputed that French Hugenots farmers would approach their girlfriends with a S. florida flower in their lapels when about to ask for their hand in marriage. The common name, Blushing Bride, apart from the obvious inference of the flowers colour, derives from the fact that the suitor’s intention was apparent to all who met him, much to the embarrassment of his bride to be. The deeper the pink colour the more serious the intentions of the suitor.Source:Haut Espoir Fynbos Friday
At Glenwood our task was to throw boules so that they land within a circle, once that was finished our clue pointed us in the direction of Holden Manz.
Guy Kedian welcomed us at Holden Manz with a lovely platter of cured meats, fresh bread and butternut soup. For the task each of us had to catch a grape in our mouth thrown by the other members of the team who had to stand about 7 meters away. Much hilarity ensued!
The next stop for the day was L'Ormarins where we had to run around looking for answers between the old car exhibits! Each of us drew a random piece of paper with a clue on and I got the task of changing a car's tyre! Afterwards we were directed to La Motte.
We tasted wine in a private tasting room at La Motte at a beautifully set table. Afterward we were taken to the Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant where we were served a truffled white bean soup with goats cheese foam at the Chef's table by the chef, Chris Erasmus, himself!
It was wonderful sitting at the table as you can see right into the kitchen (and I'll refrain from adding 'where the magic happens'... *cough*).
Next we went to the museum to find some elephants (as Franschhoek was first called Olifantshoop) in one of the paintings. Then we set off to Vrede en Lust.
We had to listen carefully during the wine tasting as we were quizzed afterwards (the original plan involved running around the farm to find the answers but the weather wasn't playing along). It was even harder to pay attention as we had been served a cheese platter with 5 different cheeses served with preserves, tempura olives and bread basket in their beautiful tasting room. All the cheeses come from Cotage Fromage, a deli and cheese shop situated on the farm.
Our last stop for the day was at Chamonix where they decided to give us Schnapps shots instead of wine...
Our task at Chamonix was to each down a shot of Schnapps (this is after the initial tasting) and then push another team member in a wheelbarrow around the parking area.
Each team member had to have a turn pushing the wheelbarrow and in turn being the cargo.The Schnapps burning in my stomach fueled my desire to get the running bit over with as soon as possible!
Seven clues, seven wine farms, seven wine tastings and seven timed wine related tasks were done! After admiring the view, we returned to Goederust for the prize giving. Dinner was then served which included the famous Goederust farm bread.
The Lions Club did a fantastic job organising the Amazing Race. Everyone I spoke to had a ball of a time and definitely discovered some new Franschhoek gems! I truly felt like we were treated like royalty at every farm we visited. The Lions Club also raised enough money to be able to buy the much needed ECG machine.
Thank you very much to Lodine Maske for all the hours she put into organising the event as well as all the other members of the Lions Club Franschhoek, you'll definitely be seeing all of us next year!