Hospitality and French Country Charm at La Petite Ferme
La Petite Ferme boutique winery and luxury accommodation sits just a short way up the Oliphants Pass in Franschhoek and has an unprecedented view over the vineyards and valley below. Nestled into the mountain and surrounded by tall trees, once you are inside the gates it’s easy to think you’re in a little corner of rural France.
The winery and accommodation is styled with French country charm and it exudes this feel at every turn. Low ceilinged rooms, oversized, rustic screed fireplaces that are home to roaring fires, distressed French-styled furniture and a view over the vineyards ablaze with autumn colours complete the feel. The farm is a working winery so guests can take a tour to see how the boutique wines are made, as well as taste what is on offer.
The accommodation at La Petite Ferme consists of vineyard cottages, as well as a Manor House that is divided into four separate areas. Our room – The Library – is part of the Manor House and shared a private pool and view with the other three rooms. Our room was incredibly spacious and beautifully decorated and included a lounge area facing onto a small courtyard, a mini bar stocked with local goodies and all the amenities one would need.
Special touches included under floor heating, a personal fireplace with all the necessary fire-making equipment, a front patio with daybeds and a stunning bathroom with large walk-in shower, separate bath and heated towel rails.
Unfortunately I was struggling with a nasty head cold, so the minute we arrived I was so grateful to be able to climb under the covers of the comfy king-sized bed to have a rest. The heater had already been put on before we arrived so the room was toasty and welcoming. As the winery is set away from the busy town of Franschhoek it is exceptionally quiet and would make for a great place to retire to after a busy day of sightseeing in the area.
At dinner we opted to sit near one of the fireplaces that warm the restaurant and enjoyed the peaceful lighting and intimate setting. Chef Neethling du Toit and his team prepare a set menu which changes seasonally. To start I opted for the lamb tian, wrapped in prosciutto with rocket pesto and poached prunes. It was perfectly cooked and every component was delicious. My partner had the beef samoosa with raita, atchar and poppadom – it was spicy and crispy just as it should be.
For mains I chose the venison skewer served with potato fondant and red wine sauce. The venison was tender and cooked to absolute perfection and the roasted bone marrow served with it added the perfect amount richness to the lean meat. My partner opted for the Asian-style Teriyaki braised pork belly with broth and butternut purée. The portion was generously sized and he ate every last bite. We enjoyed a bottle of the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon with our meal. We were positively popping by this stage, so opted to share a dessert. We liked the unusual sounding almond and prune nougat parfait, which was the perfect, light way to end a rich meal.
One thing which really stood out for us at La Petite Ferme was the exceptional service we received from every single member of the team. From when we arrived and were assisted in the parking lot, to our arrival drink served by a member of the bar team. We were given a tour of all the amenities by a member of reception and at dinner our server was wonderful. Every person we encountered was polite, helpful and impeccably mannered.
Unfortunately because I was struggling with flu I was coughing during dinner. The restaurant duty manager came over and offered to have the kitchen prepare me something to help. At the end of our meal I was delivered a delicious hot toddy of warmed citrus juice with ginger and a hint of chilli. I thought this touch was going above and beyond and was an excellent example of the team’s commitment to ensuring that their guests have the best experience possible. We even noticed that guests who had stayed for a longer period approached team members to hug them goodbye upon leaving – another example of how at home guests feel here.
The breakfast spread the next morning was laden with crispy pastries, local cheeses and salmon, breads and smoothies, plus still a menu of hot courses. We opted to stick to just continental and enjoyed croissants with freshly brewed cappuccinos and fruit bowls.
Our stay at La Petite Ferme was brief but thoroughly enjoyable. We felt rested, well-fed and most of all well taken care of and this is a real credit to the dedicated team across the board.