Destination Boschendal: Stay, Drink, Shop and Connect this Summer
Destination wine farms have become a thing and few do it better than Boschendal. Gone are the days of visiting the Winelands just to taste wine, nowadays a wine farm visit is an all-encompassing experience, with top-notch culinary offerings, luxury accommodation and curated retail shopping. Boschendal has it all and then some.
Not only is there a plethora of things to experience at Boschendal but every inch is an Instagramable pic worth taking. From the tree-lined entrance to the twinkling lights of the night market, the burgeoning Werf garden and everything in between – it’s a feast for the senses. With travel opening up and summer finally here, there is no better time to experience all that is on offer.
Accommodation at Boschendal
Staying over at Boschendal is a must-do and there are a number of different options to choose from. From a private villa to a variety of cottages, a tented camp and more. We spent a night in the stunning Cottage 1685 – a South African National Heritage Site and a beautiful step back in time. The Cape Dutch cottage was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, who was commissioned by Cecil John Rhodes in the late 1800s to create a ‘country retreat’. Which he did, quite perfectly.
In keeping with the heritage of the building, the decor inside features period pieces like original flooring, hardwood ceilings and ornate furnishings. Nowadays modern amenities, such as ducted aircon, a gas stove, refrigeration and an ice maker bring the cottage from the 1800s right into the current era. It’s a blissful escape from modern life but with all the creature comforts.
The cottage is set in immaculate gardens lined with rose bushes and dwarfed by a massive oak that provides shady respite. The front stoep is where you want to be at 5 p.m., with a glass of white wine in hand – this is the sweet spot, where the sometimes oppressive Winelands sunshine starts to shift and a cool evening breeze tempers the heat.
We sat back and enjoyed a glass of Boschendal Blanc de Noir, as the sun began to set and the estate peacocks strolled by.
Dining at Boschendal
There are a number of options for dining at Boschendal, the Farm Deli provides breakfast and lunch every day. Earlier in the day, we had dined on salad and pasta, while sitting outdoors in the dappled shade of the deli.
My salad, with a base of creamy yoghurt, plenty of greens from The Werf Garden, juicy grilled chicken and a mustard dressing was so delicious. Sticking with the green theme my partner enjoyed a spaghetti dish with pesto (made from herbs from the garden), freshly picked green vegetables and homemade ricotta.
There are bigger meals like fish and chips and burgers on the menu, but our plan was to visit the weekly Friday Night Market, so tummy space was at a premium.
The Boschendal Night Market
If you haven’t yet visited the Boschendal Night Market you are in for a treat. The team transforms the central tree-lined werf (courtyard) area into a swathe of twinkling lights, under which food and drinks are served from 6 p.m. onwards on Friday nights. Live music fills the air and the whole place comes to life with the clinking of glasses and the chatter of friends and family catching up. It’s really quite magical.
A pork rotisserie is going from earlier in the day so that it’s ready to be served as the market opens (hence the need for tummy space!). We picked up a chilled bottle of Chardonnay Pinot Noir, along with a serving of pork and baby potatoes, and found a spot on the grass to chill and tuck in.
There’s really something for every palate at the night market, from plant-based options to freshly shucked oysters (don’t forget the MCC), curries and brisket rolls to name just a few. Even better, you can browse the Boschendal Butchery, pick your cut of farm-reared Angus beef and have it braaied for you there and then!
Of course, you have to end off with something sweet and again, there are plenty of things to choose from – even speciality baked items that are only available at the market (milk tart filled doughnuts, anyone?). My partner was enticed by the aroma of freshly made cinnamony pancakes and proceeded to eat three!
Up and at ‘Em
After a blissful night’s sleep in the pure silence that only the countryside can provide, we awoke with the need to burn some pancake calories and so decided on a walk.
Boschendal is well-known for its mountain bike and hiking trails and the friendly team at the Hiking Hut can point you in the right direction.
We opted to walk right from the cottage up towards the mountains – there we met up with the MTB trails that are clearly marked all the way and easy to follow.
One piece of advice, if you choose to do the same, sunscreen is non-negotiable, as is a hat and water. The trails are quite easy but there is little shade and the sun can be unrelenting. The panoramic views from up top are totally worth the effort though.
When we arrived back at the cottage, a dip in the private pool was a must and definitely helped cool down tired muscles! We then sat down to a lovely breakfast box sent from the deli that included fresh juices, bread baked that morning, homemade granola, yoghurt and fruits.
Wine Tasting at Boschendal
It would be remiss to visit Boschendal and not do some wine tasting, so as it headed towards midday we made our way down to do just that. The wine tasting centre has moved and is now accommodated at The Werf Restaurant. With long bench seating under the trees, it is the perfect setting.
Along with wine tasting, you can opt to order small plates for sharing and I highly recommend this. Snacking with wine is always a good thing and these are no ordinary plates.
We ordered the Braaied Angus Sirloin with charred carrot purée and the Potato Gnocchi with mushrooms and soft poached farm egg and honestly, both were utterly sublime.
While I love an artfully textured bowl, they do make it very hard to scrape the last remnants of a dish without making an awful racket. However, I suffered the indignant look from my partner in order to mop up the last bites of both – it was totally worth it.
The Farm Shop and Butchery
If you think that sounds like a lot to have done, wait there’s more… Boschendal has recently launched its brand spanking new Farm Shop and it is full of the most glorious treats. There is also a second pop-up shop that is currently filled with Christmas goodies – both are so worth a visit.
The Farm Shop and Butchery can keep you busy for hours, there is a stunningly curated selection of crockery, linens, books, gifts and more.
Everything from onion jam to marinades, fig preserve, honey and olives – if you couldn’t find a beautiful gift in there, I would be shocked. And that’s all before you’ve reached the butchery, which is filled with local Angus beef cuts, as well as pork and free-range chicken. Veggies handpicked from the garden, premade salads, frozen pies and the like are all also on offer to take home. It is a veritable treasure trove.
Possibly the place that really caught us out though was the bakery. Who can walk past freshly baked mince pies, pasteis de nata, glistening fruit tarts, carrot cake… the list goes on. I dare say we practically rolled out the door finally. Bottled guavas under one arm and a bag filled with at least one of every baked good.
Book Your Experience
Even though we got through so many divine experiences during our stay at Boschendal, I feel like we really only scratched the surface. There is so much more to see and try (baked goods included!). There are Boschendal’s famous picnics, wine flights that are paired with local chocolates, strolls through the garden, dinner at The Werf, bikes to hire, special events – the list goes on. It can’t all be done in a day but it is definitely worth mapping out what you want to do and getting started.
If you have the opportunity to stay over, you can enjoy great local discounts currently running. Rest assured that the team has perfected contactless check-in and are observing all the necessary Covid protocols to ensure you have a mindful stay. What are you waiting for?
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