Food24 picnics at... Mont Rochelle

Looking for a picnic? Wine ed. Cathy Marston has a day out with her family in Franschhoek.

by: Cathy Marston

It’s been a long time since I visited Mont Rochelle, but Saturday saw me making my second visit in a week after an absence of about 7 years. We were there to try their picnics – I didn’t manage to make it out to them last year - so when I saw that the weather was going to be in the mid-twenties, lunch outdoors seemed a good idea.

The Good

The picnics come in lovely large wicker hampers with nice melamine plates and a little roll-up of proper metal cutlery (cheers cheers). And the food inside was delicious – fresh, more than plentiful, lots of choice and extremely good value for money at R290 per couple including mineral water. We tucked into chicken wraps, cold meats and smoked Franschhoek trout, a very nice cheese platter with great homemade relish and finished off with some sticky chocolate brownie-type things. I would have liked my salad undressed as it was a tad on the gloopy side, but this was a personal thing so perhaps I shouldn’t mention it!

The wine was also delicious. New, young winemaker Dustin Osborne had given me lots of barrel samples to taste when I visited earlier in the week and I must say that I think we can expect some very interesting stuff to emerge from this cellar later on this year. We drank his Unwooded Chardonnay at R55 a bottle which was excellent, and it was great to see that there are no mark-ups on the wine at all – very commendable.

The Bad

I have a premonition that this will not be the last time that I comment on the amount of packaging in a picnic this year! Why do they have to keep everything separate? They could have easily had one big platter of meat, cheese and fish and saved quite a few layers of ozone on the way. I was also a bit confused by the kids’ basket which was exactly the same as half an adult’s portion plus two lots of chocolate, crisps and a juice box – all for R85! So no quibbles about the value,  but it wasn’t entirely appropriate food for kids, especially not younger ones, and I would probably prefer to pay less money for a simple sandwich as opposed to all that food.

My main gripe about the day was the lack of service outside. After we had got up for the second time in search of our next bottle of wine, my husband asked the manager why no-one was looking after us. She said – astonishingly enough – that they had a policy not to wait on picnic tables outside! Frankly, I’m amazed. The picnic area is right by the main restaurant and everyone knows that attentive staff mean more turnover for the restaurant – we would probably have had another bottle of wine, some more water and a round of coffees if anybody had offered them.  I really hope they change this policy – for their sakes and ours.

And the Beautiful

Gripes aside, we really enjoyed our day. The views were wonderful and we had a few great games of boules on the lawn as we ate. We had more than enough to eat and a little more than enough to drink and as people started drifting in for sundowners and a cheese platter, it became harder and harder to tear ourselves away. I would go back again in a flash and if they make one or two tweaks, then this picnic is going to be hard to beat this year.


Read more on: cathy marston  |  wine farm  |  lunch  |  wine  |  kids

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