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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.