I was so delighted when I was given this beautiful cook book for Christmas.  I had been eying it out a for a while.

Its a collection of recipes from 18 restaurants from one of the culinary hot spots of South Africa. It tracks the development of this small Boland town over the past 25 years and is a wonderful trip down memory lane for me.  It was roughly 25 years ago when I fell in love with the valley, and in those days there weren’t many options in terms of restaurants. We would just picnic along the banks of the river.

I’m a cook book junkie and find it very hard to choose amongst the abundance that is available on an ongoing basis.  I want so many of them. I also have a very large library of cook books, so have to be a bit particular about what I look for in a new one.  I have vowed to curtail my cookbook addiction, and to use more of the ones I already own, so getting a new one is a real treat.

As a cook, I want the cook book to be of a level that will challenge me. I want the recipes to offer something a bit different and innovative. I need to be inspired.

As a food stylist and visually orientated person, I absolutely insist that the book has pictures.

Generally I tend to like cook books written by chefs for inspiration and then cook out of books by foodies.

Franschhoek food offers all of this for me.  It captures the essence of 18 superb restaurants (a few of which are amongst my favourites), with a few recipes from each. There are stunning picture of the restaurants, of the valley and of the food.

Some of the recipes are simple, whilst others are of a restaurant level. I love it when I page through and find so many that I want to make.

I love the look of:

  • The filled lamb loin and white chocolate spring rolls from Haute Cabriere (Mathew Gordon)
  • The salmon and prawn Yakitori from The Salmon Bar (Judy Sendzul)
  • The parmesan crisps and spring vegetable and nettle risotto from Le Quartier Francais (Margot Janse)
  • The blue cheese tart and waterblommetjie soufle from La Brasserie and La Fromagerie (Melize Oliphant)
  • The camembert gateaux from La Prtit Ferme (Tammy van Zyl)
  • The feta and dried tomato focaccia (I have already made this on the course) and the double chocolate chip cookies from Bread & Wine (Neil Jewell)
  • The bouillabaisse and oyster tempura from Bouillabaisse (Camil Haas)
  • The fruit, nut and seed loaf from La Residence (Liz Biden – owner)
  • The chicken pie from Kalfi’s (Sandra van Zyl)
  • The sweetocorn soup with truffle popcorn from Reubens (Reuben Riffel)

I have a lot of cooking to do.

Franshhoek food is a lovely tribute to a very beautiful culinary corner of South Africa.


  1. I’ve ordered this book completely by accident from Kalahari.net just the other day. I was actually after another book, but the link I followed turned out to be wrong. It was only after I paid that I realised it’s not the book I originally wanted. It looks gorgeous, though, and I can’t wait to get it. Thanks for the lovely review.

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