Franschoek is an hours drive from Cape Town but nestled between mountains and vineyards it’s a breath-taking little town. Every Saturday between 9am and 2pm the town hosts the Franschoek Village Market. Majority of the market is filled with curios aimed at tourists passing through the town but there are a few food stalls.
The first is fruit preserves that’s made by Essie’s Gourmet Preserves. Essie’s was a head chef and supervisor at a factory so some of the preserve recipes are from the factory and some are hers. There’s some really interesting preserves that she has: watermelon and ginger (a bit odd tasting but the ginger comes through); poached pears (it’s like poached pears in a bottle. Really similar to the warm version); tomato relish (perfect for a pizza base); onion and chili relish (spicy 😉 ); and lemon and ginger (a bit bitter and perfect for a cheese platter). Essie also has various salts.
Then there’s Pierre’s Cured Meat, which has a selection of sausages. A husband and wife team, who are located in Pinelands, make their sausages using organic meat from a sourced butcher and doing their own curing and smoking of the meat. Pierre’s Cured Meat can be found all over Cape Town, but especially in the winelands. There’s a variety of sausages with the most interesting being the Ostrich and orange sausage, which had a hint of citrus and had the texture of droéwors. The Chorizo was also great with the smokiness and spiciness balancing well.
Lastly, there were 2 cheese stalls. The first was Le Petit France Cheese, where the cheese is made in the Natal Midlands with the cultures imported from France. The marmalade is made in the Cape Berg, in the Western Cape province. The blue cheese was delicious and was not overbearing at all. However, the marmalade was too sweet for me.
The second was Madame Fromage, where the chef has been trained in France. The farm is located in Paarl. They can be found in the V&A Waterfront and Old Biscuit Mill (hard cheeses) with the soft cheeses sold through an agent. The hard cheeses ranged from mild to strong. The mild being 3 months old, the second one 12 months old (and has more flavour), with the strongest being 2 years old (and is a bit overpowering due to the black pepper and aging). The semi-hard cheeses consisted of: plain, herbs, chili, cumin (that was delicious as the cumin was subtle), and smoked. There is also Brie, Camembert and Cambrini. If I wasn’t spending the rest of the day in Franschoek, I would’ve have definitely stocked up on their brie and the second hard cheese!
Overall, the market is quite small but the quality of the food makes up for it. It’s tough not to buy everything you taste and the great part is that most of the products are available in Cape Town 😀