There is a something special about the Franschhoek village during a festival. On festival days Franschhoek seems to awaken with a song in its heart. Maybe it is the beat of high heeled footsteps, rank with city odour, which traipse the main road and noisily shake the town from its restful reverie. Maybe it’s the audible flight of many cares lost to the wind as out-of-towners lose themselves to the charm and quaintness of village life while sipping crisp, cool chardonnay. Whatever it is that incites this small Cape Winelands town into its festival fervor, it is, even to someone as accustomed to Franschhoek as I, an intoxicating breath. This past weekend was no exception.
I was delighted to attend the Franschoek Literary Festival 2015 as I was particularly excited about this year’s lineup which included many talks relating to food and food books. The absolute highlight of all the talks I attended was Saturday’s Food Writing Workshop presented by the award winning writer and broadcaster Gwynne Conlyn. Gwynne is smart, brilliant, entertaining, engaging and possesses a mentor’s spirit; evident in her teaching. An educated woman is a very powerful thing. I left the Literary festival newly inspired to work on my own writing style and technique, together with a list of must read books as long as my arm.
During the workshop I sat between Cape Town style blogger, Megan and another Capetonian, Kate. Both mentioned difficulty in securing accommodation in Franschhoek for the festival weekend. I almost wish we had met earlier because then I could have pointed them in the direction of “The Cottage on 55 Huguenot”.
“The Cottage on 55 Huguenot” is a stylish Bed and Breakfast in the heart of Franschhoek run by dear friends Erna and Guido Louwerse. Erna and Guido are the most hospitable people you will meet. Erna’s eye for style and detail, as well as her talent for entertaining and making people feel welcome synced perfectly with Guido’s sharp business mind, culminating in the opening of their own Bed & Breakfast romantically set in the lush garden of their property in Franschhoek; the aptly named “The Cottage on 55 Huguenot”
Erna also happens to be a creative and wonderful cook. I have had the privilege of sitting many times at her table where we have eaten pasta with pesto made from fresh basil she has grown; chilled tomato gazpacho; pan fried halloumi; salads with homemade dressings; fresh figs baked on the braai; and of course true to her heritage, Dutch bakes flavoured with Spekuloos that taste of Holland and love.
Erna’s guest book is testament to her cooking skills. Almost every guest mentions the breakfasts which are personally prepared by Erna every morning, and which she serves when weather permits under the shade of enormous trees in the cottage gardens. One of the many thoughtful and unique breakfast recipes which Erna makes for her guests is this Clafoutis Limousin (or Cherry Cake). Best served warm fresh from the oven, this Clafoutis Limousin is something that Erna has made for me before and it is breakfast / morning tea decadence. I was so delighted when Erna agreed to share it here on the blog.
If you are heading the Winelands way anytime soon and looking to stay in the beautiful Franschhoek village, my recommendation is “The Cottage on 55 Huguenot”.
“The Cottage on 55 Huguenot” offers two luxurious rooms, each with their own private bathroom. The larger room also has its own equipped kitchenette. There is free WiFi throughout the property (a must when you travelling). “The Cottage on 55 Huguenot” is a mere 1.2 km from the Franschhoek Monument and within easy and leisurely walking distance from Franschhoek main road’s restaurants and shops. There is free private parking available on site and Erna and Guido also provide free use of bicycles for trips into the village.
“The Cottage on 55 Huguenot” with its large garden, swimming pool and friendly cats is also child friendly and Erna will even arrange a babysitting service if you want a night out on the town alone.
You can book via Booking.com (do a quick search for “The Cottage on 55 Huguenot”), or you can contact Erna via email at:
infothecottageon55 (at) gmail (dot) com.
Be sure to tell her that I sent you and if you are feeling in need of a spoil ask for the Clafoutis Limousin alongside your eggs cocotte for breakfast!
PS One quick note on the recipe: For this recipe Erna used frozen cherries which she purchases locally in Franschoek from her supplier Alex at Jamboree. Alex also supplies frozen blueberries, raspberries, diced mango and strawberries. If you are local to the Winelands or Johannesburg based and would like to order yourself you can contact Alex at: jsteyl (at) mweb (dot) co (dot ) za.
- 500 g cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen)
- 250 ml (1 C) milk
- 75 g flour
- 2.5 ml (½ t) pinch salt
- 80 g of sugar
- 3 eggs
- 5 ml (1 t) vanilla extract
- 30 ml (2 T) icing sugar
- If using frozen cherries, heat the cherries gently in a small saucepan until they are softened. Drain them from any juice.
- Arrange the cherries on the bottom of the cake pan which has been sprayed with non-stick spray and lined with baking paper.
- Into a medium bowl sieve the flour and salt. Add the sugar.
- Whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk the milk mixture into the flour until the batter is smooth and airy.
- Pour the batter over the cherries and slide the tray in the middle of oven.
- Bake the clafoutis in an oven that has been preheated 190 ° C for 40-45 min or until the clafoutis is baked and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and dust with the icing sugar.
- Serve warm.
- You can make the clafoutis with different kinds of fruit, for example apricots, peaches (canned or fresh) or raspberries or even blackberries.