Few corners of South Africa show the changing of the seasons quite so beautifully as the Western Cape winelands. With the annual harvest complete and winter rains on the horizon, vine leaves turn from green to auburn as the vineyards rest and recharge. For winemakers, it’s a chance to look back on vintages past, and seek inspiration for those to come.
And the same can be said for the talented chefs in the kitchen at acclaimed Franschhoek restaurant and boutique hotel La Petite Ferme, with the launch of a new Autumn menu that celebrates the culinary heritage of this much-loved property while infusing each dish with a sense of contemporary flair.
“Our Autumn menu is really a tribute to the cuisine and hospitality that have made La Petite Ferme one of the best-loved restaurants in the Franschhoek valley for more than 30 years,” explains Riaan Kruger, General Manager of La Petite Ferme.
“Regular guests will recognise and enjoy many of the signature dishes on the menu, but will also be tempted by the addition of new plates that show a subtle evolution of the culinary principles that have long been the foundation of La Petite Ferme.”
The new Autumn menu deftly combines this culinary heritage with a forward-looking approach to both plating and provenance. Starters include the classic Country Style Chicken Liver Pâté, plated with fragrant mosbolletjies and pickled red wine figs, alongside a delicate Tartare of Cured Franschhoek Trout.
The menu’s melding of classic inspiration with modern presentation comes particularly to the fore in the starter portion of Bobotie Bitterballen. Here a slow-roasted beef brisket infused with Cape Malay spices is deboned, rolled, crumbed and deep-fried. Served with a set custard, raisin gel and puffed rice, it’s an inspired reinvention of this classic Cape dish.
While starters are playfully inventive, the main courses are reassuringly familiar. Regulars will breathe a sigh of relief to see that the signature lamb dish – a classic combination of slow-braised lamb, aubergine and minted yoghurt – remains on the menu, but expect the plating to give the dish a more modern twist.
Deep-fried pomme anna and a beetroot-bacon hash lift the generous portion of slow-braised springbok shank, while vegetarians are spoiled for choice with the likes of wild mushroom arancini, and homemade gnocchi of sweet potato and ricotta.
True to La Petite Ferme’s farming roots, the new menu showcases a renewed focus on supporting local producers. From fresh trout to goat’s cheese to organic heirloom carrots from nearby farms, producers within a 100-kilometre radius of La Petite Ferme stock much of the kitchen’s larder.
The array of fresh local produce will also be the inspiration for the ever-changing Assiette de la Semaine (‘Plate of the Week’) – available for both starters and mains, lunchtime only – which will allow the chefs to get creative with whatever ingredients arrive at the kitchen door.
Desserts are similarly inspired by seasonal produce, from the rooibos-poached fig – another La Petite Ferme signature – to the Textures and Flavours of Citrus that makes full use of early-season fruit. For those of a more decadent bent, the Chocolate Torte with salted caramel and liquorice chocolate mousse won’t disappoint.
To complement the Autumn menu is an extensive selection of wines from the La Petite Ferme cellar, with winemaker Wikus Pretorius tapping into selected vineyard sites across the Western Cape winelands to craft an impressive portfolio of terroir-driven wines.
Whether it’s a crisp Unwooded Chardonnay to marry with the trout tartare, or a glass of the flagship Cape blend, Verdict, with the signature lamb dish, there’s a wine to match the culinary creativity from the kitchen. What’s more, La Petite Ferme’s wines are only available on the estate, making a meal here a rare opportunity to sample the wines from one of the valley’s most talked-about winemakers.
La Petite Ferme has long been famous for its inspired country cuisine, and the Autumn menu blending contemporary flourishes with authentic Cape flavours is the ideal excuse to revisit ‘the little farm’ perched high above the scenic Franschhoek valley.
La Petite Ferme is located at Franschhoek Pass Road, Franschhoek.
The restaurant at La Petite Ferme is open for lunch from 12h00 – 15h30 and for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays from 19h00 – 21h30 in summer (November – April) and from 18h30 – 21h00 in winter (May – October). Advance reservations are recommended. For bookings call (27) (21) 876 3016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.