What do you get when you take a picnic, up its game to deliver a grand assortment of delicious, gourmet foods, and serve it in a lavish, al fresco setting on a wine farm? A “chicnic” of course – a chic picnic – and it’s the device of Allée Bleue Wine Estate, which is located on the outskirts of the picturesque and historic town of Franschhoek.
This stunning wine estate offers visitors a myriad of indulgent diversions, including wine tasting, sit-down lunches, and now sumptuous pre-packed picnic baskets! And it was for this spoil – indeed, something that is fast becoming known as a “signature” Cape winelands experience – that we arrived at Allée Bleue on a deliciously warm summer day.
Chicnic in the courtyard
Allée Bleue’s picnic courtyard consists of a litter of tables spread out on a lawn under the yawning canopies of several large and probably very old oak trees. The area is embraced on every side by a low, white wall with a central water fountain that looks like an old livestock-watering trough, which lends a pleasant gurgling soundtrack to the experience. Overhead, a pair of spotted eagle owls and their two fluff ball chicks scowled down at us as we disrupted their sleep with our chatter. All around us were spectacular views of rugged mountains, lush vineyards, and the estate’s shaded lawns; Allée Bleue is truly one of Franschhoek’s most fetching estates!
We chose a table in the shadiest spot the picnic arena afforded and set to work on our chicnic’s opening act: a cheese and charcuterie platter served with Melba toast, olives, and fish pâté. Being a wine farm with a fabulous assemblage of award-winning wines, there is no shortage of options for chicnic-goers. Given the heat of the day and the fact that we were feeling just a little bit fancy (chicnic and all), we opted for a bottle of Allée Bleue’s MCC Brut, which went down a treat with the food.
The main event was a heavily laden picnic basket packed with a smorgasbord of exciting goodies: roast beef wraps, salad jars, freshly baked ciabatta, basil pesto, tomato and onion jam, olive tapenade, and delicious bobotie pies. There was also a dessert jar filled with creamy lemon custard and topped with crumbed biscuit and a strawberry. We grazed our way through as much of it as we could but sadly left several of the jars unopened. The moral of this story is that if you plan on going to Allée Bleue for a chicnic go hungry! Or take an extra friend with you so that you can flatten the chicnic the way we wanted to but our finite stomach space wouldn’t allow.
Family, dietary, and environmentally friendly
Allée Bleue Wine Estate is the perfect summer destination for Capetonians looking to escape the bustle, traffic, and terrible wind of the city. Not only do you have your pick of their award-winning wines and a high standard of food and service, but also the surrounds are absolutely beautiful. I urge you to go and enjoy a lavish food basket in a fully serviced courtyard complete with a jumping castle and jungle gym to keep kids occupied while you catch up with friends and family. They also have kiddies’ chicnics and vegetarian chicnics available.
For those who’d prefer a more conventional picnic experience, Allée Bleue offers a “Chicnics-on-the-Go” option, which allows guests to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs, collect their food basket (wrapped in eco-friendly packaging), and settle into a quiet spot anywhere in the estate’s gardens. Of course, you’ll have to pop into the winery to order a bottle of wine or two, but that’s hardly an inconvenience.
We walked – or rather waddled – from our shady table, filled to the gills with delicious farm-style foods, buzzing merrily from the bubbly wine, and with love tanks on high from all the gorgeous views and tranquillity. Allée Bleue’s summer chicnics are truly a bucket list experience for the hot season and I look forward to making my return, this time having skipped breakfast!
Chicnics are available daily between 11h00 and 16h00, including public holidays. For a booking or enquiry please contact Allée Bleue at email@example.com or call 021 874 1021. Allée Bleue Wine Estate is situated at the intersection of the R45 and R310.