Franschhoek in the Western Cape region is considered a culinary pride of South Africa. Known for its food tourism, the area is also known for the Franschhoek Wine Valley where Méthode Cap Classique or MCC is made. MCC is South African sparkling wine produced in the same manner as Champagne.
The valley is prime for touring throughout the year as there are many activities and celebrations, but just before South Africa enters its summer, there is one event worth making an extra effort to attend. The Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival is a weekend event held annually that celebrates everything sparkling and bubbly from the region and beyond.
The Yearly Escape to Franschhoek
Sparkling wine lovers from around the world gather in the valley to participate in a full itinerary of MCC and Champagne tasting, mingling, food sampling and dancing. The festival is held on the grounds central to the iconic Huguenot Monument, enabling attendees to take in the picturesque view of the mountains and the valley as they drink and eat.
The theme changes annually, dictating what most attendees wear as well as the décor of the event. Last year’s theme was “Black and White” and guests embraced it in their finery, which ran the gamut from casual to cocktail dress to absolutely whimsical and colorful. There is a best-dressed couple competition that involves a promenade onto the dance floor for the selection of the winner.
Representatives and their sommeliers serve Champagne brands such as Champagne Taittinger, Billecart Salmon and Maison Veuve Clicquot and South African MCC brands such as Graham Beck (recommended), J.C. Le Roux (the region’s first MCC cellar), Pierre Jourdan, and Franschhoek Cellar.
Food service is excellent, especially if you arrive early before samplings run out. The variety good and representative of the region’s diversity. There are fresh raw oysters, cheese and bread, and prosciutto/salami meat baskets for noshing while enjoying the bubbly. Arrive early for seating in pop-up restaurants.
Arriving early also guarantees good seating in the shade and on the dance floor.
Registration entitles you to 10 coupons towards tasting Champagne or MCC. Each brand sets the number of tickets it takes to taste its beverage. You can also purchase bottles of Champagne and MCC to enjoy during the festival.
A delightful element of the festival is the people. Most are incredibly friendly and engaging. There is also a cross-section of people of different nationalities and cultures.
All in all, the festival is worth a return trip annually. For people in colder climates, the warmth and sunshine of South Africa at the end of their spring are refreshing. Travel extended before and after the festival can include Cape Town and tours of local wineries.
Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival 2019: The Magic of Bubbles will be held November 30 – December 1, and tickets will go on sale September 2019. Now is an excellent time to make lodging and flight arrangements. As a note of caution: check South African passport requirements for blank pages and if you intend to bring wine back to the States, check duty-free allowances and restrictions.
To learn more about the festival visit https://www.franschhoekmcc.co.za and follow along on Facebook and Twitter for updates. Be sure to also take a look at the region’s website to learn its history and about additional celebrations and tours.