When you’re offered a Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet for the day, there’s only one place to go; Cape Town’s Camps Bay strip. On a summer’s day, that is. But on a wintry day in July, a trip to Franschhoek is much more appropriate. This picturesque town has ample surrounding mountain roads on which to play and, for a heavenly meal, loads of cosy, fire-lit restaurants to choose from.
Juliet McGuire recently hit the road with fellow motoring journalist Ané Theron (from AutoTrader.co.za) for a day out in the Cape Winelands under the guise of work. Lacking nothing when it comes to fun, food or chocolate, Franschhoek is the ideal destination for a brilliant day out. The car provided the fun, the newly refurbished Reuben’s was their eatery of choice and Huguenot Fine Chocolates, the sugar on top. Keep reading to experience it all vicariously through Juliet and Ané’s account of the journey, below.
1. Joy riding on Franschhoek Pass
As soon as we arrived in the valley, we immediately hit Franschhoek pass for a little joy ride. The switchbacks make for the perfect ‘wind in our hair’ moment and I kind of wished we’d had the foresight to wear Jackie O sunglasses and glam headscarves. As a rule, however, cabriolets are not my best: I find them more of an inconvenience (generally, as soon as you put the top down, it starts raining… so you put the top up – and then the sun comes out). In this instance, though, I could definitely see the fun-factor value.
Ané agrees: ‘The coupé version handles better. But who ever bought a cabriolet with practicality in mind? I adore a cabrio; nothing beats the wind in your hair and the sun on your face on a beautiful day – but I don’t want one as my only source of transport. Realistically, it’s only doable if you already have a family car in your garage, or if you don’t have kids.’
2. Winter lunch at Reuben’s
Soon enough, we’d worked up an appetite. We rolled into Franschhoek with the top down, which confirmed the car’s head-turning capabilities. Reuben’s is a Franschhoek institution and, with its new location and recently updated interior aesthetic, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a languid winter lunch. Chef and owner Rueben Riffel’s cooking is honest and undeniably delicious – there’s just no other way to describe our pork belly with crispy crackling and the sumptuous risotto with hazelnuts and Jerusalem artichokes.
3. Chocolate heaven at Huguenot Fine Chocolates
I can never leave this town without a stop at Huguenot Fine Chocolates on Huguenot Road, which offers a delectable range of confections made from fine imported Belgian chocolate. Did you know that they offer tastings? It’s a 30-minute experience (daily between 11am and 3pm), where you can learn about the history of chocolate, watch a demonstration of how the bonbons are crafted and, most importantly, taste as much of the good stuff as you like. Make sure to call ahead for bookings: +27 (0)21 876 4096.
For a girls’ day out, the Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet is a perfect choice. Would I make it mine for a million bucks? Er, probably not.