The Durbanville Wine valley is not as well known as its cousins Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, but nevertheless is home to some of South Africa’s oldest wine estates. One of which is Altydgedacht, which is over 300 years old, and has had the privilege of supplying wine to Napoleon.
The story goes that Napoleon’s secretary Count de las Cases was housed on the estate for three months in 1816, while he waited for a ship to go back to Europe, and he liked the wine so much that he took some back with him for Napoleon. The tradition of great wines continues at Altydgedacht today, and you can sample their latest vintage produced in much the same way as it was then.
While you are there, you should have lunch on the estate at Eat @ Altydgedacht, which is a lovely home-style farm restaurant. Rustic tables created out of old wine barrels, with wooden tops are situated under the shade of the trees down by the pond. This is the perfect setting for a picnic and a glass of estate wine, whilst you escape the heat of the day. A cooling breeze rustling the leaves as you watch the fish jump.
Eat is an unpretentious cafe, serving light meal that are great for a light breakfast or lunch. They offer a farmhouse breakfast, which is the equivalent of a full English breakfast, as well as a breakfast quiche with bacon and tomato, or a lighter eggs and bacon option. There is a reasonably priced kids menu that offers toasted sandwiches such as cheese tomato and ham. There are also cool-drink options for the children.
The lunch menu has their signature chicken pot pie, a beef wrap, as well as a trio of pates, served with a selection of breads. They also offer a mezze platter, with humus, tzatziki, and dukkah with a selection of breads. You may also compose your own platter with olive, tapenade, sun dried tomatoes, feta and olives, humus, a selection of cheeses and preserves, as well as ham and coronation chicken. All of which is served with a selection of breads. This I the perfect option if you were to grab one of the blankets on offer and find a secluded spot by the dam for a picnic.
The food is as rustic and hearty as the setting. I decided to try their signature chicken pie, which was tasty, but was left with the feeling that one of their mezze platters might have been a better choice as the day was so hot, and the pie was filling, especially with the generous portion of chips. The mixed roasted veggies were lovely, as they were made interesting by a sprinkle of the Egyptian spice mix, dukkah. The pie was hot and full of shredded chicken and mushrooms, capped with a golden disk of puff pastry.
After lunch I explored their tasting room, which is lined with family pictures, showing the history of the cellar. Have a taste of their 2010 Sauvingon Blanc or their 2006 Merlot, and consider buying a case of these delicious wines. This is not high tech modern cellar, but rather uses traditional methods to produce superb wines.
Eat at Altydgedacht is certainly not as glamorous as eating at some of the larger estates, but offers reasonably priced, homely fare that is comforting, and makes for a great lunch break when doing the Durbanville Wine Route.
Address & Contact
Altydgedacht can be found on the Tygerberg Valley Road, Durbanville, Cape Town.
They can be contacted on +27 (0)21 975 7815