Franschhoek is known for many things, wine, food, expensive places to stay and now you can add first-class herbs to the list. Allee Bleue is one of the Western Cape’s biggest herb producers, packing between 1.5 and 2 tons of fresh herbs weekly! To fully comprehend the amazing work they do, they now offer herb tours and I was lucky enough to get invited on one, being such an avid gardener myself…not that my garden ever listens to me.
The herb tours are 1.5 hours long and in this time, visitors are shown how Allee Bleue nurtures herbs from seedlings into a beautiful array of vegetation. All the materials they use are natural and they use an amazing compost that is made from coconut husks and absorbs nutrients and water better than any other examples around.
The tours are led by the estate’s resident herb grower, Lario Moolma who says of her work, “With herbs, the learning process never ends,” she says. “And even if you have years of experience, this is no guarantee of success as herbs are a living plants, impacted by constant changes in the environment and weather. Plus, we’re continuously looking for ways to improve what we do.”
After all the walking, and tasting I might add, the tour was concluded by a three course herb-inspired lunch which includes wine pairings. They also make their own olive oil and it has a lovely grassiness to it which I particularly like in my olive oils.
The tours are available every Friday, and booking is essential. Tickets are priced at just R185 per person and include: a welcome drink, a 1.5 hour Herb Tour, and a 3 course lunch with wine pairings – a real bargain.
Bookings can be made by calling (021) 874 1021. For more information about the farm, visit www.alleebleue.com