We recently had that rare opportunity of a free weekend – absolutely nothing in the calendar! A day trip was clearly needed, and this time we chose Stellenbosch as the destination.

First stop – wine tasting of course. We went with the gorgeously Provençal Waterford estate. Because wine paired with chocolate.

Waterford just oozes French charm. Their lavender wasn’t at its most glorious, but there’s still plenty to admire.

It was also a brilliant option for taking young kids. The 2-year-old thoroughly enjoyed the central fountain, and they could both explore the courtyard without going out of our sight – giving us a rare opportunity to sit together and enjoy the wine tasting.

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We opted for the 3-glass wine and chocolate pairing. First up was their Shiraz, paired with a warm-spicy-flavored choc. I’m not usually a spicy Shiraz fan, but the sweetness of the chocolate cut through it beautifully and really enhanced the flavours – I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

Next came a Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a dark chocolate embedded with salt crystals. The Cab was a little dry for my tastes – but the chocolate was very yum!

The 3-course “meal” ended with their dessert wine Heatherleigh (a combination the names of the 2 owners’ wives). A pleasant-tasting wine – and paired with a heavenly rose-scented chocolate that tasted like Turkish delight, really good!

Kids are included in the experience with their own chocolate tasting plates, and a decent non-alcoholic drinks menu off which you can order.

When then headed in to Stellenbosch town – I haven’t been there in years. Enjoyed wandering around so much that I decided to come back in a few weeks with a girl friend so we can actually wander IN to the shops. So I’ll keep more pics and details for a later post – but did want to share one sneak peek tip – chocolate brownie and salted caramel ice cream from Fanny Chanel artisanal ice cream, which is situated inside Schoon de Companje. Oh my!

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For lunch, we then headed to Weltevreden Estate, as I read a number of times that they had a spot with an amazing kids play area. Named Carnival, this is an informal outdoor restaurant with HUGE jungle gyms, trampolines and a bike track – the kids had a ball.

Unusually, kids and parents are both well-catered for – a good kids menu, including an area where they can make their own pizzas, and great food for grown ups as well – oh, and a full bar.

One point to note is that you can’t book for Carnival; there are plenty of tables however, and also spaces for parties, which I imagine you can book. Weltevreden also has a more upmarket restaurant, Lekke Neh, for which you can book, and which has its own small toddler play area.

We only scratched the surface of what Stellenbosch has to offer – but the day certainly reminded us what a fabulous destination it is.