BABEL – A DELIGHTFUL FRESH FOODIE PARADISE IN THE CAPE WINELANDS
I am completely in love with this new addition to the winelands. I am firstly going to let the pictures speak for themselves ………
For the last two years the property Babylonstoren has been growing an organic garden that features over 300 different vegetables, fruits and herbs. Each morning they harvest for the restaurant and the new hotel. The restaurant offers the most fantastic innovative salads – chose a Red, Green or Yellow salad that will contain what is freshly harvested that day.
THE YELLOW SALAD
THE GREEN SALAD
My recommendation is to take a couple of friends and to order all three salads as a starter. Each is unique and bursting with fresh flavours. In South Africa we rarely get to taste food that was only harvested a few hours before, a double whammy comes from the fact that the gardens are fully organic. This is vegetarian heaven! One can order the salad as a main and add various items such as trout. However – with the main courses being so delicious – it makes sense to have these as a starter! This way you will get to sample more of the flavours!
Note that Babylonstoren has opened their gardens to the public – for a small contribution of R10 you can come and walk around the organic gardens – the setting is beautiful. If you are a plant enthusiast, it is worth booking to do a walking tour with the resident botanist in the morning (approx. 10am) or afternoon (around 3pm) – contact them to book and they will confirm the time of the walking tour. I really enjoyed it and if you are an enthusiast, you will pick up tips on organic gardening. (Access to the garden is free if you have booked for lunch – so make sure you plan enough time for a walk after lunch!)
THE MAIN COURSES:
The concept for the main courses is to offer one trout, one fish, one lamb and one beef option, combined with whatever flavours are fresh from the garden and inspire the chef. The menu will change regularly. The dishes come with either chunky home made chips (delicious) or fresh veg (excellent) – so get half the table to split the orders so that you can taste both!
THE SHOP AT BABEL:
There is a little shop across the courtyard that is beautifully put together. Here they sell fresh produce in season and have a few quirky things for sale as well as a few foodie items such as a very delicious raspberry vinegar.
Website: www.babylonstoren.com/food/ Tel no number for the restaurant: + 27 (0) 21 863 3852
BABYLONSTOREN – the foodie retreat in the countryside:
I found a little piece of foodie paradise staying here a few weekends ago. I stayed in one of the one bedroom cottages overlooking the gardens and the mountains. While they don’t call themselves “self catering” the kitchen overlooks the gardens and comes stocked with a beautiful tray of fresh vegetables. For those who are not foodies – this would look like part of the decor – for those who love to cook – this is inspirational! You can also head into the garden and harvest what you would like for dinner. The other alternative is the one we went with – we ordered the “snack platters” – a feast arrived – roast aubergine pate with roast aubergines, roast corgettes, peppers, fresh baked farm bread, sliced ham, smoked Franschhoek trout and smoked chicken marinated in chunky mustard – YUM!!
A weekend here would be an exercise in relaxation. You can walk the farm, swim in the farm style pool (which was great!), read one of the many books that have been thoughtfully chosen for the room, relax with a great bottle of wine and your own freshly cooked Brinjals (South African for Aubergine) or go and explore the surrounding wine region. However if I was able to spend a few days here – I would simply exhale and not leave the property!
Location: A farm between Franschhoek and Paarl
For more information, visit the Babylonstoren website www.babylonstoren.com