Upon leaving Groot Drakenstein in the early hours of the morning (to me, this means around 9am), we first stopped at Boschendal for a tour of their beautiful gardens. Beautiful is an understatement, actually.
We were fortunate that we were offered this tour. And a complimentary glass of bubbly to begin the day! Better than a caffeine shot.
Megan, the Food Garden Manager had a wealth of knowledge to share with us with the focus being on how to have a bio-friendly food garden.
I like the fact that Boschendal is deeply committed to offering its best to its guests. Just imagine having the kitchen chefs ‘forage’ through the gardens and planning meals alongside the Garden Manager to keep in line with the produce of the season. To me, this translates as pure soul food in your plate.
It is no wonder then, that the estate’s restaurants (The Werf, The Farmshop & Deli) offer flavourful dishes. Besides their menus being according to the season’s harvest, you’ll find that most of the ingredients (vegetables, salad leaves, fruits, herbs) they use in their kitchen has been sustainably grown on the farm itself. They even have their own hens to provide eggs for the farm and the deli section.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that crops that have not suffered a heavy treatment of pesticides taste SO delicious. Megan explained that in order to keep the soil healthy, great care is taken to ensure that the soil structure is balanced with lots of nutrients. I’m not into food gardening, so sadly a lot of this incredible process went over my head, however it was fascinating to hear and learn about how at the wine farm, they manage to save water, be more efficient, making their own compost. Think about it – there’s no waste and all efforts are done to preserve the natural soil life.
Despite the slight drizzle that caught us by surprise while we were in the middle of the gardens, we were all too happy – with our baskets and secateurs – to harvest some vegetables.
It took me a long time before I could find any asparagus. Some of the people in our group were luckier. I found one eventually. I guess it still counts if a kind woman placed one asparagus tip in my hand, doesn’t it?
The asparagus tasted SO delicious.
I ate most of my vegetables right there on the spot. They looked so juicy and firm and smelled so good. The burst of flavours exploding in my mouth was beyond words. My heart was soaking up all of this goodness.
I even exclaimed “I want to live on a farm” at some point, but I would need a ‘Megan and team’ to keep it running as efficiently as the Boschendal Gardens though! This was clearly on another level and truly, I am dying to go eat at The Werf in springtime.
Carrying all my vegetables, I made my way back happily from the gardens to the deli area. I was able to harvest baby beetroots, spring onions, verbena leaves (to make a fragrant and soothing infusion!), buchu leaves (to add to hot water for a detox), edible flowers, one more asparagus and some red onions.
I visited the deli and came out bearing a large sourdough bread, eggs from happy hens, herbs, a lovely bottle of lemon cordial and meat. (Needless to say that the drive to Cape Town was buzzing with thoughts of the magic that was going to take place in my kitchen later that day!).
If you haven’t been to Boschendal Wine Farm yet, I strongly recommend that you do.
If you’re travelling with children, don’t worry, it is child-friendly too. I saw many families having lunch there. Kids were laughing and playing joyfully, either running on the vast lawn area or trying to pet the loose chicks and birds on the estate!
If, on the other hand, you prefer something a bit more tranquil and romantic, there are picnics available to take to the beautiful sites (they have two). You can choose to lie in one of their hammocks or simply sit on a pretty blanket under the shade of a tree. And after all the wine tasting, no need to drive out as they also offer accommodation. You can find out more by visiting their website.
After the garden tour and the shopping at the deli, we had a mandatory cup of tea to allow us time to relish these precious moments that we had just experienced. Time to pause. Time to reflect. Time to bask in the peaceful surrounding of nature and count ourselves privileged under the sun.