Franschhoek, South Africa

Feb 2014

Crossing the whitewashed gate of Babylonstoren is like stepping into wonderland for an imprecise space of time, just as much as you need to make this farm your favourite country place in the world. Never before we’ve tried a more perfect combination of roasted fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden. Everything is served with ultimate elegance. There are no cooking classes at Babylonstoren. At first we thought this was a missed opportunity. But now we know that we don’t want to find out the secret behind their dishes and perhaps they don’t want to reveal it so that they can keep surprising their guests. The list of things to do seems to have come out of a fairy-tale for kids: pick fruit from the trees and eat it, ride a bike wherever you want around the farm, use the canoe and the house on the pond. You step out of your cottage with maps of the farm, garden, plants and walks (Citrus Walk, Plum Walk, Dum Walk), just like in a treasure hunt. Trees and canes surround the old round swimming pool. Next to it there’s a beautiful greenhouse where they serve divine ice tea, oil dips, sandwiches and amazing cakes. Even after dawn the feeling of being a kid continues. The white cottages along the path leading to the main group of houses remind of a nativity scene. You open the wooden gate and walk toward the bakery where a brazier is on. The smell of fire fills the cave where a candlelit dinner is served quietly. White geese and turkeys are resting. It’s morning again, and the first image you see when you wake up is the immaculate white bathroom inundated by the deep green of tree leaves. Breakfast at Babel deserves a separate chapter altogether (local fresh eggs served scrambled on 100% rye bread and fresh juice) just like lunch (the Red, Yellow and Green salad is a joy to both eyes and palate). Around you just African roses, lemon trees, cactus, strawberries, peaches, plums, wild rosemary, wild jasmine, lavender, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Viogner vineyards and African skies.

Thanks to Hanlie Joubert, Elmine Nel. 





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