“Organic”, “pasture-reared” and “grass-fed” are the norm (not the exception) at this acclaimed farm – as it should be. We unearth how Boschendal has gone back to basics…
Few wine farms in the Western Cape are more appreciated for their untainted beauty than Boschendal, with its ancient oak trees, foresty expanses and beautiful, unmanicured gardens.
The estate’s scrupulously preserved heritage, dating back to 1685, is palpable throughout, most obvious in the various antiques and artefacts on display in the Manor House. It’s unsurprising, then, to learn that the emphasis in The Werf’s kitchen, headed by executive chef Christiaan Campbell remains firmly on preservation – not only of the fresh, organic food he sources from the estate’s 9-hectare garden, but also of the time-honoured techniques used in their preparation, and, of course, the planet.
Working with nature
“We cannot afford to close our eyes, and hope for the best,” says Christiaan, referring to the status quo in the food industry, where factory-farmed, hormone-plagued animals, chemicals, preservatives and genetically modified produce are the order of the day. Christiaan has always been passionate about using fresh, authentic flavours in his organic farm-to-table fare. “Passion and flavour is our starting point; everything follows from that,” he explains. Using age-old fermentation techniques and organic produce, he and his team are dedicated to creating fresh, natural, bountiful dishes.
Where tradition meets innovation
It’s ironic that some of the ancient fermentation traditions adopted in The Werf’s kitchen – tempeh, kimchi, nattō, kombucha, kefir, fermented black garlic and even mead (otherwise known as honey wine) – are the current buzzwords being bandied about in culinary circles.
Still, most restaurant-goers have likely never heard of (or know very little about) these new (but ancient) processes. Says chef Christiaan: “Understanding the incredible natural health benefits of fermented foods and how we can release their flavours in our fresh natural produce has been a personal challenge for me.”
Fermentation produces highly nutritious foods that are heavily laden with probiotics (microorganisms that help promote natural, good gut health and bolster immune systems in humans and animals) and antioxidants (health substances that help our bodies prevent and fight diseases, like cancer).
Sustainability and ethical practices underpin all Boschendal’s offerings, from the fresh, organic produce in its delightful picnic hampers to the top-drawer wines produced using earth-friendly farming methods. There’s also an in-house butchery and deli where guests can shop for grass-fed meat, free-range eggs, artisanally produced sausages, cheese, and so on – all of which are nitrate- and preservative-free.
It’s this delicious marriage of centuries-old tradition and up-to-the-minute innovation that makes dining at The Werf so memorable. Add warm service, stylish interiors, and spectacular surrounds, and you have a Sunday outing straight out Stealing Beauty or A Year in Provence.
Opening times Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm (last orders by 2.30pm)
Wednesday – Saturday, 6pm – 9pm (last orders by 8.30pm)
Reservations are essential. A deposit of R100 per person is required when booking.
Contact 021 870 4206, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Boschendal, Pniel Road, Franschhoek Valley