Visit South Africa: BABYLONSTOREN
As you all probably know by now, Liesl and I are both born and bred South African girls, and there's nothing we enjoy more than spending our day outdoors, basking in the sun while sipping away on delicious wines. On my vacation in the motherland this year, visiting a wine farm was at the top of my to-do list, and after spotting this magazine-worthy wine and fruit farm on Instagram, I knew Babylonstoren was the one. With former Elle Decor (South Africa) editor, Karen Roos, being the mastermind behind it all, how could it be anything short of perfection?! And, it was perfect indeed! From the Cape Dutch architecture and majestic gardens, to the breathtaking mountains in the backdrop, it surely is a sight to behold.
The farm boasts with three beautifully designed restaurants (Babel, Greenhouse and Bakery), a hotel and garden spa, a wine cellar and tasting room, and a cute little farm shop where you can buy anything from Babylonstoren cookbooks, to a selection of homemade jams and pickles (made from fruit and vegetables harvested on the farm.) They also sell Babylonstoren Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which comes in THE most beautiful packaging that would look gorgeous on any kitchen counter. On top of this, they offer guided garden tours in the morning, where they share gardening tips and stories, and encourage you to pick and eat from the garden.
We started off our day at the gorgeous Babel restaurant, housed in an old cow shed and transformed by Cape Dutch architecture, seriously looking like something straight out of a magazine. We were surrounded by large glass walls from floor to ceiling, tons of natural light, and wooden tables and white chairs covering the concrete floor, adding to the crisp and clean ambiance of this stylish restaurant. Their menu is guided by what is available in the garden, making it interesting, unexpected and fresh, giving you options of clean eating with a touch of creativity by the talented head chef,Cornelle Minie, who seriously turns food into works of art! I had the trout carpaccio (it was DELICIOUS!), and The Husband ordered the lamb cutlets (which literally had him speechless). We enjoyed it with a bottle of Noble Hill sauvignon blanc, along with their delicious Babylonstoren Chenin Blanc. Booking is essential at this popular restaurant and can be done 2 months in advance, so if you’re planning on going soon, you better make a booking now to avoid disappointment.
‘Carpaccio of lightly smoked Franschhoek trout seared with warm Babylonstoren Frantoio extra virgin olive oil with julienned candy-stripe beetroot, kohlrabi, radish, baby ginger, toasted sesame seeds and red Russian kale’
‘Double lamb cutlets with fresh horseradish, roasted quince, pink peppercorns and chervil, sprinkled with myrtle and lemon salt ‘
After devouring all that delicious food and wine, me, The Husband and my Capetonian bestie, headed off to our next destination, the Greenhouse restaurant. It's a short stroll away from Babel, taking you through a beautiful garden route, with signs showing you which path to follow. The Greenhouse is truly breathtaking (straight out of a fairy tale!) and offers seating inside and outside under the oak trees, with a menu filled with freshly baked goods and light meals to enjoy. We ordered some more wine, and enjoyed it with freshly baked bread, farmhouse cheese, sliced biltong and marinated olives.
One cannot go to a wine farm without tasting some wines, especially if you're a wine lover like me (Okay, I know we'd been drinking wine all day, but that doesn't count as tasting, right?!) So after enjoying a lovely, picnic-style snack at the Greenhouse, we headed off the the tasting room for some more wine, following the garden paths, taking us straight to the cellar. We made it just in time and could luckily squeeze in a tasting before they closed at 5pm. A wine tasting starts at R30 (that's about 70nt) for five wines, having to pay extra for flagship wines such as the Chardonnay, Nebukadnesar and Sprankel. Our favorite wine of the day was the Chenin blanc, which was light and refreshing with its guava and melon flavors, the perfect wine to enjoy with light meals like we did.
If you ever find yourself in South Africa, in the Cape Town area and you're planning on visiting this historic Cape Dutch farm, I would suggest going either early in the morning or spending a night at one of their beautiful cottages. It will give you enough time to enjoy all there is to offer, from a garden tour in the morning to an Italian inspired dinner at the Bakery restaurant in the evening. Do remember to make a reservation for any of the restaurants weeks in advance, except for the Greenhouse, where guests are seated on a first-come, first-served basis (unless it's for a large group). I can't wait to go back and am already counting off the days to my next visit. Till next time!
Phone: +27 21 863 3852
Address: Klapmuts Simondium Road, Simondium, 7670, South Africa