Once again I visited the enchanting Babylonstoren in the heart of the Paarl/Franschoek valley. Dating back to the 17th century, it is one of the oldest Cape Dutch homesteads in the Western Cape.
Using the existing outhouse Cape Dutch structures, the farm has been modernised, blending the old with the new and the emphasis is on fine detail. The immaculate quality of the farm is unique, it is a paradise on earth, a rare jewel that has been polished to perfection and without a doubt it falls into the category of world-class standard.
The gardens are magnificent set within 3,5 hectares (8 acres) of cultivated fruit and vegetables, the big garden is at the heart of the farm displaying mother-natures beauty at her best. The Pagodas in summer are dressed in roses, while seasonal flowers kiss the earth; the atmosphere is peaceful and tranquil in a hive of activity with a gentle buzz..
Years ago when I first visited Babylonstoren, the gardens were in their infancy stage and the possibility of staying over was only in the pipeline. Now my dream came true when my personal experience was a stay over in one of the cottages. The King-size four poster bed with a voluptuous duvet and perfect lighting was magical, and in the simple style of Babylonstoren, a magnificent bathroom with fluffy white bathrobes, a wood burning fire to sit and sip a superb glass of wine before dinner, was par for the course.
Babylonstoren’s pride and joy is in the simplicity and purity of their brand. They have a natural approach to a modern sustainable working farm, a farm-to-fork philosophy, which means they like to serve food that is seasonal and that reflects their daily “pick, clean and serve” for their eateries and the wine tasting room.
The Babel restaurant is a mix of classic Cape Dutch architecture with contemporary glass walls that allows nature in. The environment and atmosphere is cool and edgy with a courtyard for summer eating. The culinary mood in the Babel is seasonal which reflects diverse tastes and unconventional combinations of fruit and vegetables, meat and fish. Last but not least the desserts play with the four flavors salty, bitter, sweet and sour.
The walk in Greenhouse restaurant’s menu subscribes to the self-same “pick, clean and serve” philosophy as Babel, with a strong emphasis on honest food with little to no fuss. All the food is served picnic-style in wooden crates with the preserves, jams and salads packaged in weck jars, while fresh bread from their wood-fired oven comes wrapped in the iconic blue-and-white Babylonstoren paper.
At the end of the day, it was simply bedazzling. For a night and a day it was heaven on earth and the Hanging Gardens of Babylonstoren will continue to mesmerise me.