‘origin showcased with authenticity’
Boschendal (Bos-en-dal) means bush and valley, and The Werf, the kitchen. Here happy cows graze and laze on the grass, chickens and ducks roam free, and more than 150 pigs feed in the forest (often on funghi earmarked for the menu). Ingredients are gently elevated from the earth to your plate. They don’t simply embrace sustainability, they live it. Tables are made from wood from the estate, uniforms are made of hemp; wherever you look, nature is on display.
The menu is devised to devour what is being harvested prolifically in the garden. “We are confined to the garden, but it forces us back to our feet. We used to chop, now we try to show the whole ingredient – an expression of the whole vegetable,” claims chef Christiaan Campbell proudly. “We use a combination of techniques, from modern to hot smoking and boiling in salt. There are not a lot of ingredients in a dish, just three or four main components. We do not use miso or soy – we make our own umami, like bokkoms.”
The cuisine is stylish, earthy and humble. The menu is presented in four sections – garden, ocean, pasture and sweet. There are always two dishes and a dessert on the small, bespoke menu for vegans. The flavours of carrots with parsnip dumplings and dates or the roasted-aged beetroot with quince, num num and Eugenia berries, always delight. The farmed trout, warm, with a cucumber broth and cold-potato salad, works beautifully. Pasture takes centre stage – pork neck, a salt-baked rib terrine with porcini mushrooms and smoked-red pepper, or the grilled-Angus steak with pine-ring mushrooms. Both are heavenly. Leave a gap for the gorgeous desserts. The jersey-milk mousse with dulce de leche and malted-milk sorbet presented on a Sable Breton biscuit has sweet and salty in sync. The passion fruit with dark chocolate, meringue and macadamia nuts too, is perfect.
Allow enough time to explore the Boschendal estate, the second oldest wine farm in SA, dating back to 1685. Even better, plan an overnight, sophisticated ‘farm stay’ in one of the cottages and experience a true working farm, the deli, farm shop and manor house.
“We use what we grow. Here carrots are not delivered by a supplier, clean and of the same size. Here we wash them – we take them from soil to plate.” Chef Christiaan Campbell
Address: Boschendal Estate Pniel Road, Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek, 7680
Contact: 021 870 4209