Tagged : Babylonstoren
WEDNESDAY 2 APRIL, 2014 / COMMENTS 
Dylan and I went on a last minute trip down to the Cape a week ago for a bit of business and a bit of fun. As per usual we ate our way through the city and met so many wonderful people.
We had dinner with old clients and breakfast with new ones. We ate lobster rolls and fried chicken waffles for the first time. We did a sunrise shoot on signal hill which ended up being freezing, but the results were pretty great.
We went on a mandatory trip to Babylonstoren, where we're excited to be shooting at later in the year. We held baby hedgehogs and drank way too much coffee. We had tea at the beautiful pink Mount Nelson Hotel before going to see The Grand Budapest hotel at the Labia theatre.
It was a good, very full trip... but now I want to go back!
MONDAY 3 JUNE, 2013 / COMMENTS 
After our breakfast at Babel we joined the 10 am Garden tour which is something you just HAVE to do if you're planning on visiting Babylonstoren for tea or lunch. I thought it was going to be slightly boring - all about gardening and the best conditions and soil types for planting things but it was a real adventure with the most amazing story teller. Gundula above was our guide, and as she took us through the garden she told us stories about every plant and fruit, and let us taste, smell and experience them. She would tell us stories that we weren't quite sure were fact or fiction. She told us how the olive trees that they are growing are from clippings from the garden of Gethsemane, and the one apple tree was grown from the apple tree that Newton sat under (when the apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity). Amazing fantastical stories that kept us hanging on to her every word.
It was such a magical thing to see where all the plants and fruits have come from (they all have a story), and how they protect them from parasites, and how they use them in the restaurant. The craziest thing is that the garden is only about 5 years old, even though some of the trees are over 20 years old. You can see they've used the best people around the world, no cost spared, to create something truly unique and incredible! It was a bit like Disneyland for adults, and has certainly inspired us to grow more in our own garden.
I hope this series has inspired you to go visit. It's definitely one of my favourite places in the world, and that's only after spending 24 hours there.
The set consisits of 6 x forks, 6 x knives, 6 x tablespoons and 6 x teaspoons.
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WEDNESDAY 29 MAY, 2013 / COMMENTS 
Spending 24 hours at Babylonstoren was a bit of a dream. I'd seen about a million instagrams of it but experiencing it for myself was magical.
We started at about midday on Tuesday at the Green house, with a bottle of their lovely Chardonnay while we waited for a friend to join us. It was a wonderfully warm day so we sat under the shady Granadilla tree while we perused their simple, yet exquisite menu. I couldn't stop staring and taking photos of all the details surrounding me, everything felt designed with a purpose.. nothing was random. Every element and colour just fit together like a painting. It was SO hard cutting down pictures for this post, but trust me there's more to come. This is just one corner of Babylonstoren.
When my friend Candice arrived we decided to have lunch (and tea) inside the Green house. All the food from the Green house restaurant is mostly made and grown on the property. The juices above are their robot juices - you choose red, yellow or green and they make it up from whatever red, yellow or green fruits and vegetables they have growing in the garden. Fresh and delicious!
On the menu you have the option to build your own sandwich or choose a garden salad (which is also whatever they have in the garden at the time).
I had a biltong and Gorgonzola sandwich which actually ended up being way too rich for me, but it was still incredibly tasty. Their salad and fries were also delicious (actually everything was delicious). My favourite part of the whole eating experience was the way they presented everything. They bring everything to the table in a wooden crate, instead of a tray. The sandwich came wrapped up in beautiful paper and a napkin, sealed with their elegant and posh plastic cutlery (which charmed me so much that I bought a set).
To prolong the whole experience we ended up ordering Earl Grey tea and scones (baked and presented in little glass jars). The scones come with Granadilla curd (which is pretty much the most delicious thing i've ever tasted), Vanilla cream and Shiraz jam (if I remember correctly).
After tea we checked into our room, and decided to go on a bicycle ride around the garden. The day guests had left and it felt like we were the only one's there. We cycled through the rows of Guava trees which by late afternoon smelt incredible, we cycled up to the the little hill and down again around to the lake. It was flat and easy to ride around, so we could focus on taking in all the sights and scents.
For a winter sunset, it was warm and lovely and we made the most of every last minute of light. It was a perfectly magical afternoon, and we're only 6 hours into the story. Stay tuned for Part two.
In the meantime you can go here to learn a bit more about Babylonstoren. It's located in the Drakenstein Valley between Franschhoek and Paarl so if you live in Cape Town you have no excuse not to visit.
THURSDAY 3 OCTOBER, 2013 / COMMENTS 
De Kas was refreshing discovery (found through A cup of Jo) just outside the tourist circuit of Amsterdam. We cycled for over an hour to try their delicious, unpretentious food fresh from their gardens and far exceeded our expectations.
Set in an incredible glass building (reminiscent of a green house) it over looks a huge park. It's great place to escape and relax for an afternoon or evening. You really feel far away from all the craziness of the city, which is exactly what we needed after a few days of being tourists. We had a looong lazy lunch, three courses beautifully presented and bursting with flavour paired with some light delicious Rosé.
We had a short kitchen and garden tour with one of their chefs, and we got talking about Babylonstoren in Cape Town as the concept and design are very similar, and he told us that De Kas was actually the original inspiration for Babylonstoren! According to him, Karen Roos spent a lot of time in the Netherlands and loved frequenting De Kas ;). They now have a good relationship between the two of them and have even hosted each other's chefs for a visit. How amazing?
If you're in Amsterdam and want to visit, booking is essential. Get all the information you need here.
MONDAY 3 JUNE, 2013 / COMMENTS 
The cottages at Babylonstoren were such a breath of fresh air. White everywhere. A cozy fireplace. Heavenly beds. THAT bath tub! (and yes I did use it).
I absolutely loved the attention to detail everywhere like the his and hers wellies at the door, the book shelf of lazy holiday reads, a few samples of their signature wine in the fridge and a crate full of seasonal fruit on the kitchen table. It was luxurious but also so homey.
The style is distinctly Cape Dutch but has been reworked to make something fresh and timeless. I didn't want to leave. I went to bed late and woke up early just to experience it all a bit longer.
That night we had dinner at Babel, which is an experience in itself. The menu is always changing to what's in season (the way it should be), so it'll never be the same for anyone.
For starters we had the Garden salad with strawberry rose geranium vinaigrette and the bean soup. For mains we both had the pepper fillet with a roasted quince and a quail egg on top (how freaking sweet is that tiny little fried egg!), this came with hand cut chips and seasonal vegetables. Every bite, as you can imagine, was delicious. They use so many unexpected flavours from the garden that we always found ourselves asking "what is this?" and most of the time it would be something we had never heard of.
We decided to have our dessert in the green room, which is another room for guests to read and relax in.
For dessert we had the white chocolate creme brûlée, and the Chocolate fondant with clotted creme fraiche and Shiraz drizzle. The chocolate fondant was my favourite. It was warm and gooey and the perfect end to our evening.
After a lovely night's sleep we put on our wellies and headed back to Babel for breakie. We lingered over our full farm breakfasts and Sudoku (which was on our table when we arrived, with a report of the day's weather and activities). It was a much colder and misty day, perfect for the garden tour and more tea and scones (coming in Part three).
TUESDAY 27 NOVEMBER, 2012 / COMMENTS 
I can't wait to visit this place on my next trip to the Cape.
Babylonstoren seems like a place that belongs in a foreign country or even a movie. I want to go and drink tea in that incredible conservatory, wander around the gardens and pick fresh berries.
It looks like a nice place to get lost in.
below: a map of the complex gardens