At Avondale in Paarl there is sincere synchronicity between what is happening in the seasons, in the soil, and on the plate at Faber restaurant. Simplicity is the order of the day for chef Dale Stevens, who, when asked about his cuisine, says he is, “Showcasing Mother Nature”. He is, beautifully. Ingredients are sourced mainly on the farm, which is a challenge. “Today we have mushrooms, tomorrow we may not. The squirrels eat what we are about to harvest, so supply in inconsistent. I forage daily, and have taught the chefs to do the same,” says Dale. Hard when your aim is ultimately to achieve consistency.
I was delighted to come in from the cold to be greeted with a roaring fire, joined by a fellow food-loving, writing globe-trotting colleague who was equally entranced by the setting and ethos of the estate. Having recently launched their Quevri wines, there was much fuel for lively conversation, and we were delighted to taste both these wines, the Chenin Blanc, and a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.
A board of large porcini mushrooms foraged that morning by chef Dale was converted into a light pasta dish, enjoyed after a delicious celeriac tagliatelle served with a 64°C egg and pickled garlic. Interesting to note that 90 eggs are harvested daily. The free-range duck breast was cooked to perfection with preserved quince, wilted Swiss chard and Jerusalem artichokes. The dessert provided a fitting grande finale, prepared and served by pastry chef Amone Jacobs. A thin slice of roasted apple with pear puree, toasted pecan nut and yoghurt ice cream. Yum.
Head there for a delightful Winter experience with warm and engaging service in the most authentic, biodynamic setting.