There is something incredibly soul-nurturing about a picnic basket and a glorious summer’s day in Cape Town. The feeling of the warm African sun caressing your neck, and the crisp coolness of a delicate Chenin Blanc. We were recently invited to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon at the Spier Farm Kitchen in Stellenbosch, generously treated to an overflowing foodie hamper and a few hours of blissful tranquillity.
At the start of spring this year, the Spier Farm Kitchen reconfirmed its presence as an integral part of the Spier Wine Farm with a new location, a fresh, farm-style inspired menu and a brand-new deli where all the magic happens. Now housed in an awe-inspiring 200-year-old Cape Dutch building, the Farm Kitchen is surrounded not only by wide expanses of picnic lawns and historic oak trees, but also by their very own vegetable gardens, making this a truly unique “garden to plate” experience.
Spier’s historic farmyard, The Werf, has also been restored to its former glory and now allows this stunning space to become a hub where family and friends come together over seasonal offerings and beautiful bottles of local wine. This new “market square” meeting place in the middle of Spier evokes a certain feeling of nostalgia for days gone by, but at the same time establishes itself as an uber-modern feature that sets the trend for al-fresco dining and gourmet picnics.
We were warmly greeted by Assistant Manager, Deborah Davids, and the rest of her super friendly and efficient team. Senior Sous Chef, Corien Hattingh, also came out to meet us with a gorgeous smile and a welcoming intro, before she had to dash back to the kitchen. Corien works alongside Executive Chef, Lolli Heyns.
For me, the beauty of the Spier Farm Kitchen is that you can customise your picnic to your every taste and whim. Vegetarian? No problem. Gluten-intolerant? Plenty of options. Vegan? They have you covered. It’s all about wholesome goodness in this kitchen. More guilt-free dessert options, pasture-reared meat and eggs, freshly made salads and wood-fired bread; all the decadence and none of the baddies. Here, the words “local,” “natural” and “organic” are not just thrown around like confetti to create hype, but it’s rather a quietly confident way of being, a way of taking pride in their produce; a way of honouring and respecting their guests and the environment.
We chose a lovely little shaded table outside where we could look over The Werf while tucking into the massive basket of deliciousness. You can also take a walk with your picnic and collapse under the big old willow trees by the dam, or close to the kiddies’ play area if you want. There is no restriction on the picnic area, and there are so many wonderful nooks and crannies around Spier where you can hide yourself away from the world for the afternoon.
But back to the food! I won’t go into all the delicious details because I’d end up writing a three-titled bundle, but you can have a peek in the basket. All I know is that we unpacked and unpacked and unpacked even more. My photos couldn’t possibly do the food any justice. Everything was presented so beautifully, with 100% compostable and biodegradable packaging and utensils. Add in an ice-cold bottle of wine, a warm loaf of bread, a pastel blue sky filled with wispy clouds and a very hungry tummy, and my life in that moment was complete.
My personal favourite picnic items included the lemon seared chicken with rocket pesto pasta (so very more-ish!), the double-smoked bacon potato salad with egg and herbs and the one thing that made me childishly excited; the beef corn dog. Actually; I would be lying if I singled out favourites, because I thoroughly enjoyed every hand-selected item in the basket. Of course, no picnic is quite complete without fresh bread, cheese, preserves, olives and farm butter; of which there were plenty to go around. We ate and relaxed and relished in the Signature Spier Chenin Blanc until we could no more. And then there was more! We also enjoyed chatting to the team at the Farm Kitchen; each member proudly telling us stories about the recent changes to the venue, the history of the farm and the ingredients used in their humble farm-inspired dishes.
I was truly sad when it was time to leave, although I left feeling immensely proud of having been part of something so good. I have sneaky suspicion that the Spier Farm Kitchen will become one of my summer staples this year, because who needs a traditional Sunday lunch around the table if you can play outside on the grass and soak up some sun?