The Organic Deli at Summerfields Rose Retreat & Spa, just outside Hazyview, is surrounded by roses usually in full bloom, while the scent of the herb gardens wafts in the air, and the shaded veranda makes for long, lazy lunches and moonlit evenings.
“Our restaurant is all about comfortable relaxed food that we source locally,” says chef Natia van Heerden. And by local she means as much from their own farm as possible. Summerfields is a family affair. Natia’s mother, Ilse, grows the roses for which the retreat is famous, as well as the veggie and herb gardens. “I discuss with my mom what to grow and what I want and then I cook what’s in season,” says Natia. “I love being able to dig up my own potatoes.”
I try the salad starter of green vegetables such as asparagus, sugar snap peas, courgettes and baby salad leaves, with a salsa verde made from herbs, feta and olive oil, sprinkled with deep-fried capers and pistachio powder (R60). There is no doubt that home-grown and handpicked makes this dish a delight.
For the main course I choose the duck breast fried with thyme and sage and my dinner partner chooses the Duck Three Ways (R130), including a duck pâté and a duck ham home-made by Natia. It’s all delicious but the best for me are the vegetables. I swear I can taste the difference from shop-bought veggies. I love the thought that the soil has only just been shaken off the food I am eating and that the herbs on my plate had bees buzzing over them just a few hours ago.
For dessert we opt for the Summerfields Signature Dessert (R75), a parfait made from crunchy home-grown macadamias with almond and vanilla crème and white chocolate and macadamia praline shards. Light, not too sweet and a fitting end to a ‘local-licious’ meal. We decide to return for a lazy lunch when the Deli serves wonderful tapas and we still have to try The River Café down on the Sabie River at the Summerfields Spa. Perhaps a long weekend here is required…