AVONDALE proprietor Johnathan Grieve and FABER chef-patron Eric Bulpitt are teaming up to introduce a new concept to the world of winelands dining, with the launch of innovative ‘Field to Feast’ luncheons this Autumn.
Paarl estate Avondale has long been known for its pioneering biodynamic approach to viticulture and winemaking and, since opening on the estate in October 2016, FABER has fast become one of the most sought-after culinary destinations in the winelands.
An evolution of the popular ‘biodynamic lunches’ held on Avondale in the past, these hotly anticipated ‘Field to Feast’ events ”are really an opportunity for us to invite our guests to the farm and share our biodynamic journey with them, showcasing how the farm, FABER and Avondale tie together,” explains Grieve.
Feast days will begin with a tour of the property by farm-chic tractor-trailer as Grieve, an entertaining raconteur, unpacks the biodynamic principles underpinning the growth of Avondale since the family became custodians of the land in 1996.
“We want to explore the enormous impact biodynamics has on the soils here, and how our BioLOGIC® philosophy runs throughout Avondale, whether it’s in the production of vines, wine or food,” adds Grieve. “We want to get people to understand how different the nutrient density and flavour spectrums of bio-dynamically produced food and wine are to those in conventional farming.”
The interplay of farm, food and wine form an ongoing collaboration between Avondale and FABER, as biodynamic produce from the land is reimagined in Chef Eric Bulpitt’s kitchen.
Whether it’s touring the farm’s biodynamic vegetable gardens or admiring the quirky Egg-mobile that supplies the kitchen with pasture-reared eggs, Bulpitt will look to spark a conversation with guests around how hyper-local sustainably-sourced produce informs and defines the menu at FABER.
“As with the vineyards and wine, we want guests to understand our food journey and the processes involved from the vegetable garden to the kitchen and, finally, onto the plates at FABER,” says Bulpitt.
Of course it’s what’s on the plate that will be top of mind for most visitors come lunchtime.
After the tour, guests will be welcomed back at FABER with a glass of Avondale’s award-winning Armilla Méthode Cap Classique before settling in for a leisurely farm feast.
“The idea is to enjoy the meal as a feast table, served-family style. We want this to be a shared, convivial experience,” says Bulpitt. Each of the three courses will be paired with a glass of Avondale wine.
The menu will be informed entirely by the seasons, and what’s fresh from the gardens. That could mean a whole roast duck with trimmings in autumn, prime cuts on the bone in winter, or succulent lamb with the onset of spring. Expect the menu to be a constant work-in-progress, delighting and surprising guests on the day.
‘Field to Feast’ luncheons will be offered quarterly, tapping into the charms and produce of each season. The first ‘Field to Feast’ takes place in late-March, arguably the best time of year on Avondale, enthuses Grieve: “Autumn is a great time to be on the farm. After the rigours of harvest the vineyards may not be looking their best, but it’s the season when you can really feel the energy on Avondale. It’s a grounded energy as we look to rebalance the soils with biodynamic preparations.”
In winter the focus turns to the resting vineyards and root vegetables from the garden, while spring and summer Feasts will focus on the renewed vibrancy in the vineyards and the flowering ahead of harvest.
Seats for each ‘Field to Feast’ are limited, and advance reservations highly recommended. Luncheons are held between 11am and 3pm and cost R550 per person, including the guided farm tour, three-course lunch, and three glasses of wine, spring water from the farm and restaurant gratuity.
UPCOMING ‘FIELD TO FEAST’ LUNCHEONS:
26th March 2017 for the Autumn Feast
11th June 2017 for the Winter Feast
17th September 2017 for the Spring Feast
26th November 2017 for the Summer Feast
Booking to be made through FABER’s online booking system avondalewine.co.za/faber/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 021 202 1219. Payment in full is required to secure your spot for the day.