Farm-To-Fork – Exactly How Mother Nature Intended

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Situated in the beautiful Avondale Wine Estate, outside Paarl on the slopes of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains, FABER is one of Africa and South Africa’s leading restaurants.

Representing the synergy of two craftsmen, namely chef Dale Stevens and Avondale’s proprietor, Johnathan Grieve, FABER is a contemporary ‘farm-to-fork’ restaurant. It approaches each ingredient with the utmost respect and aims to take visitors on an inspirational, thought-provoking journey that celebrates the bountiful goodness of nature.

“Our restaurant is literally a stone’s throw from the garden,” says Chef Dale. “So, when we say ‘farm-to-fork’, we mean it quite literally.

A typical morning’s ritual involves harvesting what is ripe and ready to be pulled or picked form the farm’s abundant garden. Seasonality forms the foundation of the daily changing menu, depending on what the chefs harvest from the gardens and fields. “Even our waiters are known to pick lemons directly from the garden for use in refreshing fruit cordials, served as welcome drinks on hot days,” adds Chef Dale.

A focus on specific ingredients, has seen Chef Dale able to refine FABER’s offering over the years. Summer salads feature brightly coloured watermelon radishes, while young and tender leeks of early summer are caramelised and served with medium-rare grass-fed steak. The likes of carrots or cucumbers may differ in size and shape, but here Mother Nature’s perfection is measured more by intense and nutrient dense flavour rather than looks. From root vegetables to delicate herbs and salad leaves, all product is farmed using the exact same biodynamic principles as the grapes that go into Avondale Wine Estate’s award-winning wines.

“We are mindful of using everything, rather than considering it as waste,” explains Chef Dale. “You could say we apply the cooking principle of ‘nose to tail’ to our vegetables, too – I call it ‘root-to-leaf’,” he adds. Anything that doesn’t get used forms part of a strict recycling system and all food waste is composted using Bokashi.

“Our cows are fed on a pasture ‘salad bar’ and are moved every afternoon at 14h00 to a new pasture. Pastures reach a nutrient high at this time of day,” continues Chef Dale. “This results in cows eating less but gaining more energy – all of which positively influences the quality and flavour of the meat.” Lesser-known cuts of an animal (beef cheeks, tongue, etc.) are given more flavour by using age-old preserving methods such as pickling and brining. Fish and other ingredients are cold smoked to retain the delicate flavours.

“If an ingredient cannot be sourced from the farm, we rely on a handful of carefully selected and trusted suppliers who share a common reverence with us for provenance and the ethics of food,” continues Chef Dale. “Long before we start working in the kitchen, the flavour and nutritional content of an ingredient is influenced by the health of the soil in which it is grown.”

The entire farm is certified organic and constantly pushing the boundaries of the latest advances in sustainable practices. FABER’s slow-food dining philosophy is perfectly aligned to Avondale Wine Estate’s minimal-intervention approach to organic viticulture and natural winemaking.

Regular practices include the use of biodynamic preparations to build the organic matter of the soil, seasonal crop rotation, companion planting and the use of cover crops (such as clover) to actively enrich the soil.

“Our sustainability goals extend beyond only ethical food sourcing and the resourcefulness of taking a ‘nose-to-tail’ and ‘leaf-to-root’ approach to cooking,” continues Chef Dale.

FABER’S responsible management of food waste encompasses the principle of the four Rs: recycle, reduce, reuse or refuse. The restaurant only uses glass bottles and reusable straws, towels, and napkins. Glass and plastic is recycled, as is cooking oil. Further, eggshells are used in biodynamic preparations and all the organic kitchen waste is made into compost. “This goes back into the soil to create microbial life, thereby completing the circle of life,” explains Chef Dale.

What to expect this spring and summer?

The spring and summer menus usually showcase a beautiful selection of berries and greens: blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, asparagus, broad beans, peas, sugar snap peas, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage.

In line with its ‘farm-to-fork’ approach and making use of what nature provides, Chef Dale does not plan any of his menus too far ahead. Spontaneity is key and an absolute differentiator when it comes to the menus available at FABER Restaurant.

Some current selections include:

  • Starter: lemon buttered potato angel hair, selection of greens, broad beans, mange tout, sugar snap pea, crispy potato nest, Tanglewood goats’ cheese.
  • Main: fricassee of steamed green asparagus, shimeji, portobellini and button mushrooms, basil, baby onions, braised gem lettuce, potato gnocchi and homemade ricotta.
  • Dessert: soft mascarpone mousse, poached guava, blueberries, sumac meringue, lemon and thyme streusel and guava sorbet.

About Avondale Wine Estate

Situated outside Paarl, on the slopes of the Klein Drakenstein mountains, Avondale Wine Estate is a family owned and run wine estate creating and crafting not only the richest and most authentic award winning certified organic and biodynamic natural slow wines but, so too, offering all its visitors (physical and virtual) an extraordinary experience across every single touch point.

With a culture deeply rooted in sustainability and authenticity, Avondale Wine Estate practices sustainable, organic, biodynamic and natural viticulture in line with its ethos of Terra Est Vita – ‘Soil is Life’ and is deeply rooted in its belief and knowledge that in order for both the land and the business to thrive, every aspect of its living system must also thrive. In everything that Avondale does, it upholds the key principle of Life – to constantly create conditions conducive to more Life.

Experience Avondale Wine Estate’s personalised and extraordinary wine tasting in the Avondale vineyards itself, or the pure culinary craftmanship of farm-to-fork FABERfood (Haute Grandeur Awards 2020: Best Garden Restaurant in Africa, Most Unique Experience in Africa, Best Restaurant View in South Africa) or opt for one of their outdoor activities and experiences ranging from access to family members own private gardens, garden walks, trail runs and picnics through to an epic adventure on their downhill flow trail, a terrain-induced roller coaster experience.  Avondale Wine Estate offers something memorable for everyone.

About Avondale Wine
Extraordinary wine approved by Mother Nature!
Award-winning certified organic and biodynamic natural slow wines.

Recent awards include the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge (2022) for all five wines entered:

  • Avondale Anima 2018 – 91 POINTS / DOUBLE GOLD
  • Avondale Armilla 2014 – 91 POINTS / DOUBLE GOLD
  • Avondale Samsara Syrah 2012 – 90 POINTS / DOUBLE GOLD

Our commitment to promoting life does not only lead to Mother Nature’s approval of our healthy, balanced vineyard ecosystem; it also ensures the premium quality of Avondale’s organic and biodynamic slow wines. The vigour of our well-tended vines leads to excellent grapes bursting with fresh flavours that are evident in our individually styled, classic wines, so full of life and character.

Avondale Wine Estate is certified organic and practices biodynamic agriculture; but goes even beyond these beneficial systems of natural farming by ensuring use of the very best 21st Century science, technology and knowledge to enhance sustainability.

When we despatch Avondale wines for distribution (locally and internationally), we hold the intention that they will play a role in enhancing healthy balance and affirming joy in the lives of those that take pleasure in them. We are mindful that whenever an Avondale wine is part of a family dinner or a celebration, an exciting gathering or a solitary interlude we are all connected in those moments by a shared love of life.

 About FABER Restaurant
Situated in the beautiful Avondale Wine Estate, outside Paarl on the slopes of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains, FABER is one of Africa and South Africa’s leading restaurants (Haute Grandeur Awards 2020: Best Garden Restaurant in Africa, Most Unique Experience in Africa, Best Restaurant View in South Africa). Representing the synergy of two craftsmen, namely chef Dale Stevens and Avondale’s proprietor, Johnathan Grieve, FABER is a contemporary farm to fork restaurant that approaches each ingredient with the utmost respect and aims to take visitors on an inspirational, thought-provoking journey that celebrates the bountiful goodness of nature. A responsible sustainability driven restaurant, FABER is focused on supporting organic, free range and low carbon producers. As a result, FABERFood is pure culinary craftmanship: wholesome and extremely nourishing, requiring little in the way of embellishment. The superior provenance of the ingredient is always allowed to shine through.

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