Great food, wine and more at Cape Town’s tower of Babel

In the shadow of the Simonsberg lies one of the most remarkable destinations in the winelands. If you’re going to visit just one wine farm on a day out from Cape Town, make it Babylonstoren in Paarl.

At Babylonstoren the first pleasure comes in confusion, because once you’ve parked your car beside the whitewashed farm wall you’ll hardly know where to start.

Admire the rejuvenated historic farm buildings? Stock up in the deli and farm bakery? Burn through your credit card in the stylish décor boutique?

But leave all of those for later and start with the garden: this remarkable food garden draws inspiration from French monastic gardens, as well as the Company’s Garden in the centre of Cape Town, and is a remarkable example of the edible made art. Fruit trees line scenic pathways while carpets of chrysanthemum throw their heady scent into the summer air. Your best bet is to book a spot on the daily walks guided by the garden horticulturist.

With the gardens visited it’s time for wine. A brand-new wine tasting experience has transformed the offering here, with well-informed guides taking guests through the olive press and wine cellar before finishing in the striking new wine-tasting facility. Cellar master Charl Coetzee crafts particularly good Shiraz, Viognier and Chardonnay. If you’re after a bottle to take home for the cellar, make it the flagship Nebukadnesar red, a striking Bordeaux-style blend.

The estate also boasts two wonderful restaurants, with laid-back lunches at the Conservatory and upmarket farm-to-fork cuisine at the modern bistro, Babel.

If you can’t bring yourself to leave after all that, book a room at the stylish farm hotel in one of the gorgeous suites that overlook the garden.

Leave a Reply