Published on : Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Farm-to-table is all the rage on the current culinary scene, and a host of Leading Hotels offer guests the opportunity to savor the produce that comes fresh from their own gardens. Here is just a small cross section.
A few years ago, the Chatham Bars Inn purchased an eight-acre farm for the production of all of its produce. Located about ten miles from the hotel, it is exclusive to the hotel, but guests are allowed to walk the grounds and even select items that the chefs will then prepare specially for them. Currently the farm produces a wide variety of lettuce, kale, summer corn, squashes, carrots, eggplants, and just about any other herb or vegetable that you can think of, including more than 30 varieties of tomatoes – among them Pink Tiger, Purple Bumblebee, Green Zebra, and Scarlet Red. There are many specialty items that the chefs prepare with the produce from the farm, including the Baby Carrots with White Truffle Honey and Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Caprese Salad. The hotel helps guests get the day off to a good start with a breakfast-inclusive arrangement, priced from USD 289 per night, single or double occupancy, which includes accommodations and breakfast.
Some travelers may already think of Mauritius as the Garden of Eden, and Shanti Maurice – A Nira Resort embodies the metaphor. The resort cultivates an herb garden that produces aromatic herbs such as rosemary, marjoram, lemongrass, mint, parsley, basil, and coriander, as well as vegetables including lettuce, white and red radish, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, sweet corn and chili, and fruits such as banana, papaya and mango. Several of these tempting ingredients are incorporated to create menu offerings like Obrime in Banana Leaf – Cape Malay marinated obrime grilled in a banana leaf with Thai basil and tomato salad; and Yellow fin Tuna with Garden Herbs – spice-crusted yellow fin tuna with rosemary and honey scented herbs. Last year, the resort introduced a private dining experience in the heart of the garden: the Herb Garden BBQ which includes a special tasting menu, tailored wine flight and service by a personal butler and chefs.
Guests as well as non-residents can enjoy the five-course gourmet menu, which is available year-round. A special bed and breakfast offer, valid until April 30, 2014, includes daily breakfast and 15% reduction on room rate. Rates already adjusted to reflect savings, start from EUR 385 per night, single or double occupancy.
At Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort, the secret behind the hotel’s light but tasty dishes is the flourishing organic kitchen garden produce that uses the philosophy of well-being to give a twist to the best of Tuscan gastronomic tradition. So pleasure becomes the key to rediscovering the joy of healthy eating. Located on-site for the exclusive use of the hotel,
the garden produces a significant amount of ingredients supplying the two restaurants and the staff canteen. Inaugurated in 2010 and since enlarged, it yields items such as zucchini, cauliflowers, tomatoes, eggplants, different varieties of lettuce, fennel, cucumbers,
artichokes, peppers, herbs such as basil and parsley, as well as raspberries, strawberries and blackberries for delicious desserts. The hotel also produces olive oil from its own trees. Among the resulting dishes are Broccoli Soup with Anchovies, Cauliflower and Tomatoes; Zucchini Noodles with Clams and Tomato Sauce; and Cheesecake with Raspberry Dressing.
Valid until January 10, 2015, a breakfast-inclusive package is priced from EUR 195.50 per night, single occupancy, and EUR 280.50 per night, double occupancy; and includes buffet breakfast; use of the thermal pool; access to the sauna, steam bath and gym; tax and service charge.
Almost the entire menu for Saxon five hundred, the fine dining restaurant at Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa in Johannesburg, South Africa, is harvested from the hotel’s organic rooftop garden; save for the meat and cheese items. The garden produces all varieties of herbs, including lemon thyme, lemon verbena and five types of basil; rhubarb; beans; lemons, pears and apples; tomatillos; gooseberries; purple broccoli; globe artichokes; 25 varieties of tomato; asparagus; yellow marrow; beetroot; fennel and fennel flowers; parsnips; gem and butternut squash. On the restaurant’s six-course menu, there is a first course of Green Tomato Soup, Garden Beans, Tarragon, and Bean Flowers, while the four-course offering features a vegetarian option of Seasonal Squash with Steamed Yellow Marrow with Pine Nut Chutney, Gem Squash Yoghurt, and Butternut Brule, all from the hotel’s garden.
Upon request guests can take master classes with the chefs, where they spend the morning with the chef in the garden and then have a cooking demonstration in the restaurant kitchens on how to prepare those items in a variety of ways, including fine dining techniques. Guests can also enjoy a seasonal barbeque out in the garden with the head chef David Higgs, with salads being picked fresh and prepared right on their plates. Ongoing through 2015, a breakfast-inclusive package is available starting from ZAR 4,950 per night, single or double occupancy, which includes daily English buffet breakfast, mini-bar soft drinks and use of the hydro facilities at the spa.
Gardens also thrive in urban environments, and one of those is, perhaps a little surprisingly, in Stockholm where The Grand Hôtel’s star chef Mathias Dahlgren cultivates a subcontracted plot located at the Rosendal’s Trädgård near by the hotel. While the plot tended by Chef Dahlgren is used exclusively by the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurants Matsalen and Matbaren, Rosendal’s is an open garden, whose main purpose is to present biodynamic or organic garden cultivation to the general public, and the area where it is located has actaully been under cultivation since the 17th century. Chef Dahlgren not only uses ingredients from the garden in his restaurants, he also uses the garden for educational purposes so that the staff can learn more about the products. Every Monday during the growing season, Chef Dahlgren himself can be found working in the garden. Among the primary items produced are cabbage, kale, celery root, artichoke, herbs, oyster leaves, and beets; which then make appearances in dishes such as Fried Kale with Lemon, Anchovies and Black Pepper; and Grilled Wild Duck with Salt-Baked Celery Root. A breakfast-inclusive package is available until February 3, 2015, and includes daily breakfast, Internet connection, entrance to the spa and fitness center, morning paper, tax and service charge. Rates start at SEK 1,900 per night single occupancy and SEK 3,300 per night, double occupancy.
What could possibly be more British than a garden? And indeed The Grove just outside of London cultivates one on site that primarily produces ingredients that are used in Colette’s, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, and during peak production seasons, other outlets – The Glasshouse, The Stables and the Mansion Lounges – also benefit. The Walled Garden has traditionally been used to grow fruit and vegetables for the Earls of Clarendon dating back to the 18th century, and in more recent times, with the restoration of The Grove, it has also been returned to its former glory. Root vegetables – carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, leeks and onions – are abundant, complementing a full range of lettuces, cress, tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes, pumpkins, squash, peppers and beans. There are also herbs aplenty – sage, dill, rosemary, chervil, thyme and several varieties of basil. In summer, fruits come into their own, with a host of berries, rhubarb, lemons, figs, grapes, apples, plums and gooseberries creating a cornucopia of flavors. Out of the kitchens come dishes such as English Wood Pigeon, with Walled Garden Beetroots, Rainbow Chard, and Blueberries; and Alpine Strawberry Panna Cotta, with Jersey Cream Ice Cream, and Macerated Strawberries. Until June 23, 2015, guests can take advantage of the breakfast-inclusive offer which is priced from GBP 260 per night, single occupancy, and GBP 285 per night, double occupancy; and includes daily buffet breakfast and access to the fitness facilities and swimming pool.
Planted to ensure freshness of herbs and vegetables for use in its restaurants and room service offerings, the garden at The Kahala Hotel and Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii, is located under a banyan tree between the main entrance road to the hotel and the back-of-the house area. The items grown are part of the hotel’s “garden, farm and ocean to table” program, and the garden is part of its ‘islands fresh’ concept of buying fresh local products as first choice. Among the primary items are several types of peppers, radishes, zucchini, and arugula, as well as sage, basil and parsley. Spanish black radish and breakfast radish are incorporated in salads, featured in a vegetable platter, and roasted to serve as an accent to the chef’s catch of the day special. In the Salt Crusted Rack of Lamb, a layer of fresh herbs is applied before the rack is wrapped in the salt, to prevent the meat from becoming too salty, and to impart additional delicate flavors during cooking. As part of the hotel’s 50th anniversary commemorations in April, garden items will be featured in a menu celebrating the hotel’s culinary past and present, with Executive Chef Wayne Hirabayashi hosting guest chefs Martin Wyss – who presided over the kitchens during the resort’s opening years – and Chef Yamamoto of the Hotel Okura Tokyo’s La Belle Époque signature restaurant. The hotel’s breakfast-inclusive offer, valid until December 19, 2014, and priced from USD 480 per night, single or double occupancy, includes daily breakfast buffet in Plumeria Beach House, Wi-Fi, use of fitness center, and no resort fee.
Established in 2008, the chef’s garden at Villa La Massa, just 6 miles from Florence, Ponte Vecchio, yields enough fresh produce to meet the hotel restaurant’s needs. Set on site, along the Arno River, it produces a variety of organic herbs and vegetables, including basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, wild fennel and garlic, zucchini, eggplant, spinach, several kinds of tomatoes, savoy cabbage and peppers. The hotel also has its own grove of olive trees from which it produces olive oil for the kitchen and restaurant. Using the produce, the chef creates dishes such as Free Range Rooster with Aromatic Herbs and Lemon, and Whole-meal Penne with Fresh Vegetables and Salted Ricotta Cheese. He also prepares a variety of jams from the garden’s peaches, plums, pears, apricots, cherries and strawberries. Valid until November 2, 2014, the breakfast-inclusive offer includes buffet breakfast in the restaurant or continental from room service, access to the gym and pool, shuttle service to downtown Florence, and VAT. Rates start from EUR 430 per night, single or double occupancy.
Nearly 15 years ago the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento, Italy, began cultivating its on-site vegetable and herb gardens. Among the items grown for use in the hotel’s kitchens are tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, zucchini, lettuce, pumpkin, peas, beans, and red and yellow peppers, as well as herbs such as mint, dill, rosemary, thyme, chervil, basil, and parsley. The chef then creates dishes like Gragnano Spaghettoni Pasta with Anchovies, Fennel, and Tuna Fish Tartare; and a variation of Cherry Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese and Basil. The hotel’s breakfast-inclusive offer is valid through the end of the year. Priced from EUR 304.50 per night, single occupancy; and EUR 325.50 per night, double occupancy; it includes accommodations and full breakfast daily.