food

FABER, a sustainable approach to dining

Embodying their slogan 'soil is life', Avondale's restaurant FABER sources most of its ingredients of their thriving and biodynamic gardens.

Supplied, Avondale Claire Gunn

Chef Dale Stevens at FABER

Headed by Chef Dale Stevens, FABER's daily menu is entirely dictated by the garden and Mother Nature's seasonal bounty. The ethos of Avondale Wine, located on the slopes of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains in Paarl, is rooted in  biodynamics.

Biodynamics can be understood as an approach to sustainable organic agricutlure that considers the physical soil, water and animals along with the cosmic energies in the implementation of farming. Utilising this approach enhances the health of the soil and includes various methods such as seasonal crop rotation, companion planting and cover crops. 

This same approach is applied to the growth of Avondale's grapes in the form of organic viticulture and natural wine making to create a number of award-winning wines. 

ALSO READ: Sustainable Octopus Garden opens in Cape Town 
Chef Dale Stevens
Chef Dale Stevens 

Avondale Wine prides itself on ensuring responsibiltiy of the carbon footprint, traceability and provenance of every element created on their grounds. Making waves in the industry, FABER has received acclaim, as the JHP Gourmet Guide Haute People Award recipient for 2020. 

Chef Stevens' morning ritual starts off harvesting the ripe and ready frutis and vegetabels from the abundant Avondale gardens. 

'Our restaurant is a stone's throw away from the garden, so when we say 'farm to fork' we mean it quiet literally,' said Stevens. 

Avondale Wine

In order to use all the produce on Avondale's farm, the waiters collect lemons from the garden to create a homemade and refreshing fruit cordial. The farms are not treated with any chemical pesticides and in the process of biodyanmic farming it is curciual to ensure the soil remains nutirient dense. 

Chef Stevens is able to create wholesome and falvourful dishes from the nutirent rich ingredients sourced from the garden. From pairing young and tender leeks with a medium rare grass-fed steak to summer salads featuring brightly coloured watermelon radishes. 

'In the past we've had time to focus on specific ingredients and, in this way, have been able to refine our offering,' he said. 

Avondale Farm

Meat-lovers will be glad to know that the cows located on Avondale are fed on a pasture self-serve salad bar and are moved every afternoon around 2pm to a new pasture. During this time period, pastures are higher in nutrient levels and results in the herd feeding less, but gaining more energy. In turn, this positively impacts the quality and flavour of the meat. 

Each part of the cow is utilised within FABER's kitchen - from the beef cheeks to tongue. Each cut of the animal is used and given more flavour through the use of age-old preserving methods such as pickling and brining. 

ALSO READ: World's largest urban rooftop farm to open in Paris

Avondale Cows

With such a bountiful garden, fruit preserves, kimchi, chutney and more are all made in-house. If an ingredient cannot be sourced from the garden, suppliers are chosen based on their ethical approach to food and a reverence for provence. 

Avondale wine farm is certified organic and aims to use the latest advances in sustainable farming. 

Summer menu 

FABER's summer menu will include the crowd-pleasing pumpkin fritter and sourdough bread which undergoes a two day and 18 hour natural yeast fermentation process yielding pre-digested gluten. This sourdough is easier to digest due to the thorough process. 

FABER menu
Bread board at FABER 

With fresh yellow tail  making a strong appearence on the menu, it will be served as thin raw slices with a miso and garlic galzed, lightly seared and drizzled with an orange dressing. 

The farm's ducks and chickens are all organic, with the mobile chicken farm producing up to 90 eggs a day. 

Avondale chickens

Desserts will feature ripe and seasonal fruits including lemons, strawberries and grandillas with homemade ice cream and sorbet. 

ALSO READ: Wine talk: Luxe on the vine