It's not all vineyards in Franschoek. Babylonstoren is an incredible feat of landscape architecture, created in the grounds of a 17th century manor house by the modern-day owner who wanted to create the ultimate kitchen garden. And what a garden – a veritable cornucopia of fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs and veg, not to mention the more unexpected plantings, such as a cactus maze. If walking around a vegetable garden sounds like rather a quiet activity, well, it's enlivened by the free-roaming roosters and the donkeys, and we even came across an enormous tortoise helping himself to the windfall. There's a rather high-end restaurant and a more affordable farm shop if you want to taste the wares, not to mention a hotel and spa; but we found it worth it just for a peaceful afternoon promenade.
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Farm-to-Table goodness, right on the farm: lunch at Babylonstoren
If "farmer chic" isn't a thing yet, maybe it ought to be. The fabulous farm resort of Babylonstoren, in the Cape Winelands, can lead the charge. This stylish retreat, just a half-hour from Cape Town, is a dazzling treat for the senses and the sensibilities: lush, fragrant, impeccably manicured gardens set against a beautiful mountain backdrop, and on it an incredibly refined and stylish revamp of old farhmands' quarters at a historic 17th-century Cape Dutch farm, courtesy the former editor of Elle Decoration. The food at Babylonstoren's signature restaurant, Babel, and its more casual counterpart, Greenhouse, is beyond fresh — after all, it doesn't get more farm-to-table than when the table is literally in the farm, does it? These scones and carrot cake might be the best I've ever had.