When I was planning my trip to Mpumalanga, I researched restaurants and spas in the area. I came across Summerfield, sent them an email and asked for a opportunity to do a review and interview their chef. They obliged me……
Summerfields Rose Retreat is nestled on 100ha estate snuggled into a secluded valley near Hazyview in Mpumalanga province 10km from the world famous Kruger National Park. It comprises of a Lodge, Spa, Restaurant & Deli set on Summerfields Rose Farm, famous for its export quality hybrid tea, roses, litchis and macadamia nuts. The award winning Summerfields Rose Retreat is an exclusive lodge on the river, which makes it the ideal place to experience barefoot luxury. These are some of the things that drew my interest to this lovely retreat:
- Accommodation in luxuriously appointed, tented suites set beneath a canopy of Jackalberry and Tambotie trees, accessible by raised wooden walkways, each very private and enjoying its own space.
- Beautiful gardens, boasting many of the Summerfields roses, and the macadamia and litchi orchards. I managed to take pictures of some parts of the gardens. Check out the pictures.
- Guest get to have breakfast and lunch at the River Café overlooking the river which is a stone throw away.
- Dinner is served at the organic deli and tea room, with produce from their gardens and carefully selected producers.
- Summerfields prides itself as a renowned wedding venue, where weddings are held in sumptuous gardens or by the river.
- They have various activities on offer such as the popular weekend parkrun.
- They grow roses.
- Our healthy pursuits include walks, a five kilometre jogging track, swimming, a popular cycling area and all within easy reach of the truly wonderful Kruger National Park and other popular venues namely, Pilgrims Rest, God’s Window, Sabie and lots more.
One thing I learned about Summerfields Rose Retreat is that it is a family business owned and run by Andre Van Heerden and his lovely wife, Ilse. Natia, their daughter is the executive chef and she runs the deli and River Cafe. I had a sit down with Natia and asked her to tell us a bit more about Summerfields….
Natia happens to be a petite 22 year old. At first glance, I couldn’t help but ask her “aren’t you too young to be an executive chef?” She looks younger than 20. However, Natia is a poised, humble and grounded young lady that knows what she wants and has the discipline to carry it through.
We sat at the porch of the deli overlooking the beautiful vegetable patches. Her mom is a landscaper and she is the one who is responsible for the garden. One kitchen staff member picked some of the vegetables from the garden to the kitchen.
She got her culinary training in Cape Town and has worked with the likes of Luke Dale Roberts whom she describes as her mentor.
The Van Heerdens are a hard working, close knit family with Andre (Natia’s father) being the organiser, he is very passionate about organising weddings and the overall running of things. Natia’s mother has her passion in gardening and it’s no surprise that they have a rose shop. I happened to get a bouquet of red roses from them on my birthday, which I found to be very sweet. Natia’s twin brother develops macadamia butters which he sells at the Stellenbosch slow market. The macadamia butters are also available at the deli.
Natia is the foodie of the family, and she is responsible for the deli. She also co owns a Macadamia Nut Butter company, Buttanutt, with her twin brother who is currently busy with his engineering studies at Stellenbosch University. She says:
“My passion for food and cooking started when we originally opened Summerfields Kitchen, training as a waitress and watching food being prepared, plated and sent out to hungry patrons.
After graduating from culinary school I worked for three of South Africa’s top chefs; PJ Vadas at The Roundhouse Restaurant, Michael Broughton at Terroir Kleine Zalze, both former Eat Out Top 10 restaurants. And lastly chef Luke Dale-Roberts at The Test Kitchen in Cape Town, currently South Africa’s best restaurant and 61st best in the world according to the San Pellegrino Worlds Best Restaurants.
Summerfields is truly a unique place and has exceptional produce that you can rarely find in local supermarkets. This is my inspiration; being able to walk through the vegetable tunnel, pulling out veg as you go along brainstorming ideas for the day’s menu. I thoroughly believe in ‘fresh is best’, prepping only for the day and starting fresh the next. Simple food with depth of flavor and intricate plating is what I strive for.”
I happened to taste some of the dishes on the Summerfields Deli menu and the food certainly does not disappoint.
Life can be hectic and stressful at times, I found Summerfields to be a perfect getaway and exactly what one needs to unwind and reconnect with yourself and life itself.
Visit their website: http://www.summerfields.co.za/
Check out their Facebook Page: Deli at Summerfields
Check out Buttanutt Mac Butters on this website: www.buttanutt.co.za