I am in heaven. Well, my version of heaven anyway.

I have my friend Jo to thank for introducing me to Babylonstoren when it was merely a concept in the eye of Karen Roos, former editor of Elle Deco, South Africa. Now it is a much lauded luxury hotel on a working farm. At the centre of it all is a vast garden made primarily of edible plants and it is from here that you can pick your own larder, or watch the chefs do their shopping.

Shopping for produce

The veg section

Ocado delivery!

Shop window

In fact, the premise was to restore this wonderful old farm site and it was only later on that rooms, restaurants, and the spa was added. And what rooms they are. In fact, my room was more stand alone cottage with stunning kitchen, trendy design and the most indulgent of bathrooms. I could easily live here permanently.

My 'room'!

The living room

My kitchen! complete with Dualit toaster, Smeg oven and Nespresso machine

You can't beat a bath like that

Sadly this does not come cheap so there is no chance of my moving here in this lifetime. Pricey it may be, but generous too, in so many ways. It’s the staff who give you the most of all. They are outstandingly friendly, passionate, helpful and knowledgable. This is the ultimate in service with seamless assistance from the moment you are welcomed in the car park through to the time when your luggage is returned to the car for departure.

The lovely ladies who delivered my dinner platter were in awe of my skype conversation with Mum. They genuinely couldn’t believe that I was both seeing and talking to a lady in Leeds, UK. I’m not sure if I was more touched by my Mum asking them to look after me, or them waving like lunatics to my Mum!

Then there was the beautiful box of freshly picked produce left in my kitchen, along with 2 bottles of local award winning wine. I was able to create a positive feast for dinner with the veg, the platter’s pesto and some added chard I picked in the garden.

Freshly picked today

Dinner is served

Their restaurant, Babel, was built in the original cow shed which explains the theming. The menu is the ultimate in seasonal food as it is totally dependent on what is ready to eat in the garden that day. Sadly some of the fruit and veg needs more time to really develop it’s taste so fruit salads were colourful but lacking in flavour. But I am sure this will happen as the garden matures. In the meantime, they make good use of what is there for a choice of red, yellow or green salads and juices as part of the core menu.

Menu: written directly onto the white tiled wall

Babel restaurant with open kitchen at one end and menu wall at the other

The recently opened tea room at the other end of the vast garden has a more casual menu with pretty trays of breads served with your choice of toppings, preserves and drinks for you to mix and match. Casual eating at its best. Once again, it is a lesson in design and visual merchandising creating a peaceful space to loiter.

Tearoom inside

Tearoom outdoor space adjacent to the garden

Trays of treats

Loving the alliums

The beauty of this set up is that you can really find your own way of interacting with it. Kids just love the fact they can pick their own and they are big fans of the plethora of animals on site: donkeys, turkeys, geese, chicken, tortoise and many different birds. And adults can do as little or as much as they want…as well as partake in the daily garden tour for top tips and wine tours with the Babylonstoren wine maker.

Morning duties: feeding the donkeys

The cockerel rules this roos

The lovely Karen and her yummy bread

Cutting fresh herbs for the bread

Surprisingly, my personal favourite was getting up at 5am to join baker, Karen, who let me loose on the day’s bread production.

Magic bakers hands

My first attempt at Karen's bread

She has a relaxed and passionate approach, combining obvious bread making skills with a clever palette to make fresh fruit and herb breads as well as unique traditional recipes, all of which are optimised by the kitchen team throughout the day.

Karen will also be heading up the new cheese, wine and charcuterie rooms, opening in February, and I am sure they will be perfectly complemented by the range of home-made preserves and chutneys on offer in the reception shop.

So what can I conclude from my time here? It is simply the best example of the farm-to-fork concept that I know. Where Daylesford is elite and aloof, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns is cutting edge and forging the future of veg production, Babylonstoren is real, approachable and stylish.

Above all, the gardens on this stunning site are the heart and soul of the whole experience. They are physically and spiritually beautiful and this emanates through your stay. From a food point of view, it excites me about the opportunity. These guys are exploring new varieties, new tastes and new food combinations. So watch this space.

New varieties intersperse with old to create some exciting opportunities

I am sure that with the evolution of their offer, they will become the very centre of the new evolving food community that is on this side of the winelands and will give Franschhoek a run for its money.