Shiraz, Viognier, and buchu? Carefully tended vineyards and indigenous edible plants are unlikely neighbours, but both thrive in Solms-Delta’s rocky soil.
It’s the edible side of heritage, which is top priority at Solms-Delta. The lives of the Cape’s first settlers, the Khoi, revolved around some 400 plant species that nourished them and cured their ailments. Most are now under threat of extinction.
When Fyndraai Restaurant opened on the estate, its brief was to pull exclusively from the Cape’s genuine food traditions. Afrikaner boerekos (18th Century Old Cape fare influenced by Dutch, French, German and Slave practices), was mixed with ingredients first used by the Khoi nomads who settled in the Franschhoek valley 2000 years ago. The need to preserve this veldkos was the genesis for the Veldfood Garden.
Fynbos Culinary Gardens
The 2-hectare veldfood garden is a small but productive land parcel that, over the past 320 years, has been used for grazing, fruit production, and most recently, as a dumping ground. It is now planted with edible plants all cultivated for use in Fyndraai’s kitchen.
Behind the Veldfood gardens is a dynamic team of plant and cultural preservationists, including renowned food writer Renata Coetzee, landscaper Hein Joubert and ethno-botanist Alan Sonnenberg. Also involved in the garden’s design and maintenance is a resident team of Solms-Delta gardeners.
The Fynbos Culinary Gardens is part of a greater 15-hectare fynbos/renosterveld park, currently under development. When completed, it will celebrate the many indigenous trees, shrubs and plant species that sustained the Khoi and San peoples, and will be the world’s first fynbos and rynosterveld botanical park.