As strong advocates for eating well, Relais & Châteaux is taking action to preserve the food products that make each region unique. Its chefs and hosts, who have opted to grow fresh and seasonal products naturally in their own vegetable gardens, are committed to taking a stand against the industrialization of agriculture.
Staying true to their values, Relais & Châteaux members have become the stewards of healthy yet delicious cuisine, while acting in respect for nature and biodiversity. Relais & Châteaux thus denounces the harmonization and standardization of seeds and food by agrochemical giant Monsanto/Bayer, and affirms its commitment to sustainable gastronomy.
Acting as ambassadors of the flavours and richness of its terroirs, Relais & Châteaux properties cultivate their products with passion all over the world, from the USA to Europe, Chile, New Zealand and Turkey.
Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee (USA)
The owners of Blackberry Farm have decided to honor the origins of its land. Originally cultivated by the Cherokees and the early Appalachians, this land is now used to produce organic vegetables, honey, fresh eggs and artisanal cheeses, which are then used by the chef in his dishes.
Guests have the opportunity to participate in farm activities to better understand the connection between their hosts and nature, as well as to discover where the food on their plates comes from.
Awasi Atacama, San Pedro de Atacama (Chile)
You may find it hard to believe, but here food grows in the desert! At the Awasi hotel, chef Juan Pablo Mardones showcases local products that are seldom used in Chilean cuisine in order to bring out the flavors. He gathers herbs and seeds from the sand to transform them within flavorful dishes.
As he enjoys explaining, he “borrows from the desert” to create incredible dishes for his guests, to their great amazement.
El Colibri, Santa Cataluna (Argentina)
The pure air of the Sierra mountains and the smells of the country provide an ideal atmosphere for enjoying the daily routine of the Argentinian countryside. Collecting fresh eggs, milking cows, accompanying the gauchos and playing with their two llamas, Dupont and Dupont, are just some of the activities you are invited to take part in.
In each guest room you will find a basket and scissors for gathering fruits and vegetables from the main garden, as well as for cutting some of the colorful flowers that illuminate the planters.
Royal Chundu – Luxury Zambezi Lodges, Livingstone (Zambia)
Upstream from the Victoria Falls, on the banks of the powerful Zambezi River, you will find paradise on earth. Royal Chundu, with its two magnificent lodges in the middle of the bush far from the madding crowd, is the place to enjoy peace and quiet in what remains an untamed corner of the earth.
Here the vegetable garden is more than just a garden. It is a philosophy embodied by the entire property. Sharing, trust and patience are just some of the values it learns from nature and shares with its customers.
Longueville Manor, St. Saviour (UK)
Longueville Manor boasts an exceptional heritage, starting with its 19th century Victorian garden which the owners rescued from abandonment in 1991.
Today its greenhouses are used to produce fruits and vegetables throughout the year. The restaurant’s chef and gardener work together to maximize their yield so that exotic fruits may be grown in the summer, in addition to kale, cabbage and berries.
And of course, everything grown here is used to create the menus served at the restaurant.
Le Châlet de la Forêt, Brussels (Belgium)
Combining the good and beautiful sums up the purpose of the vegetable garden at the Châlet de la Forêt, a renowned Brussels property. Its chef, Pascal Devalkeneer, is behind the creation of an architecturally designed vegetable garden of more than 1,000 square meters in size in which he opted to combine plant varieties and types, giving guests the chance to enjoy the passing seasons during their stay.
Wildflowers, wild grasses and lettuces serve to enhance the chef’s cuisine, in addition to rendering the location undeniably poetic.
Falsled Kro, Millinge (Denmark)
Located on the island of Funen in Denmark, Falsled Kro proudly offers dishes that are made almost exclusively from products grown in its own vegetable garden.
The restaurants serves Nordic dishes inspired by the French experience of its chef Per Hallundbaek. He uses vegetables grown in the property’s garden, fruits from its orchard and meat harvested through partnerships with local producers.
Its smoker, which is used for salmon and bacon served at breakfast, is also a point of pride for the restaurant.
Le Château de Beaulieu, Busnes (France)
Martin Roger, the apprentice of Michelin-starred chef Marc Meurin, is behind the aromatic herbs of Château de Beaulieu. Inspired by permaculture, which promotes sustainable agricultural production with respect for ecosystems, he has developed plots of apple trees, pear trees and rhubarb plants, where celery, chocolate mint, verbena and other plants grow as well.
These herbs are then used by the chef and his apprentice to create new flavors and enhance their dishes.
Domaine des Avenières, Cruseilles (France)
It has already been five years since the owners of the Domaine des Avenières (a chateau located in the heart of the Alps) decided to plant their own organic garden. Étienne, the estate’s gardener, grows vegetables and herbs from the ground as well as within a 300-square meter greenhouse.
A true sign of quality, this organic garden allows Marc Le Roux, the restaurant’s chef, to freely create recipes in tune with the seasons. It is a way for him to pay tribute to the extraordinarily rich culinary heritages of Brittany and Haute-Savoie, two regions of which he is particularly fond.
Mirazur, Menton (France)
Talented chef Mauro Colagreco has made his home at Mirazur, a restaurant housed within a 1930s building that offers a breathtaking view of the sea and mountains.
To create his menus, he draws inspiration from the restaurant’s gardens located downhill. The herb and citrus garden supplies him with fruits and aromatic herbs year-round, while the vegetable garden provides over 40 different varieties of tomatoes, along with radishes, turnips, cabbage and broccoli. The chef is therefore able to stay true to his motto: “When vegetables grow naturally beside each other, this means that they are meant to be together on the plate.”
Monte Carlo Beach, Roquebrune Cap Martin (France)
It was at the initiative of chef Paolo Sari that the Monte Carlo Beach restaurant developed its own vegetable garden and orchard. As the only certified organic and Michelin-starred chef, Paolo Sari wanted particularly to produce his own aromatic herbs and as many fruits and vegetables as possible, which serve as the basis for his cocktails or complement the dishes he serves in the restaurant.
He achieved his goal of turning a hectare of land which had been ravaged by fire into a flourishing vegetable garden. It has since become the largest area of land used for 100% organic farming in Monaco.
Baumanière, Les baux de provence (France)
Baumanière embodies the art de vivre of the Mediterranean: this magical place is frequented by the most well-known personalities from the worlds of culture and politics. The estate was founded by Raymond Thuilier and is considered to be a “historical monument” in fine dining according to Gault & Millau.
Created in 2003, the organic vegetable garden allows the chefs of two gourmet restaurants (l’Oustau de Baumanière and La Cabro d’Or) to stock up on vegetables and herbs that they would otherwise not find in markets. Ecocert*-certified, the garden is carefully maintained by a team of five gardeners. One of Jean-André Charial’s points of pride is a menu of vegetables that come from his garden.
La Torre del Visco, Fuentespalda (Spain)
Surrounded by its own 90-hectare farm, La Torre del Visco produces its own fruit, vegetables and olive oil. Owner Jemma Markham promotes respect for the environment and has opted to comply with the most stringent farming standards in order to produce 100% organic products.
The Mediterranean-inspired menus developed by the restaurant’s chefs feature fresh meats and fish that are always complemented by fruits from the harvests produced on the hotel’s land.
Museum Hotel, Cappadocia (Turkey)
The Museum Hotel has made offering healthy yet delicious dishes one of its top priorities. To accomplish this, it features an organic vegetable garden. Located just steps from the hotel, visitors are invited to walk in it, taste its fruits and vegetables and, most importantly, pick those which they would like to see on their plates.
The hotel also owns an organic farming site which produces fruits and dried fruit, and which is also used to grow the grapes needed for the hotel’s own wines.
Wharekauhau Country Estate, Featherston (New Zealand)
Wharekauhau is a vast beautiful 5,000-acre farmland estate dotted with sheep roaming among the beef cattle breeds.
With a true farm to table philosophy, carrots, potatoes, garlic, beets, pumpkins, zucchini, kumara, green beans, onions are grown in amazingly fertile soil. Pears, plums and crab apples can be discovered in the orchard as well as the lemon tree, which has been producing sweet Meyer lemons for freshly-squeezed lodge lemonade and desserts since the 1960’s. The fresh fruit grown on property is used in-season for daily-designed menus, or carefully preserved for scrumptious breakfasts and winter use.
The wild-growing Manuka flower provides for a number of bee hives on the property and this distinctive honey is proudly added to the menu.
Otahuna Lodge, Canterbury (New Zealand)
The natural heritage of New Zealand flourishes within the gardens of Otahuna Lodge, which has been around for over a century. The vegetable garden of the property, whose national importance has been recognized by the New Zealand Gardens Trust, is home to various species of fruits and vegetables, among which include ancient varieties that the owners have chosen to protect.
Its laying hens, sheep and pigs also help make up the high-quality dishes offered at the restaurant. All this to delight the property’s guests, who may tour the entire estate at their leisure.