Two weeks ago I had the absolute privilege of visiting the iconic and very beautiful Hartford House in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and at the top end of the Meander. I had been to a wedding there a few years ago so I knew I was in for a treat. I was also excited to experience the cooking of their head chef Constantijn Hahndiek.
24 hours is not enough time to spend at Hartford House. This beautiful old colonial manor house, which evolved into a hotel, is steeped with luxury and opulence in every corner. You feel so at home with the friendly staff sort of visibly invisible attending to your every need. Located within the very famous Summerhill stud farm, you also get to see the perfect horses roaming around.
I stayed in Siyabonga – meaning ‘thank you’ in Zulu, and it’s one of their newer suites located next to the lake. Decorated with African touches and build from material from the farm, it’s quite beautiful and extremely spacious. Under floor heating, a built in fireplace, flat screen TV and a twin marble baths if you wanted a very romantic scene, it’s no wonder I felt like royalty staying there.
Constantijn took me for a stroll through their vegetable garden at sunset as he picked the final few items to go on our menu that evening which was a spectacular 5-course with paired wine. With carefully sourced ingredients from superb local suppliers, I was very impressed.
This what it looked like:
Brie Brule’, Hartford green figs, fig leaf dressing, oat crumb
Natal Snoek, poached mussels, garden lemon grass, tapioca, artichoke
Oven roast duck, sweet potato, quince, duck crumb
Cannon of lamb, rainbow beets, coffee emulsion
Cammomile, milk and honey dessert
The following morning Constantijn gave me a tour of all areas of the kitchen and spoke about his process in menu planning, which literally changes daily. I love food creatives who are so closely connected to their ingredients and constantly evolve. I’ll be keeping a close eye on where this young chef goes. He is definitely someone to keep an eye out for.
I landed up visiting one of his suppliers – The Gourmet Greek later that day and I will tell you all about my time there in a later post.
As I drove out of the splendid gates of Hartford House I was immediately hoping I would return again. It’s the kind of place that does that to you. It stays with you.Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.
Hartford House is an award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.
*I was invited as a guest of Hartford House
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