Our Tasting Room remains open, but Orangerie is closing for its annual monthly sabbatical in June. So, it’s been yet another trip around the sun with Chef Nicolene.
For our new readership, Orangerie was recently nominated as one of Franschhoek’s go-to culinary destinations. Orangerie is proudly inspired and served by Chef Nicolene, who is one of South Africa’s leading female chefs.
Getaway magazine carved some time to chat about some of Nicolene’s loves and secrets that spur on her passion for fine dining cuisine. We felt it fitting to dip into that conversation and share some of the highlights.
Nicolene shared that her central influence for cooking is inspired by country French cuisine, using traditional recipes and classic techniques with a modern twist to elevate locally sourced, sustainable ingredients. And every dish is true to her word with hearty meals, laced with elegant features that leave you feeling “filled” with satisfaction.
While the menu has a host of choices, it’s often easiest to get the chef’s top selection. It was her signature dish – the a la minute baked Gruyere soufflé with a crisp celery and apple salad that Nicolene awarded her first prize.
What’s better still about Orangerie’s array of selection, is the knowledge that many ingredients for the restaurant are sourced directly from the farm like the harvest of quinces that Orangerie lovingly preserves. These quinces make their way onto the locally sourced Dalewood cheese platter.
As the farm transitions into winter, guests can look forward to the prospect of Orangerie serving wild boar tortellini in a mushroom broth, as well as the old faithful French Onion soup and Sole meunière.
As for a sneak peek into some of her wine favourites; she was asked for three wines on her winter bucket list to try/buy. She included Le Lude 2013 Cuvee Reserve (sold at Le Lude), Kleinood Tamboerskloof Mouvèdre 2021 and Donkiesbaai Hooiwijn 2021.
While Orangerie is still open till the end of May, Nicolene takes an inspirational sabbatical for June to travel and rejuvenate her creative juices for the season ahead. We can’t wait to see what she has in store when she returns.