Relais & Châteaux Spotlight - Garden to Gourmet

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Charles McDiarmid
By Charles McDiarmid, Owner & Maître de Maison
Newsletters29 September 2023


Since inception, our ethos has been to nurture strong roots within our community while offering guests an incredible dining experience that features fresh, sustainably-minded local fare.

The Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild (TUCG) is a non-profit organization connecting Vancouver Island food producers, fishers, and foragers with local businesses. The Pointe Restaurant, a TUCG founding member, continues to foster these relationships. One of these partnerships is with Naas, an Indigenous-owned seafood supplier that ensures fresh, sustainable seafood arrives in eco-friendly totes at The Pointe’s kitchen, including hand-harvested kelp from Clayoquot Sound. From India to Argentina, Relais & Châteaux members across the globe are embracing this garden-to-gourmet approach.

Castello del Sole Beach Resort & Spa | Ascona, Switzerland

Castello del Sole
Castello del Sole Beach Resort & Spa

Terreni alla Maggia, a sprawling 370-acre farm and vineyard nestled within the picturesque Lake Maggiore estate of Castello del Sole, is renowned for its bountiful farm-to-table offerings. The property boasts an impressive collection of 30 tomato varieties, along with an array of teas, fruits, vegetables, and an assortment of grains for the production of pasta and polenta. At Castello del Sole's own Locanda Barbarossa, guests embark on a culinary adventure with Chef Mattias Roock's "Sapori del nostro Orto" menu, which artfully connects diners to the estate's garden and local producers. Among the menu's highlights is the legendary risotto, a dish that eloquently encapsulates the enchanting flavours of this remarkable locale.

The Uza Terrace Beach Club Villas | Okinawa, Japan

Uza Terrace Beach
The Uza Terrace Beach Club Villas

Uza's Our Farm is dedicated to growing diverse seasonal produce with sustainability front of mind, including tropical fruits, herbs, vegetables, and wheat. The farm embraces a focus on natural agricultural techniques, including companion planting to reduce disease and enhance biodiversity, all with minimal use of chemical fertilizer. Bordering the East China Sea, the farm supplies wheat for Uza's craft beer and bread production, and medicinal plants for the luxurious spa treatments offered on premise. Chef Masatomo transforms the abundant dragon fruit, bananas, and vegetables into smoothies, cocktails, and many more delights to be discovered.

SUJÁN Sher Bagh and SUJÁN The Serai | India

SUJÁN Sher Bagh

Deep within the Thar desert beyond Jaisalmer, where temperatures often soar to a sweltering 50°C, The Serai's farm takes centre stage in providing all the verdant offerings featured on the camp's menu. Here, indigenous Tharparkar cattle are raised, phoombi (desert mushrooms) grow on the property, and the lush farm produce is cultivated with ash and manure as the sole fertilizers. Meanwhile, at Sher Bagh, situated near Ranthambhore National Park to the east, an organic garden produces an array of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices - of particular note is the mint, eggplant, and ginger, which the camp consumes a kilo of every day!

El Colibri | Santa Catalina Argentina

El Colibri | Santa Catalina Argentina

This charming estancia tucked away below the Sierras de Córdoba features an organic herb and vegetable garden that yields summer tomatoes, spring artichokes, and autumn pumpkins. Adjacent to the estate, an eco-certified hacienda raises Aberdeen Angus cattle. Guests can experience milking Marguerite the cow, whose milk is used for a delightful dulce de leche, and join in the harvest of El Colibri's produce. These farm-to-table experiences inspire Chef Léo Bramajo's acclaimed menus, which features asado with 12 different meats, voted the best in Argentina.

Il Borro | San Giustino Valdarno, Italy

Il Borro | San Giustino Valdarno, Italy

With historical roots tracing back to Roman times, Il Borro has undergone a remarkable transformation into a sustainable organic estate and vineyard. The estate's three-hectare vegetable garden now embraces biodynamic principles, where crop rotation plays a pivotal role in regenerating the soil and dry pruning is synchronized with the lunar cycles. Cow and green manure sourced from their Chianina cattle help fertilize the grounds, and pests are managed using nettle infusions. The estate also cares for 30 beehives, ensuring healthy plant pollination. The result is an abundant supply of exceptionally fresh seasonal vegetables and the revival of traditional crops such as small Tuscan tomatoes and ancient grains, including gluten-free buckwheat, ingredients which guests will find incorporated into the fresh, inspired menu at Osteria del Borro.

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