Babylonstoren is growing nuts!August 1st, 2019
The alluring smell of freshly roasted almonds and macadamia nuts have lured many farm visitors to our newly established Lekker Room. Here, our love for all things nutty is celebrated daily with a mouthwatering variety of nuts, brittles, rusks and granolas. Whether kept raw, roasted or salted, every mouthful of these nutritious nuggets crunches with flavour. We talk about certain processes involved with growing nuts, below.
If you’ve been to Babylonstoren in springtime, chances are that the beautiful blossoms of our almond trees have stopped you in your tracks. Nonpareil, which gives the largest yield and best quality almonds, is the main cultivar grown on the farm. Widely used and loved around the world, these nuts are prized for their soft shells, naturally sweet and buttery taste as well as versatility. These almonds truly are exceptional and the name Nonpareil – French for “without equal” or “incomparable” – could not be more spot on!
Like any almond tree, Nonpareil is reliant on the crafty work of honeybees and at least one other cultivar for cross-pollination. Our farmers chose Peerless and Ferragnes to grow alongside Nonpareil. When the trees are covered in split-open hulls, exposing the in-shell almonds, we know the time is right for harvesting. Each cultivar is hand-picked and separately roasted to retain its unique taste and distinctive character.
Although we are committed to our tree-to-table approach and want to produce all almonds ourselves, last year’s intense drought has taken its toll on our yields. To keep up with the growing demand for these tasty treats and give our trees time to recover, we bought in some of the best quality almonds.
Our country boasts the largest and most delicious macadamia yields worldwide, so it’s no surprise that this nut is also a favourite in the Lekker Room, Farm Shop and Babel kitchen. These flavourful nuts grow well in the tropical areas of South Africa, together with mangos, avocados and bananas. We have a few trees on the farm, but our climate doesn’t always offer the balmy weather required by these trees. When in bloom, they are covered in sweetly scented hanging flowers, creating a dreamy arbour alongside our greenhouse.
Its contents may be the most decadent and rich, but macadamia has the hardest shell of all nuts. It takes pressure equalling about 136 kg to break open a single shell, making it a tough nut to crack indeed! Our local supply of fresh, raw nuts journey from Mpumalanga to the Franschhoek Valley and into our Lekker Room where they are roasted. Their high oil content gives these nuts their creamy texture and helps to create that perfect golden colour when they hit the oven.
Next time you visit Babylonstoren, do pop in at the Lekker Room for a taste of freshly roasted almonds and macadamias. We offer them raw, roasted, roasted & salted or drenched in honey. Also keep an eye out for our decadent chocolate bars, flavoured with nibs of nuts, that have just arrived in our Farm Shop and online.