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Renéessance & The Larder

A fabulous restaurant and "working" deli in Napier. With a slow bread-making process that takes two days, it’s no wonder this deli’s slogan is “we experience bread everyday”. The restaurant menu changes weekly and the deli specialises in bread, cheese and wine.

Napier, Western Cape


Phone +27-(0)28-423-3724    Email renee@jdwines.co.za

The larder that brings bread to life... slowly

A big tub of gooey dough confronted us as we entered The Larder in Napier. Gerda gently coaxed a section of dough into a ball and pinched it off before deftly massaging it into a ciabatta-shaped loaf, and leaving it to rise. She had ‘started’ the dough the day before – using less yeast means a longer developing process but the bread also lasts much longer than your average loaf. Next, she produced a flat base of dough that would be filled with fresh organic cherry tomatoes and sweet roasted vegetables before being rolled up, sliced and reassembled into a colourful spiral loaf – The Larder’s speciality. It’s no wonder this deli’s slogan is “we experience bread everyday".

Keeping it simple is key

The Larder is a ‘working deli’ and the sister operation of neighbouring Renéessance restaurant. Owner Renée Daneel says the idea was to create a deli that was more than just a shop, but rather a food experience – hence the slowed down process of bread-making. Doing the basics well is what The Larder is about, and you’ll find on offer a wonderful selection of wine, bread and cheese, with a bit of cured meats and great preserves on the side.

While developing the concept, Renée looked to history for inspiration. Back in 12th and 13th century Europe, she says, when people travelled by horseback they would fill their leather saddle bags with cider or wine and bread and cheese - that was all they needed. And so, she decided, that was all her deli needed. This is especially fitting as The Larder, and husband Jean Daneel’s wine tasting room next door, are set in a converted old stable building.

Local abundance

Renée fell instantly in love with food preparation in her early twenties when she met Judy Badenhorst (ex-River Café) at Buitenverwachting in Cape Town, where Jean was making wine at the time. Judy became her mentor and she picked up the necessary skills in no time at all. At Renéessance they run a blackboard menu which changes weekly depending on what can be sourced. When they first arrived in Napier seven years ago, the local selection was limited but in the last few years things have rapidly improved. Now people are literally knocking at Renée’s door daily with organically grown, freshly picked goods from the local gardens and farms. She enthusiastically accepts all sorts of produce and creates delightful goodies out of them – the week we visited it was homemade peppadews and gorgeous fig preserve.

Renée is also lucky to have the abundant organic and heirloom focussed farm The Drift just down the road to add to the selection. Not much on the menu is premade and it’s all as fresh as can be – from the tomato tartlet with camembert and fresh basil to the famous (and Renée’s favourite) chickpea rissoles, and even the lasagne; it’s all done fresh for each order. To keep it interesting, she regularly teams up with Jean and his wines and they host food and wine pairing evenings which are extremely popular.

For the love of food

She loves trying new things and reproducing great meals she experiences with her own flair. “I am not a fine dining cook. I love the rustic nature of true Mediterranean food. The peppers, the garlic, the olives, the feta, the breads – for me it works. And it works in South Africa”. And it certainly works for us too.

(see pictures on next tab)

Benefits

  • Freshly made meals at Reneessance using as much locally grown, freshly picked produce as available, often organic.
  • Bread made daily using a slower process that keeps fresher for longer.
  • Food and wine pairing.
  • Food experience concept at deli.

 


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