Foraging, Foliage & Franschhoek

Foodie photographer Melissa Delport spent an interesting day with head chef of  Foliage restaurant, Chris Erasmus. She was treated to a morning of foraging with the expert – searching for wild mushrooms to be used in the restaurant’s delicious dishes later in the day. 

We chatted to Chris about foraging, Foliage and Franschhoek …

When was the restaurant opened and what is the story behind it?

Foliage opened 7 July 2014 and my mindset was to have a relaxed, homely feel, inexpensive and the focus on Franschhoek terroir ingredients foraged daily.

What sort of experience do you hope to give diners when they visit?

A casual, warm and friendly ambience, relaxed service and generous portions. Lots of wild ingredients paired with wines from the surrounding vineyards where we pick our ingredients.

Tell us about foraging …

Every day is different, depending on the weather. At the moment we pick a lot of wild greens (ciridella, lamb’s sorrel, 6 different types of wood sorrel, dandelions, chickweed, goosefoot, wild cress, lupine and wild peas). Mushroom season is also in full swing (ceps, poplar boletes, siullus boletes, saffron milk caps, slippery jacks, pine rings and pine boletes); which we work into the menu with slow BBQ beef hump and wood sorrel.

Who is your food inspiration?

A lot of people have played a role in my career: Margot Janse, Alex Atala, Rene Redzipe – to only name three – but mother nature still inspires me every day!

What is your favourite Foliage dish?

Pine and oak BBQ beef hump, ragout of forest mushrooms, potato and Jerusalem artichoke, caper and raisin puree, wood sorrel.

What do you love most about Franschhoek?

The small community mentality – we share, barter and discuss food all the time from chefs, wine makers and farmers!

For the address book:

11 Huguenot Street, Franschhoek. Foliage is open for lunch: (Monday to Saturday 11.30am – 3pm) and dinner (Monday to Friday 7pm – 9pm).