The idyllic picnic setting is invariably a well-tended lawn under generous trees, where you can spread your blanket and enjoy dappled sunlight and a light breeze. Add to this a basket packed full of fresh, homemade delicacies and you have the makings of a dreamlike experience. Hillcrest’s Camp Orchards has made this vision come to life with its new deli, The Harvest, which offers a few ways to enjoy this glorious setting.
The deli itself has a distinctly French Provencal vibe with charcoal walls, timber and wrought iron tables and chairs, bare bulbs, an installation of terracotta pots on the wall, and weathered furniture that adds a certain je ne sais quoi. The deli’s harvest table groans under the weight of freshly prepared dishes including inventive salads, fish cakes, sourdough focaccias with a range of toppings, and treats like quiches, cheese batons, baguettes, and chocolate brownies — each morsel as delicious as the last. You can select items from the table and fill your plate to settle at one of the tables or take away to enjoy under the towering trees where you can spread a blanket or nab a table.
The Harvest also offers ready-packed picnic baskets (that are actually charming crates), which we decided to try. We were thrilled to find our crate awaiting us full to bursting with such deliciousness as cured meats, chicken-liver parfait, onion jam, chilli feta cheese, sourdough olive batons, cheese batons, marinated olives, aubergine and artichokes, pasteis de nata, and mini chocolate brownies along with a divine cabbage, sesame and green pea salad — the “something fresh and seasonal” promised by the menu. For the kids, you can order a Bento box boasting thinly sliced rolled gypsy ham, cheesy bread sticks and pasteis de nata — ours loved it. As you would expect, the menu changes according to the produce available.
The Harvest also sells fresh produce grown in its own gardens that the kids were fascinated to explore. We also felt quite pleased with ourselves as we could point out the items growing in the ground that we had just seen for sale displayed in baskets piled high in the store. The children loved the space to run around and then convened, delighted, with us on the blanket again as we relaxed and chatted on a beautiful spring day.
The Harvest is a perfect spot for social-distanced socialising, and would make a brilliant venue for a birthday or other celebration, with its fresh air and photogenic setting. All Covid-19 protocols are observed and it’s lovely to be able to enjoy a catch up with friends outdoors. Go — and soon, before it’s as popular as it deserves to be.