FARM-TO-TABLE IN LIMBURG | RELAIS & CHATEAUX
Limburg may be the most enchanting region of the Netherlands, tucked away in the southern corner of the country. Picturesque with its rolling hills, meandering rivers, and charming historic towns, in addition to its opulent cultural heritage. Besides admiring the jaw-dropping nature, we came to experience the local products in all their glory, with wine & cheese tastings and an exclusive dinner by four regional chefs. And we’re going to tell you all about it.
Food for Change
For the seventh consecutive year, Relais & Châteaux, in partnership with Slow Food, was hosting its ‘Food For Change’ campaign, aimed at safeguarding local biodiversity and promoting sustainable food consumption. This year, the spotlight is on cheeses, wines, and fermented produce. Throughout September and October, the members of Relais & Châteaux in over 65 countries are introducing their guests to an array of local cheeses, wines, and other fermented products. It prioritizes regenerative agriculture, animal welfare, and age-old preservation methods, all while honouring taste and provenance. A mission we can only applaud.
It’s a commitment to quality, sustainability, and the timeless art of enjoying life through exceptional food.
Gastronomique experience with local produce
Last October, Château St. Gerlach orchestrated a remarkable “Food For Change ‘Eight Hands Dinner.'” This exclusive event brought together four distinguished Relais & Châteaux chefs from the Benelux region. Guido Le Bron de Vexela from Château St. Gerlach, Raymond Remmen from L’Auberge – Château Neercanne, Tim Bood from Central Park Voorburg*, and Tim Meuleneire from Restaurant FRANQ* came together to craft a unique four-course dinner. Their culinary creations showcased the art of fermentation, local cheeses, and regional produce. For example, we discovered red chard in our dessert and I remembered seeing this earlier in the vegetable garden. This really is farm-to-table!
The dining experience was paired with sustainably produced wines from the renowned St. Martinus vineyard in Limburg. Notably, this vineyard was recently honoured as the “Best Vineyard Owners of 2023” and “Best Vineyard Owners from 2021 to 2023”, further enhancing the evening’s prestige. It’s an event where gastronomy, sustainability, and excellence converge in a celebration of Limburg’s finest flavours.
Château St. Gerlach – Transcend the ordinary
‘Transcend the ordinary’ is what they say at Château St. Gerlach. And after experiencing a night at this gorgeous estate, we can only agree on this. Château St. Gerlach is located in the breathtaking natural setting of Ingendael, a short drive from Maastricht. It embodies a blend of grandeur and nature. Once a monastery and farmstead, it has been thoughtfully transformed into a sanctuary where history meets contemporary elegance. With its spa & wellness facility (hello Roman-style indoor pool) and two exceptional restaurants, including Les Salons, Château St. Gerlach is an extraordinary retreat. This is where you can immerse yourself in natural beauty and embrace a fine living experience, far from the ordinary.
Local wine & cheese tasting between the vines
In dedication to the Food for Change event earlier this evening, we were invited to a wine and cheese tasting in the St. Martinus vineyard right next door. Château St. Gerlach works closely with local producers and values the use of regional products. And that shows. Not only were these wines served during dinner, but some were even made in collaboration with St. Gerlach and named after the previous owners of the château. And it’s not only St. Gerlach who likes working with local produce, it’s the producers amongst each other too. Figures, because the wines from St. Martinus and the cheeses of Stassen Kaas were so well-balanced together.
Use of local products
The use of local products is well embedded in the St. Gerlach experience. Upon arrival, a small selection of grapes, gooseberries and tomatoes awaited me in my hotel room, alongside a bottle of apple juice from their apple orchard. In addition, I find only local bread, jams, cheeses and more at breakfast the next morning, with a view of the Winter Garden. To emphasize their use of local products, even a part of the honeycomb is used as a honey dispenser at the breakfast buffet.
Château Neercanne – Discover the unexpected
Situated on the Dutch-Belgian border lies the only terraced castle in the Netherlands, Château Neercanne. Before making our way back home, we visited this majestic estate. This historic castle not only exudes a rich legacy but also houses the esteemed Restaurant Château Neercanne, adorned with a Michelin star. The former stables of this castle have been transformed into L’Auberge, rewarded with a Michelin Bib Gourmand. The highest terrace of the historical baroque gardens offers a captivating view of the UNESCO-protected Jeker Valley. The limestone caves beneath the castle present not only an intriguing wine cellar, but also a remarkable backdrop for gatherings, celebrations, and wine tastings. Surely, this is where you want to host your wedding!
While enjoying my cinnamon roll (my sweet addition to my breakfast) at the Winter Garden of Château St. Gerlach, I’m contemplating when to visit again. Even for a Dutchie living 1.5 hours from here, this place feels like a vacation in France.