Off the beaten track island life on Texel and a culinary feast in one? This is the place to be! On the rugged east side of the island Joram and Valerie have realized their dream: a gastrofarm with 12 lovely rooms, a place where Joram can offer a gastronomic total experience to his guests. Relax and enjoy the tranquil environment, the natural elements and during the lockdown you can taste the culinary ‘take away’ from Joram, which is brought to your room. I can’t wait for the restaurants to open again so, when the weather permits, I can enjoy all those delicacies on their terrace or in the new greenhouse!
Imagine being a brilliant chef who has just made his dreams come true, when all of a sudden a COVID pandemic breaks out. This is exactly what happened to the sympathetic couple Joram and Valerie: they bought a great farm on the east coast of Texel and refurbished it completely so that they could offer their guests an all-encompassing culinary experience. But fortunately, this does not deter them; their ambition and creativity is admirable, as becomes obvious when I visit them – right in the middle of the second lockdown. Wow, this place is amazing. I am more than happy to let you in on this little piece of heaven, it is lovely to unwind here (especially in these restricted times) and to enjoy the tranquil environment, the natural elements and Joram’s culinary ‘take away’, which is delivered right on your doorstep.
The pleasure starts with the journey to Texel. Taking a ferry to my destination always gives me that ultimate holiday feeling. Far away in my own country! This feeling is further enhanced by the fact that Texel is an island; aren’t we lucky to have our stunning Wadden islands! After arriving in Den Burg, we grab ourselves a coffee to go from “Texelse Branding” and continue east. This is Holland as we see it in the paintings of the old Dutch masters; endless green fields with cottages and farms and clouds that constantly change colour. Such a wide perspective! And of course there are the ‘tuunwallen’, the natural borders of packed turf between the different plots that are so typical for Texel.
Far away in my own country!
Shari, Joram and Valerie’s multi-tasking support and anchor, extends us a warm welcome. First, we receive a grand tour of the garden, where we get to meet the birds in residence, after which we head to our room. This Hideaway features only twelve rooms, divided over the farm and the old black tarred barn (formerly used for drying seaweed). The rooms are bright and airy and are nicely decorated. The bed, made from organic materials by my favourite brand COCO-MAT, sleeps wonderfully. ‘Organic’ is a key word here, ‘Op Oost’ is Greenkey certified and sustainability is therefore very important. This Hideaway is perfect for an escape for two, for instance if you’re looking for a digital detox, but if your babysit isn’t available or if you want to give your children that ultimate ‘island experience’, you are more than welcome to bring them!
Organic is a key word!
The environment is rugged and raw, and before you know it you find yourself on the dyke overlooking the Waddenzee and its oyster beds – formerly an important source of income for the inhabitants of this part of the island. You can also catch (and taste!) your own oysters with a guide, be sure to ask for the possibilities! Sometimes, it is also possible to harvest wild plants and seaweed – the basic ingredients for Joram’s cooking – with an expert forager. And be sure to visit Jens, the passionate farmer who supplies Joram with fresh eggs and meat – from farm to table! This is a very authentic part of the island, far away from all the turmoil on the west coast, where all the beautiful beaches and a stunning nature resort called ‘the Slufter’ are located, but also all the major holiday parks.
From farm to table!
I have saved the best for last: Joram’s amazing cooking abilities, which we enjoy in our room that evening. It’s a joy to see how he is able to create the most amazing dishes with local ingredients. Miniscule leaves from local crops, seaweed plucked from behind the seaside dyke, Siberian pineapples from the ‘Slufter’, etc. And to think that I have only tasted the ‘take away’ meal! I can’t wait for the restaurants to open their doors again, so that I will be able to enjoy all these lovely dishes on Joram and Valerie’s terrace in the sunny weather, or their new green house! And when darkness falls over East, a million stars light up the night…..as if it was meant to be!
Texel, The Netherlands