Reflecting on the past 18 months at Château des Tesnières

Our New Faerie Tale

Happy New Year!

As we stand at the beginning of the new year and the next phase of our project, we look back at the successes achieved during the past 18 months of our newest and dearest project – the renovation of Château Des Tesnières, our new safe haven and rebirth of Restaurant Mosaic.

In 2021, we packed up our existence in South Africa, including The Orient Hotel and Restaurant Mosaic, and headed towards Europe, glowing bright within us a new vision of finding the next home for Restaurant Mosaic and our family. This vision soon came true as we purchased the most romantic neo-Gothic castle – Château Des Tesnières, in the heart of Brittany, the mystical lands of King Arthur and his knights of the round table.

Many have wondered about the progress of our project here in France and we promise to keep you abreast of the details of this multi-year adventure.

Sustainability & Our Green Footprint

We started by establishing the first steps of sustainability and a green footprint, not only for the future Restaurant Mosaic but also for the management of the whole estate.

Our construction of the waste water purification system was successfully completed at the beginning of 2022 and now produces purified water for our landscaping and irrigation purposes.

At our previous establishment in South Africa, the scenery of the Francolin Conservation Area was a constant source of creative inspiration for my kitchen. The design and intention of the gardens at Château des Tesnières will be no different. True to our philosophy of sustainability and local sourcing (mostly from our own garden) whilst honouring the history and culture of Brittany, one of our first projects was to establish a Triskele Labyrinth planted with more than a thousand fragrant and edible sarococca flowers (which you will know by now will be incorporated into my Botanical Cuisine). Our future Celtic Cross design will be a focal point and harbour our miniature fruit orchid collection – more about this later. We aim to create a seamless transition from the outdoor to indoor experience using the golden thread of historical narrative.

Our website offers a glimpse into the sprawling splendour of the gardens: here

Outreach to our Community

We were welcomed into the community with open arms and hosted our very first dinner at the Château with Mayor Yannick Fouet and his wife as the guests of honour just before we embarked on our extensive renovation.

Soon after we had the honour of a visit from mayor Isabelle Le Callenec of Vitré and a delegation to discuss the future additions to the Château and the establishment of our South African Impressionist Art Museum.

Many of you who read this will remember our extensive art collection exhibited at Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient – we were humbled by the support we received from both the South African and French authorities with the importation of our collection and look forward to the opportunity to once again exhibit the collection at the castle for the enjoyment of all our guests.

Our Wine Cellar

One of our first priorities was the establishment of our new wine cellar to accommodate all of our very special annual allocations, as well as the relocation of a substantial part of our previous wine cellar from Restaurant Mosaic in South Africa, which arrived safely, like a belated Christmas gift, shortly after the new year celebrations.

While in South Africa, our wine cellar was heralded internationally as the best cellar in the world not only by La Liste and the World of Fine Wines but numerous other acclaimed establishments – now a curated selection of the best European wines from these cellars slumbers safely in our new facilities awaiting the revival of Restaurant Mosaic at Château Des Tesnières.

With the plans for phase 2 of our wine cellars on the drawing board we are looking forward to adding our South African First Growth wines to our collection in France before the end of this year.

We will once again continue to offer patrons a bouquet of exceptional wines and pairings from South Africa and across the globe. Our cellar team, which now includes our Restaurant Mosaic Wine Director, Debi van Flymen, (read more here) is already hard at work to once again make our collection world class.

What Lies in Our Future

With our first phase of renovation, starting on the very top floor of the castle, in the middle of last year, now fast approaching completion, we commenced with the exhilarating chapter of interior decoration together with our professional team – architect, Marine Fervel and interior designer, Martine Di Matteo.

With wallpaper sourced from Zuber of Paris, Bradbury & Bradbury of London, and upholstery and hand painted light fittings from Fortuny of Venice, we are understandably extremely excited to complete the renovation and décor of the top floor before the end of this year.

True to our philosophy, we will meticulously and intentionally preserve and amplify the legacy of the historic site in the contexts of the Brittany peninsula.

But more about our exciting journey when we return again to France in Spring when the faerie tale will continue…

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