In the Hunter Valley two hours north of Sydney, are a couple of luxury Spicers Retreats. Maeve O'Meara has come here in search of delicious food experiences and to meet the people behind them.

21 Jul 2020 - 4:29 PM  UPDATED 1 Feb 2022 - 12:56 PM

To discover more of the Hunter Valley with Spicers Retreats, watch Escape to indulge, Escape among the vines & Escape is delicious.

Myriam Thomas was the restaurant manager at Spicers Vineyards Estate before taking over their kitchen garden in 2020.

She’s delighted with the bees. Since they’ve arrived and started pollinating the kitchen garden flowers, the amount of produce she can offer the chefs has gone through the roof.

Thomas tells Maeve about how her love of gardening began as a child in rural France. She helped out in her parents’ garden, perfectly natural in a place where everyone has their hands in the soil. But it is only in the last few years that she rediscovered this early passion.

Close by the Restaurant Botanica at Spicers Retreats, they explore the 30 raised beds, many ripe for harvesting. Borage flowers for garnishes, native spinach, watercress, garlic, sweet potatoes, rosemary and pomegranate, The freshest garden produce, planned and planted to give them as much choice as possible throughout the seasons.

Thomas decides what to grow along with the seasons and with the chefs. It’s a combination of what they are interested in trying and what they can’t find easily nearby.

You can see her hard work has paid off. The bounty seems endless. The chefs find inspiration in what she grows. The kitchen scraps feed the compost bin, and of course, the guests’ favourite garden pet: Crackles the pig.

Between the plants, the pig and the bees, Thomas couldn’t be happier. 


About Spicers Retreats 

Italian, Modern Australian, French, Thai and other Asian cuisines are just a few of the cooking styles that inspire the mouth-watering dishes created by Spicers’ multi-hatted chefs. And the food is just one of the reasons to visit these incredible retreats.

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