A visit to Gaël Soupe's paradise on earth.
7 July 2023 is a historic day for ONYA: the day when two people with a passion for quality local produce, Gaël Soupe and Chef Franco, met.
When Franco discovered Gaël’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/gael.soupe, he is thrilled by what he sees and immediately decides to go and see for himself. About ten years ago, Gaël created a pilot farm there, which is a real plant miracle! 1.2 acres of land where he has let nature create its own ecosystem, the richest and most nourishing there is. A botany teacher in France, where he had gone to study, had taught him how nature does things well.
The Food Forest area of his Primitive Lounge is a complex and delicate system with multiple layers: fruit trees, root vegetables, mushrooms, lianas, shrubs, anti-erosion ground cover flowers, humus seeds, leaves and wood, bamboo whose leaves make an excellent natural herbicide, not forgetting the insects that happily reclaim the area and even the bees whose honey Gaël collects!
Another area is home to more sensitive crops such as cocoa. It took Gaël seven years to obtain the first pods, which today stand out on the tree like mouth-watering delicacies.
The good giant Gaël welcomes Franco to his extraordinary garden
Franco happy as a child in Gaël's Paradise!
Franco is like a child filled with wonder! He wanders through the grass, passes under the branches, sniffs the leaves, breaks them, crunches them, lives the moment to the full and already imagines adding them to his cooking or even inventing new combinations of flavours, rediscovering the fruits and vegetables of “lavi lontan” (life in days gone by) , those that the supermarkets have forgotten, or worse! those that modern life and “profitability” forbid to be born!
Gaël produces 58 different fruits and so many vegetables, berries and herbal teas. When he welcomed Chef Franco, he slipped pink, white and small Indian guavas into his hand. He produces five varieties! Walking through his plant paradise, Franco tastes them, skin included, while Gaël names, like a never-ending poem, the marvels of his estate: beef heart, lucuma, letchi, local avocado, masolo, vavangue, redcurrant, corosol, plum, jambrosade, badamier, maradamian, longan, tamarind, red jambosa, Ceylon olive, pink berries, carambola, lemon, bergamot, grapefruit, mandarin, pine fruit, jamblon, Malagasy pistachio, dwarf and giant Cytherean fruit, yellow mangosteen, passion fruit, allspice, cinnamon, around fifteen herbal teas (tulsi, basil, mango and guava leaves to boil in water, citronella, ayapanan etc.) and lemons! These lemons are huge. Gaël picks one and weighs it… 500 grams!
Franco is won over. But who wouldn’t be when faced with so many beauties, so many incredible flavours, so many dazzling colours offered by Gaël ?
In this paradisiac calm driven only by their passion, in the shade of a natural plant canopy, Franco and Gaël discuss how to supply ONYA’s kitchen…
Gourmets and connoisseurs are in for a real treat!