Simply there to be enjoyed
This southern part of Norway is known for being unostentatious, so despite being a place visited by royalty, the luxury of Boen is understated. Its comfort is even mirrored in the local dialect’s soft consonants and low tones. There’s no rush. There is time to chat, time for stories, time to sit and listen.
Boen is an ongoing restoration project with 500 years of continuous operations. Because the farm is family owned, they do what they think is genuinely best for the place. Much of the furniture and art are period pieces, but there is nothing museum-like about any of it.
Under the current owners’ stewardship Boen has been restored to feel not trendy, but contemporary. The rooms are all different, not to conform to the idea of a boutique country estate, but because the rooms and everything in them are truly one of a kind. Angles are wonky and the furniture just as likely to be an original as a carefully restored flea market find.
The main house was built in the early 1800s as a place to relax and to entertain. Its dining room and salons are painted in beautiful hues of greenish blue and blueish green. The colours were discovered when layers of paint and wallpaper were peeled back as part of the restoration, as if the original decorators wanted to pay tribute to the fields and the river outside.
This is a place for doing things together, for joining in or simply enjoying the games of others. The flat lawn in front of the house is an invitation to play. You can set up a game of lawn croquet or kubb, or any lawn game where having fun is more important, perhaps, than competing.
Time is an important ingredient in the food served from Tomasz Rochon’s kitchen. 80% of the raw materials are grown organically on the farm, fished from the river, or found grazing on the grounds. The aim is for every dish to be special and for guests to feel like they can have anything they want. And yet, the farm is frugal in the sense of recognizing that everything harvested from the earth is precious. The Boen philosophy is that rather than consume conspicuously, real luxury is found when consuming mindfully.
What is not home grown is sourced very locally and neighbouring producers are all part of the Boen eco-system. Christine comes by with 900 eggs every Thursday, cheese arrives from small scale producer Tjamsland and the pig that becomes breakfast bacon was raised a 3-minute walk from the kitchen. When the apples in the orchard are ripe, everyone at Boen make sure they are picked and made into a most delicious apple juice, tangy when first bottled, but sweeter and sweeter as it matures. In all things, the ambition is to make something plain and simple taste and feel magnificent.
The wine selection, carefully curated by Maitre D’ and sommelier Dagfinn Galdal, tells a similar story. Each bottle is selected for quality rather than show. And there is time for all the stories if you wish. The house champagne, André Clouet Silver, is a small homage to the silver of the ocean, the Atlantic salmon caught right outside the dining room window.
The Atlantic salmon caught right outside the dining room window
Boen and its surroundings invite you to walk slowly, taking in the calm beauty of it all. There are benches rather than chairs outside, to set a more relaxed tone and for sitting together side by side, sharing same view. You will discover an atmosphere where things may move slowly but is nevertheless effortlessly available at the time you want it.
If you want to stretch your legs, take a stroll by the grounds’ flower beds, the herb and vegetable gardens, fruit trees and pastures. Follow the river, or roam further taking one of the many paths into the woods that surround the property. There is nothing that must be done, accomplished, or completed. Go at your own pace, creating precious memories to revisit, in real life or in your imagination, whenever needed.