Although my husband and I have been living part-time in Boquete for a couple of years now, I just started hearing about the incredible Jardin Encantado. I received an invitation from a friend to join she and 9 others for Sunday brunch at their gardens and could not wait. Jardin Encantado is located a short distance after turning onto Volcancito Road. This is definitely the hidden jewel of Boquete, Panama. They proudly boast the title Rain Forest Resort & Park.
Claudia Schumann, Owner and Chef, greeted us upon our arrival. She is a delightful German lady. Claudia gave us a cracker/pretzel mix to snack on while we enjoyed afternoon mimosas. Swoon-worthy music played in the background and we all felt relaxed. The gardens surrounding us beckoned for us to explore them. The property is incredibly versatile; guests can tour the property or book it for celebrations (by appointment only). Wine and cocktails are available but must be arranged with Claudia 48 hours in advance.
A Table Fit for a King
Once it was time for brunch to be served, we were shown to the front porch of Jardin Encantado. Here we found the most excellently decorated table that I have ever seen in Panama. I was immediately transfixed; I thought that I was visiting a villa in France. Gorgeous linens and china set the stage for what would be our delectable meal. We gathered around the table, not wanting to mess anything up.
Our first course was Pumpkin Soup (a staple in Boquete), adorned with a dollop of sour cream and crumbled bacon. The flavor was rich and pleasing. Our plated lunch included pork, potato croquettes, and ribbon cut zucchini. The portion size was adequate and the plates were picture perfect. All the while, our waiter filled our glasses with a variety of wines, while the native birds were singing for our supper.
Dessert took us by surprise: it was as beautiful to look at it was to eat. We had Tomato Tree Mousse, served in a hollowed out shell. it is a native Panamanian fruit that is typically very sour. Whipped cream and a slice of homemade cheesecake came with the mousse. What an original idea and creative presentation.
Touring the Gardens at Jardin Encantado
After lunch was complete, we all toured the property. We were privy to see exotic birds, an ocelot (a relative of the puma family), and five tamarin babies. What a joy it was interacting with them! These animals are either abandoned or injured, which is their reason for being here.
Jardin Encantado has a superb collection of trees and flowers. Huge and colorful flowers were dotted throughout the landscape, some were breathtaking. The path we walked on even had animals laid out in stones within the pattern. How unique! Interesting statues and even a tower to climb for a birds eye view were other points of interest. The koi pond was our favorite.
Dining at Jardin Encantado is definitely a top offering in Boquete. I invite you to make connections with Chef Claudia and plan your special event or meal with her. This is an experience that will dazzle your guests as well as your taste buds.