My name is Karen van Heerden. I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, so I guess I can say I am from the South. South Africa is a rainbow nation with strong influences from all parts and cultures of the world. Europe, India, Malaysia and African tribes. My world has always been filled with exotic tastes, fragrances and art. After high school, I lived in the south of France, working as a fine artist while being mesmerized by the lavender fields of Monet, fresh baguettes, and Camembert cheese.
My travels led me to Florence, Italy, where marriage and the birth of my first daughter, Nemi, made me call it home for the next 22 years. I fell in love with the rustic Tuscan soil, the simple and endless beauty of the land, the culture, history, the people and their passion for food, laughter and the simple things in life. My passion for food and wine led me to running two cooking schools near Florence, and hosting many wine tasting events for the Culinary Center of an important wine and olive oil producing farm.
In 2007 I married for a second time. This time to a good Southern boy from North Augusta. That brought me to Lexington, SC, where God blessed us with our beautiful daughter, Bianca.
I was overjoyed when Nemi and her Italian husband, Andrea, decided to join us in Lexington. They are true Tuscans at heart. They have lived and breathed the true Tuscan way, from the hustle and bustle of the city centre of Florence to the tranquillity of the countryside of Montelupo.
We decided to combine our experience and passion and open an authentic Italian Restaurant. It was a dream come true for me.
To have all my children near, being able to work with them in a family business and having my little “cherub,” my first granddaughter, Mia, close to her Nonna, are things that I value dearly.
This is what we strive to share with everyone with the creation of our family restaurant. SAPORI, taste uncorked. Why SAPORI? Sapori means tastes, it is closely connected to the Italian expression, 'da assaporare," which translated means to savor a dish, moment or to experience something special.