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Snow in the Tropics

piton des neiges

One small piece of land in a vast ocean is the domicile of snow and lava. Piton des Neiges is the highest peak in Reunion Island. At the top, you can see a light dusting of snow, white against the blue sky, contrasting with the surroundings. It is a flourishing area, with a marvelous view of trees and other types of flora.

Snow on a tropical island?

Who would have thought of such a thing?

In fact, the Mascareignes are well-known for the perpetually warm temperature. Reunion Island affords the timely visitor a one of a kind experience. The climb is not hard for a healthy individual, so have fun climbing!

Lava gushes every once in a while in Reunion Island

volcano reunion island

A fiery red carpet stretching a little less than 3 miles away from the actual volcano is one beautiful sight- undeniably nature at its most magnificent.

Piton de la Fournaise is one of the most active volcanoes worldwide at present. It is not the only crater on the island, Piton des Neiges has been dormant since an estimated 20,000 years. As the area is uninhabited, the eruptions cause little to no damage. Even in its period of relative inactivity, it is a sight to behold- a majestic structure which changes every few years when the volcano spits some more lava.

The Towering Mountains of the Tiny Island

maido reunion island

Reunion Island, as many volcanic islands, is densely mountainous. Given the mild climate in the higher altitude regions, it gives a sharp contrast with the sunny and cheery sea. For the contemplative traveler, this is the place to be. There are mountains to climb, maidos to admire, forests to explore, so many new discoveries to be made nestled between rocky ranges.

Reunion Island has mountains that are fantasies come true, it’s comparable to walking into another realm of peace and solitude among nature.

Bourbon Vanilla

bourbon vanilla reunion island

There is an exquisite magic about bourbon vanilla that makes everybody swoon. From patisserie, scented candles to perfume, vanilla finds itself an important ingredient. The slightly heavy sweet smell of vanilla can be one of the most pleasing aroma in existence. So loved it is that the most renowned perfume makers make it practically a must to have at least one vanilla eau de parfum in their range.

For the aficionado, Reunion Island is Heaven 2.0. The island is home to some of the truly impressive bourbon vanilla fields around. It’s worth a visit and you may drive among the fields, enjoy the wafting smell for hours at one end.

 Cirques- no, not the circus kind!

cirques reunion island

Unlike the usual image of colorful and cheery clowns, this isn’t that kind of cirque. In Reunion Island, there are three imposing calderas, also known as a cirque in French. These structures are home to countless plants and animals, big and small- the calderas are shelters to them all.

Places left untainted by heavy modernization, the large volcano-like formations are among the World Heritage of UNESCO. They easily take up 40 % of the island itself. Cirque de Salazie, Mafate and Cilaos are definitely among your must sees in La Reunion.

Signature of the Indian Ocean- Perfect Seas

reunion island beach

Like the many sister islands of Reunion Island, the latter has been blessed with blue seas, white sands and a warm sun shining most of the year. There are areas specifically designated to be safe to swim in.

The waters hide sharp-teethed sharks and it is important to keep within boundaries to prevent mishaps.

On the other hand, this makes Reunion Island perfect for diving with sharks! Are you an adrenaline junkie who has also has an intense love for the sea and its creatures? Then this is the place for you to go next. Not only does it promise to be a mind-blowing experience but it is also a preemptive strike off that future bucket list!

Feel like being pampered yet? Nope? You will, soon.

hotel resort reunion island

From the moment you set foot in the lavish hotel to the very last second, it is highly probable that you will have the time of your lives. Some hotels are older but still very well-maintained with excellent service.

Accompanied with pools, bars, gyms and dance rooms among others, amenities vary from hotel to hotel in Reunion Island. Some are closer to the beaches while others near to the city center. It’s all a guarantee of luxury which will have you wanting more.

Imagine waking up to the view of the turquoise sea or the green cirque with a scrumptious breakfast as well as an impeccable massage as the cherry on top.

 

Time to make a move, L’île de la Réunion awaits you!

 

Vanilla-Beans

If Reunion Island was a pioneer in Vanilla, its origins dates further long ago… Vanilla has indeed been discovered in the early sixteenth century in South America by the Spanish conquerors. The Aztecs mostly used vanilla to flavor cocoa beverages. In the seventeenth century, European imported the vanilla beans and was immediately a success: it was then used to flavor chocolate(which was white then), candy and tobacco.

 

In the eighteenth century, many scientists who grew orchids in greenhouses began to study it. But the cultivation of vanilla still remains a mystery: the vanilla pods that give plants are very rare. To facilitate fruiting, some botanists had the idea to cultivate vanilla in a tropical climate similar to that of his original region in South America. Thus, the first vanilla plants are introduced in the early nineteenth century on Bourbon Island – name of Reunion Island at the time. Therefore vanilla of Reunion Island now bears the “Bourbon vanilla” label.

History

In the early nineteenth century, plants are shipped to Java, and then to Reunion and Mauritius in an attempt to cultivate the precious vanilla but in the absence of natural pollination by an insect Mexican culture has proved impossible on these islands. The first artificial pollination of the vanilla was performed in 1836 at the botanical garden of Liège by Charles Morren, and then in 1837 by the French Neumann, but it is in 1841 that a young slave, Edmond Albius, invented the process still used today. It was in 1848 that saw the development of its culture in Reunion Island (then better known under the name of “Ile Bourbon”)

The contribution of Edmond Albius

 

In the middle of the nineteenth century, scientists discovered that the vanilla needs an outside fertilizing agent, in this case, bees of the Melipona or Euglossines species. At the same time on Bourbon Island,  Ferreol Beaumont Bellier, who cultivates interest in vanilla plants, begin its cultivation in its area of ​​Sainte-Suzanne. In 1841, a young slave, Edmond Albius, orphaned and raised like a son by Mr. Beaumont Bellier who introduced him to botany, is at the origin of the discovery that will revolutionize the cultivation of vanilla.

 

Just lightly press the flower by lifting the movable wall that separates the stamens from the stigma. This discovery will enable the development of the cultivation of vanilla from the island of Reunion, which will be the first world vanilla exporter. The cultivation of vanilla; the fertilization techniques of vanilla flowers; the techniques of drying and fermentation of vanilla beans practiced by the Aztecs, all of these methods were later introduced to other Indian Ocean islands from Bourbon Island: first the Seychelles, then Madagascar and Comoros.

 Modern day Cultivation

With 1,200 tons,  or more than three quarters of the world’s production, the 1930s were the heyday of vanilla from the island of Reunion and that of other Indian Ocean islands, which retain to this day the name of “Vanille Boubon” in memory of its place of origin!

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However, although the island of Reunion was for a time the largest exporter of vanilla beans in the world, today the prize goes to Indonesia, followed by the island of Madagascar and China. The main vanilla consumers are the United States, Europe, Japan and Polynesia. On the island of Reunion culture of vanilla is mainly in the East and Southeast. Harvesting takes place between June and December.

The cultivation of vanilla requires much labor and time to bear fruit, making it the second most expensive spice after saffron. Despite the discovery of artificial vanilla extract, natural vanilla is very popular all over the world. It is used in perfumery and in cooking. The dairy industry is the largest consumer of natural vanilla in the world.

 

Vanilla of Reunion Island today: expertise inspired by tradition

 

Today, the preparation of vanilla from the island of Reunion has hardly changed since the experiments and process optimization by Ernest Loupy and David de Floris.

 

Here are the steps:

 

  • Mortification from scalding,
  • Fermentation, which gives its color to brown vanilla pods, starts during steaming,
  • Drying, sun daily for 2 to 3 weeks at first, then in the shade on racks, which stops the fermentation,
  • Vanilla beans are then grouped into booties same length and stored for 2-3 months in airtight containers. They then acquire their strong aroma concentration

Interesting Facts about Vanilla:

 

  • Its anti-cancer properties come from the polyphenol it contains and which is a very powerful antioxidant. Besides, vanilla essential oil is also known to eliminate free radicals. These affects the cells and tissues of our body such as rust on the metal.
  • This fragrant spice also acts as a sedative and tranquilizer. It also helps to reduce inflammation caused by fever. It is also a natural remedy often used as an alternative to medication for anxiety, stress and depression.
  • This fragrant clove has been used in natural medicine for generations to cure impotency in men. Indeed, it naturally increases testosterone levels and works as well as chocolate, oysters and ginger.
  • By fighting free radicals, antioxidants that are found in vanilla, slow down premature aging of our cells. It is also for its anti-aging that the cosmetic industry adds it to several care products for skin properties.
  • Vanilla tea is a traditional remedy against nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.
  • The vanilla extract is known for its calming and soothing properties. It is also used to fight against sleep disorders when sprayed in the bedroom.
  • Thanks to its antibacterial properties, vanilla helps fight skin problems, including acne and pimples.
  • With its anesthetic effect, the vanilla extract is often used to treat people with sore throats and headaches. The pharmaceutical industry also uses vanilla flavor to mask the bitterness of cough syrup.
  • A vanilla pod contains several vitamins such as niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, thiamine and riboflavin. These vitamins are essential for enzyme synthesis. In addition, they strengthen the nervous system and are involved in the regulation of metabolism.
  • Vanilla is often used in the manufacture of natural remedies to treat wounds, cuts and burns.
  • Thanks to its antioxidant properties, vanilla can be effective to quickly relieve inflammation.

Hébergement île de la Réunion: Tropic Appart’ Hôtel

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