Tag

africa

Browsing

Reunion Island’s Gastronomy is the result the influences and mixture of Malagasy cuisine, French cuisine, Indian cuisine, African cuisine and Chinese cuisine brought on the island by successive immigrants. It is naturally spicy and relatively invigorating.

Reunion cuisine, more than bicentennial, is the ancestor of fusion cuisine that New Yorkers are proud to have discovered in the 1970s.

Reunion Island Cuisine

When it comes to food, there is nothing more important to the “Réunionnais” than good food to titillate their taste buds. As its population is a mixture of ethnicities borrowed from three continents, the cuisine of the island has a number of dishes combining elements taken from different parts of the world. Reunion has a wide range of culinary traditions.

Typical Reunion Island Dish
Typical Reunion Island Dish

The traditional dish is curry, a little ritual is that the rice is placed at the bottom of the plate, the grains are added on top and lastly the curry. Chutneys and relishes are them served in a separate dish. We can observe the same pattern in the Island of Mauritius probably due to the fact of having common ancestors.

The role of Appetizers

Appetizers play an important role in Reunion Cuisine as part of the meal. It is not only an opportunity to absorb a little bit of punch or rum, but it also opens the appetite to try several snacks. The most traditional are the samosas or “bonbons piments”, “bouchons” and “piments farcis”.

The main course

Always accompanied by rice, the most common dishes are the “carris”, the local version of the Indian curry, “rougail” and stews. The Carri consists of a base of onion, garlic, and spices such as turmeric on which fried fish, meat, eggs and which is then added to tomato sauce. Dishes can also optionally be flavored with ginger and zest of kaffir lime is generally appreciated. Chop suey and other Asian dishes such as pork with pineapple are also very common.

Dishes are usually accompanied by pulses. Reunion Island is famous for the best lentils in the world, namely the lentils of the Cilaos.

The traditional way of preserving meat is the “boucanage” and the cooking is done in cast iron pots. Traditionally, the main course was also prepared in the courtyard in the campfire or in a small outbuilding out of the house called the “cuisine”. They were then consumed on a banana leaf and often eaten with hands.

Rice

In Reunion, the custom is to eat rice for the three meals of the day. Rice is often cooked in the morning. The same rice is then reheated for further use during the day.

Even though, there has been an evolution in the culture of Reunion Island, it is still the case in the majority of households.

Other foods, which is designated by the terms of “carris” and “rougails” accompany rice to enhance the taste. The variety, quantity and quality of these vary according to the habit of families: meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, dried beans (red or white beans, lima beans, small fresh peas, split peas, lentils Cilaos, “ambrevates”, embériques), tamarind, leafy vegetables, and pickles.

The rougails

It supports a variety of meat and fish with rougails because they allow to meet these dishes in an extraordinary way. Please note these accompanying recipes are to be dosed with caution.

"Rougail Saussice" accompanied with rice
“Rougail Saussice” accompanied with rice

The most famous “rougail” of Reunion Island is without contest “rougail saussice”, made with sausage and tomatoes cooked with spices and green chili. It is preferably accompanied by white rice or Zembrocal: rice cooked with turmeric and in which are incorporated red beans or lima beans. 

Apart from the “rougails”, masala is also very famous on the island. One can also opt for a masala of goat or chicken.

Pickles

Pickles are a vegetable based condiments made up of carrot, cabbage, green beans, palm kernel oil, cauliflower, green mangoes, and cucumber. In Reunion, pickles are preserved in an oil sauce and saffron flavored vinegar, crushed garlic, onions, ginger and chilies (z’enchar piment).

 

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as nightshade, Parietaria, Chinese cabbage and, watercress play an important part in the reunionnais cuisine. They’re often cooked as a broth served directly on rice. The most popular broths are made from the leaves of pumpkin or that of chayote.

"Bouillon brèdes chouchou" - Chayote leaf Broth
“Bouillon brèdes chouchou” – Chayote leaf Broth

Spice role

Reunion cuisine uses it in his own way, to enhance the flavor of foods. The most widely used spices are pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, kaffir lime, ginger, turmeric, and saffron. It is clear that to meet the taste of the food, they make abundant use of red pepper, dried or green: the latter being the one that brings the most vitamins. It is not uncommon that this type of cuisine can burn the mouth of one who is not notified.

 

Community disparities

It existed and still exists some community disparities, even if all the Reunionnais share a common lifestyle and culinary techniques. The eating culture varies according to the communities.  Of course, Muslims do not eat pork and the famous “rougail saussice”, but other differences are observed. For example, the “zoreys” consume little pickle or curry spice, unlike the

“Malbar”. The “Zarabes” have a culinary culture closer to that of Mauritius than Reunion island.

 

Festivals

The most common dish during festivals is the “paté créole”, a pie stuffed with pork curry called “godivo”. The crust of the pie is made by mixing flour with lard and turmeric.

Reunion Island: The "pâté créole"
Reunion Island: The “pâté créole”

 

Desserts

The most commonly served desserts are seasonal fruit: mango (many varieties equally succulent), pineapples, litchi and longan in summer, guavas in winter (cool season between May and September).

The rest of the treats you may enjoy eating at any time in small amounts include the “bonbon la rouroute”, “bonbon cravat” or “bonbon miel”, the latter two being fried.

There are also different cakes such as potato cake, “gato ti’son”, pies seasonal fruits, banana fritters, etc.

Map-of-the-Seychelles
Map of the Seychelles

Where is Seychelles?

Have you ever wondered what tasted Africa but one class above? Well, take your map point just an iota below the equator some 1500 km to the southeastern coast of the African continent. Congratulations. You’ve just spotted the Seychelles islands.

The Seychelles islands have the perfect geographic location to shame any other tropical island. Its geographical location makes of this insular state without contest one of the pearls of the Indian Ocean, with one of the most preserved fauna and flora of the whole world.

You may be asking yourself what makes the Seychelles so distinct from the rest of Africa. Well, the answer is everything.

Seychelles Demography

To begin with, with a population of only 90,024 (2014), the Seychelles is demographically the smallest of all the African states.

Out of its 155 islands, the archipelago of 459 square kilometers has about 90% of its population staying on the island of Mahé which is home to the capital city Victoria. La Digue and Praslin accommodate for the rest of the inhabitants.The other remaining islands are uninhabited or declared nature reserve.

The population density of the Seychelles is therefore very small. You will find it astonishing that the vast majority of its soft sandy beaches are almost unfrequented giving the sensation of lost paradise.

Seychelles-Granite-blocks

Seychelles Granite blocksThe islands of the Seychelles are either of granitic or coral origins. As a matter of fact, the Seychelles granitic islands are considered the oldest and hardest granite in the world.

A walk on the beaches will reveal enormous blocks of granite,that when coupled with the azure of the sea and the green of the flora, increase your sensation of ecstasy.

Seychelles history

Tower-Cloc- in-Vicotria--Mahé
Tower Clock in Vicotria- Mahé

Seychelles has the typical historical blueprint as the majority of islands in the Indian Ocean.

Situated on the travel route of merchants of the past European  golden era, Seychelles was a transit point between Africa and Asia. It is of no wonder that Seychelles saw itself first colonised by the French in 1756 when a stone was laid by Captain Nicolas Morphey. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, Louis XV’s Minister of Finance.The British later contested control over the island.

State-House-Victoria-Seychelles
State House Victoria Seychelles

The buildings and infrastructures are perfect vestiges of its past colonial era. The State house and the district tower clock both situated in Victoria are perfect example.

Seychelles Culture

The colonial past can also be traced in Seychelles culture which is a mix of French and African (Creole) influences. Although having French and English as official languages, Seychellois Creole (Kreol), a creole language derived from French and African tongues, is the native language.  English and French are also commonly used. English remains the language of government and commerce.

The Seychellois are beautiful people with the majority of the population being racially mixed which is the same as the surrounding islands of La Réunion, Mauritius, Mayotte and Rodrigues.

Seychellois-boy-carrying-a-coco-fesses
Seychellois boy carrying a coco fesses

Seychellois are well mannered and polite people. They are very warm welcoming to visitors and will without hesitation invite you to share their meal.

Seychelles food

Gastronomy is one of the major aspects of your visit to the Seychelles. If you are a ‘fin’ gourmet, you will find restaurants which will do nothing except arouse your taste buds. You will find whatever type of food you are looking for in the Seychelles- even Chinese food, since the Chinese make up about 1% of the population. Inner Indian Ocean islands have their own type of cuisine which is distinctive from the rest of the African continent. Seychellois cuisine is not to be excluded from the custom.

Seychellois-food

Seychellois foodIts cuisine is a unique mélange of Indian, African and French food. Hot and spicy food is generally preferred. Fish is ubiquitous in the Seychelles kitchen. Freshly caught it is savored grilled, with rice and eggplant or pumpkin puree. Hot pepper sauce, which is part of the Seychelles habits is to be eaten with moderation! Specialities of the Seychelles are the “ladob”, shark chutney, “bourgeoise grille” and the famous “kat-katbanane”. For dessert, enjoy the many tropical fruits.

Seychelles accommodation

The most fascinating fact about the Seychelles is that regardless of nationality of the visitor, no visas are required for entry. This makes the Seychelles a unique travel destination.

Unlike some African countries Seychelles enjoys amazing peace. Peace and tranquility is what every traveler research for their holiday trips. And this is exactly what the Seychelles has to offer to you. Seychelles has the lowest criminality level of Africa. Personal safety is a major factor to take into consideration while planning your holiday. One of the best tips while choosing your holiday destination is to choose the safest place for you and your family.

There is a wide range of hotels you can choose from when planning your trip. From 5 star hotels to villas or guest houses, chose whatever location you prefer. From the slow motion life of Victoria, to time freezed sea coasts and mountain foots. The Seychelles offers you accommodation according to your budget.

Seychelles Islands nature reserves

Seychelles is home to several national parks and nature reserves.

At Mahé, the highlight of the Seychelles archipelago is protected by the Morne Seychellois National Park.

At Praslin National Park, Vallée de Mai is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

National-Park-Coco-De-Mer-.-Praslin-,-Seychelles
National Park- Coco De Mer. Praslin, Seychelles

This site, unique to the Seychelles, has a forest of Coco de Mer, also called coco fesses. The fins of these coconuts shade several rare plants and many birds.

At La Digue, the reserve hosts in a lush tropical vegetation an endemic species of bird called the “red collared widow-bird.”

Several islands are located in the immediate vicinity of Mahé or Praslin. Sainte-Anne and Cerf Island are next to Mahé. Cousin, Cousine and Curieuse are close to Praslin.

In these small islands, nature rules, and marine parks are home to a beautiful underwater world. Silhouette, Bird Island, Denis Island and Fregate are islands near Mahé worth seeing.

These are small paradise where hotels are scarce and the beaches paradisiacal.

Live on these pristine islands of Seychelles giant tortoises. These animals are the endemic emblem of the island. Through your visit, do not try to disturb their routine.

Seychellois-dancing-at-night-fall
Seychellois dancing at night fall

At nightfall, the music of Seychelles launches its rhythms in hotels inviting you to dance in a friendly atmosphere, in these extraordinary islands.

Are you under the spell of a trip to the Seychelles?