The result of the treasure hunt is going to be revealed to you today, in this same post, so hear the drums roll, focus with all your reader's attention, stop hoovering around the apartment, call back the hounds and plunge into this map showing you where our current vacation is taking place:
This is our first time here in Mauritius, even though I somewhat have the feeling of knowing the place a bit already: when I was little I used to go through the stamp collection we had at home and my favorite stamps represented exotic, colorful birds with funny shapes and beaks. The stamps were from one of those places that seemed unreachable, a faraway retreat with a name that sounded adventurous: Mauritius.
Believe or not, here we are, years later.
No discovery of a new destination should go without the discovery of new tastes, so we started going down the culinary road in Mauritius and happily plunged head first into freshly made juices: pineapple, orange, banana, mango you name it. They are generally served chilled to try and bring your body temperature down, but in the evening or in the reddening sunset sky, they come with the addition of a splash of rhum (we tried the Saint Aubin, spiced) which will then make your head slightly spin, but you will definitely keep smiling by fixing your stare on the magic sky light.
The local dishes are essentially made of fish or shellfish and flavored with spices for what can be an unexpected sweet and sour combination of tastes: think along the lines of curry fish terrine, crab soup, spiced octopus, octobus salad or seabass. Meat is also part of the taste revelation with curry and coconut lamb or honey chicken - again, the combination of spices and sweet flavors with the main component of the dish. As always, what is in your plate reflects the history and environment of the land and this is why Indian influences also have their say, first and foremost with the "caris" - curries - and then with dishes like the chutney of "pomme d'amour" or mango chutney. I left on purpose the "pomme d'amour" in French since it literally means "apple of love", or more flatly, tomato. Isn't the name of this fruit gorgeous? It should be repeated as a mantra ten times a day to fill us with happiness. I will start the routine this very evening, promise.
Ti-poori also comes from India and is a fried pancake - well, this is what comes to my mind as the first association, but really, it is much fluffier than a pancake - that you can garnish with all types of chutneys, aubergine or pumpkin paste before rolling it up and diving ferociously into it; the taste is quite sweet but enlivened by the filling you have chosen.
Deserts are one of my passions when it comes to food so I have been pleased to taste quite a few that have made the evening even sweeter than they already are: napolitaines (sort short pastry cookies, very hard to the first bite but they actually dissolve in your mouth for a very nice effect), exotic fruit mousse (coconut, mango) and possibly the simplest of all and also my favorite, the fruit salads with vanilla syrup enriched with cardamom pods and subtle taste of star anise that looks so pretty, to make things even better when you look down into your plate!
Time to go to dinner! Enjoy...