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Hillside villa at Constance Ephelia Resort, Seychelles

Hillside villa at Constance Ephelia

The Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards celebrate the world’s top hotels, destinations and travel companies as chosen by those who know them best – you.

As discerning travellers, this is your chance to nominate your favourite hotels, spas, travel websites, tour operators and more. All you have to do is visit the Condé Nast Traveller website and complete a short questionnaire before 13 April 2012.

Many of you are valued guests of Constance Hotels Experience, and we hope you will take a few moments to vote for your favourite Constance hotel.

The awards will be announced in September on the Condé Nast Traveller website and in the October issue of their magazine.

Recipe: Fillet of red snapper roasted in a coconut chatini crust

Prepare this delicious fish dish using the coconut chatini recipe we posted last week, and serve with a warm dhal salad with spinach and tamarind vinaigrette.

Fillet of red snapper

Fillet of red snapper

Serves 4
Preparation time:
30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Soaking time for tamarind: 1 hour

For the fish:

  • 4 fillets of red snapper (also known as bourgeois fish)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 240g coconut chatini
  • salt and pepper

For the warm dhal salad with spinach:

  • 200g lentils/split peas
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1/4 dried red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 50g fresh coconut flesh
  • 100g fresh spinach leaves
  • salt and pepper

For the tamarind sauce:

  • 500g tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 small stick cinnamon
  • sugar

Finishing touch:

  • 3 1/2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 tbsp tamarind sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Make the tamarind sauce: in a bowl, pour lukewarm water over the tamarind paste and let it soak for 2 hours.
2. Crush the tamarind with your hand to remove seeds, then sieve it into a dish and weigh the resulting juice. Measure the same weight in sugar. Pour tamarind juice and sugar into a saucepan, add fennel seeds, star anise, dried chillies and cinnamon stick. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring and checking often so that the mixture does not scorch. Rub this sauce through a fine sieve and set aside.
3. Prepare the dhal and spinach salad: peel onion and garlic. Chop them. Shred the dried chilli. In a saucepan, fry the onion in the oil for 1 minute without colouring, add garlic, ginger, chilli, lentils and turmeric. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add 1 litre water. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. The lentils should be slightly crunchy. Drain and let cool.
4. Finely dice the coconut flesh. Tear off the central rib from the spinach leaves. Fry the lentils in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, add spinach and coconut. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
6. Season the fish fillets with salt and fry them in oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove them from the pan, spread coconut chatini on top of each fillet and bake fish for 10 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, pour off the oil from the pan and replace it with the white wine. Reduce by half on a high heat, then remove from heat. Add 3 1/2 tablespoons of the reserved tamarind sauce, lemon juice and olive oil. Correct seasoning.
8. Put the warm dhal salad in a serving dish, top with the fish and pour some sauce around the salad.

Don’t miss our other recipes

We publish a recipe every Friday. Don’t miss other favourites from the Constance kitchens in our culinary section.

Meeru – The Barefoot Grill at Constance Halaveli Resort

In the first of our series on the restaurants that make the Constance culinary experience so special, we lift the lid on the beautiful Meeru Barefoot Grill at Constance Halaveli, Maldives.

Meeru beach bbq at Constance Halaveli Resort

Meeru beach bbq

Situated right on the beach, Meeru is a casual al fresco BBQ restaurant. With just 10 tables set for 2 people at each, this is an intimate spot where you can kick off your shoes, feel the sand between your toes and dine by tiki torchlight.

Our house specialities

Specialities here are the finest quality cuts of Australian meat and fresh seafood cooked to your liking. Other signature dishes include our special homemade chilli tomato jam and the Meeru salsa. We also serve the best garlic bread in the Indian Ocean, made on a baby baguette with homemade garlic butter and a blend of 3 cheeses.

The menu is displayed on boards, where guests get to tick the items they want to build their own dish.

Weekly specials

Prepared under the masterful eye of Executive Chef Glen Cooper, Meeru weekly specials include:

Tandoor oven at Constance Halaveli

Tandoor oven at Halaveli

The Halaveli Tandoor

Built by our engineering department, the Halaveli tandoor oven is the first of its kind in the Indian Ocean. This cooking method preserves the flavour of the ingredients and ensures a perfect texture – crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside.

Charcoal BBQ

Choose from a wide selection of top quality Australian meat including ostrich, lamb, Wagyu beef, Black Angus, venison, corn fed chicken, and for the more adventurous there’s kangaroo and crocodile.

Lobster night

Lobster and fresh whole fish are brought to Halaveli by local fisherman on a traditional Maldivian boat, the dhoni, just 1 hour before dinner service begins. Pick your own lobster and our chef will prepare it to your liking.

Wine list

Our sommelier Cedric Jacob oversees a wine list that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the wine world. Constance Halaveli houses one of the largest stocked wine collections in the Maldives, which we are continuously expanding to include some of most exclusive and obscure vineyards in the world. On the menu you’ll find our wine collection totalling 18,000 bottles of wine from 920 different varieties, housed in our 2 cellars at the Jahaz and Jing restaurants.

A-Z of our Constance culinary spirit

Bruno Le Gac, our Corporate Executive Chef, reveals his A-Z of the Constance culinary spirit.

Fresh lobster at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina
Fresh lobster at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina

A: Artists

Our pastry chefs are artists. Passionate about their job, they invest a lot of time in searching for inspiration, developing their skills and techniques. They regularly participate in competitions and regularly bring back medals to their resort. In Constance Lémuria Resort of Praslin, everyone knows Chef Seedheeyan (he welcomes you on the buffet in the morning). Next time you go there, ask him to show you his pictures… and look at his smile.

In Mauritius, our chefs are already working on the next ‘fête du pain’, featuring art pieces made entirely of bread dough. I can’t wait to see what our bakers will create.

B: Bernardaud

Fantastic ‘porcelaine deLimoges’. Bernardaud is always creating new innovative lines, reinventing the shapes and design of the perfect plate, bowl or cup. Chefs normally get their inspiration from a product. Sometimes, the starting point is a plate and the question the chef asks himself is ‘what am I going to create on this beautiful plate?’. I see Bernardaud as true partners of our creativity.

C: Curry

Mauritius is a land of curry, and so are the Seychelles and Maldives. They are all very varied, and every chef, every house, every family probably has a different recipe.

At Constance Belle Mare Plage, we grind the spices ourselves using a traditional method. We crush the ingredient on a slab of lava stone, using a roll also made of stone (the baba cari). It’s definitely worth trying – the texture is so much better.

Dragonfruit

Dragonfruit

D: Dragonfruit

Dragonfruit may not be the tastiest fruit but have you ever seen anything more beautiful? The purple ones are a natural work of art. Inspired by a trip to Mexico, I like to splash its delicate flesh with a bit of lime juice, and sprinkle it with salt. It’s so refreshing.

E: Executive chef

Executive chef is a very difficult – but fantastic – job. An executive chef is not only a good chef. He must be a complete manager, and master of many different talents, skills and techniques. The executive chef is the boss of the kitchens and with teams of more than 100 people in some of our resorts, he must also be a great inspiring leader.

This March during the Festival Culinaire Bernard Loiseau, all our executive chefs will be in Mauritius for a week of fun, exchange, sharing and learning from each other. They will propose an amazing 14 hands dinner at Deer Hunter restaurant that is not to be missed.

F: Fish

At our island resorts, our guests naturally expect plenty of great quality fish. We take a lot of care in choosing our products, and there is a wide variety of fish dishes available in all our resorts. Look for fresh yellowfin tuna tartar at Constance Moofushi Resort, Maldives, baked whole bourgeois fish in Creole spices at Constance Ephelia Resort, Seychelles, home-cured sailfish marinated with olive oil and served with crispy fresh palmtree at Constance Belle Mare Plage.

G: Giraffe

Any idea what a ‘giraffe’ is?

It’s a common name in kitchens for a very large mixer, used to blend large quantities of soup, liquid etc… It takes its name from the shape of its rod, long and curved like the neck of a giraffe. At Constance Hotels Experience, we do not use giraffes. We prefer to prepare smaller quantities at a time, keep it fresh and blended with smaller yet more versatile hand mixers.

H: Hobart, Tasmania

I am very proud to announce that our culinary team at Constance Belle Mare Plage will be representing Mauritius in the great final of the Black Box competition organized by MLA (meat and livestock Australia) in Hobart at the end of May 2012.

They have qualified during the national final, and will have the honour to compete against more than 20 national teams from all over the world.

I: International

Our team is very international. I’ve lost count of how many nationalities are working in our kitchens, bars and restaurants. Here are just a few I can remember: Mauritian, Seychellois, Maldivian, Malagasi, French, New Zealander, Australian,  German, South African, Moroccan, Indian, Sri Lankan, Filipino, Burmese, Chinese, Kenyan, Bangladeshi, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai, Nepalese…

Jing restaurant, Constance Halaveli Resort, Maldives
Jing restaurant

J: Jing

Jing is our ‘Asian chic’ fine dining restaurant at Constance Halaveli Resort, Maldives. At Jing, you can also dine on high chairs that face the kitchen, which allows you to follow all the action in the show kitchen. The chef can design a bespoke menu that is prepared in front of you. One thing that cannot be missed: chef Glen Cooper’s chocolate fondant with Thai green curry ice cream. It’s unique.

K: Kids are welcome

Once in a while I enjoy spending a weekend or holiday at a nice resort with the family. It’s amazing to say but sadly I don’t feel that my kids are always welcome. They are not particularly loud or obnoxious, but one can tell from the attitude of the staff that they are dreaming of a planet with no children. Sounds familiar?

At Constance Hotels Experience we love kids – and they love us too. Our program ‘mini chefs’ features a tour of the kitchen full of fun and discoveries, kiddy cooking lessons and so much more. Running on the beach is allowed and so is having fun.

L: Lychees

In Mauritius, during the season of lychees (the best ones are in December/January) you can see large piles of them for sale along the side of the road. Lychees are picked ripe from the tree, and they literally explode with juice and flavour when you crack the skin open. It’s an experience not to be missed, a delicious gift of the gods and they are so good, they don’t need anything else.

Staff at Constance Le Prince Maurice

First class service at Constance hotels

M: Men

Men… and women. At Constance Hotels Experience we believe that our most precious capital is the men and women working together towards the ultimate guests’ experience. Some of our staff have been in the company for more than 25 years. At Constance Belle Mare Plage, Maitre D’ Christian Poché has seen 3 generations of fans of our hotels. We are now serving the grandchildren who will for sure come in a few years with their own children.

In our resorts, our guests are not a room number, they are part of the family.

N: Network

Chef’s World is a very small world. At Constance Hotels Experience we entertain a very close network with some of the best professionals in the world. Many are friends, some are guests. Most of them are both.

It’s great to be so remote from the real world and remain connected at the same time. The internet is the best friend of an island chef, and so is the professional press. But nothing compares to a few days of holiday touring the best restaurants of Singapore, seeing the freshest products in the summer markets ofFrance, sampling the latest creations of our favourite producers.

At the present moment, Chef Michael Scioli from Constance Le Prince Maurice is following the famous Omnivore culinary festival in Paris, while our head sommelier Jerome Fauré is touring the best vineyards of Burgundy. We never stop.

O: Octopus

In the Seychelles, we like to prepare octopus in a fresh salad with thinly sliced onions, strips of tomato, preserved lemon, grated ginger, chunks of cucumber, chopped coriander and flat parsley, and of course a touch of chilli. Lemon juice, a dash of extra virgin olive oil (preferably the ‘robust’ from Dandaragan Estate in Australia) and lots of pleasure. A chilled Seybrew (Seychellois local beer) and the breathtaking views of Port Launay marine park just in front. This could be my own definition of paradise…

P: Patrick Bertron

Patrick Bertron has been working with the great Bernard Loiseau for more than 20 years, and he took over the kitchen when his master disappeared. He has now developed his own cuisine, still respecting the bases taught by the famous chef, and is now the sole holder of his three Michelin stars. Every year, during Festival Culinaire Bernard Loiseau, he shares his knowledge, wisdom and talent with us.

We share many values as well as mutual respect. Constance Hotels Experience is very proud to know Patrick Bertron and to have built such a strong relationship together.

Sashimi at Constance Hotels Experience

Luxury food with the finest attention to detail

Q: Quality

Quality is an obsession for us. This is a word we pronounce several times a day. In the kitchen, it all starts with quality produce. The rest follows naturally.

R: Ribs

In our restaurant Adam & Eve at Constance Ephelia Resort, Seychelles, we like to prepare delicious pork spare ribs, heavily basted in our secret marinade, and served with grilled fresh pineapple from the hills of Mahé. Spare ribs should of course be eaten with your hands. The restaurant is very casual, sand flooring, tropical music… the perfect place to indulge.

S: Salvino

Chef Salvino Crivellari is a fantastic chef and a great friend. He is what we call a ‘freelance’ chef, and one of the best specialists I know of the classical, traditional Italian food. He helps us every year in our different units to perform training and share his talents and fabulous taste with us.

Our Italian guests regularly come to us with a smile and say: ‘I know this food was prepared by an Italian chef’. Thank you Salvino for being part of the Constance family.

T: Tequila

At Constance Halaveli Resort, Maldives, we are crazy about tequila. The idea most people have about tequila is very different from the extraordinary range and variety of flavours, aromatic complexity and richness that can be found in the best tequilas. Just drop by the main bar at Halaveli and let our bartender surprise you.

U: U’luwka vodka

This famous extra super premium vodka is available in all our bars at Constance Halaveli Resort. You can also order a smaller bottle through our In Villa Dining service, and enjoy your favourite drink in your villa, while watching the sun go down.

V: Vanilla

Every time I go to Madagascar, I always make sure that I stop at Nosy Bé market to buy fresh vanilla. There are plenty of people selling this fantastic product there but there is only one lady who always has the best quality available. It’s such a pleasure to pick up a fat, utterly fragrant and extra glossy bunch of fresh vanilla beans and smell it, touch it, feel it. Each bunch weights 1 kilo. It’s a privilege that few people get the chance to enjoy.

W: Wow

One of my favourite words, it says so much in just 3 letters. When our chefs find the perfect recipe and I try the dish for the first time, I always feel emotion. When I am ‘wowed’ I always make sure that every member of the team knows about it. A chef, a cook, a sommelier, a waiter’s utmost pleasure is to see the guest surprised and delighted. It’s the best reward you can get in this job.

X: Xocoatl

The ancient name for chocolate in the Aztec language. We are absolute fans of chocolate. With Easter coming soon, it’s a great occasion for our pastry chefs to showcase their talent and creativity. At Blue Penny Café, with their coffee, guests are presented a chocolate menu featuring the best creations by Chef Thierry. The chocolates are presented in a lovely lacquered box, just like jewels.

Y: Yes

At Constance Hotels Experience, we don’t like to say no to the special requests of our guests. A specific diet? Allergic to one or more ingredient? You don’t like the garnish and want something else? You are craving something that is not on our menus? Our chefs will meet you personally and find the solution. Holidays should be a pleasure so just relax, and we take care of the rest.

Z: Zébu

In Madagascar, zébus are all over the place. At Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar, Chef Claude Raherivelo likes to prepare its delicious flesh in 2 different ways – raw in a carpaccio, just sprinkled with chopped fresh herbs and marinated oil, and grilled in mignons to be served with a compote of onions with mustard and voatsiperifery pepper.

Top 5 reasons to go to the Seychelles this Easter

With Easter only a month away, here are our top 5 reasons to head to the Seychelles this April.

Constance Lemuria Resort, Seychelles

Constance Lemuria Resort, Seychelles

1. Weather

April is one of the best months of the year to visit the Seychelles, when the rainy season winds down, temperatures average 29°C and there’s plenty of warm sunshine and a calm breeze. Perfect for enjoying the Seychelles’ breathtaking beaches and the warm water of the Indian Ocean.

2. Diving

The Seychelles is one of the greatest places for diving in the world. Diving conditions are superb at this time of year, with the water temperature reaching up to 29°C and visibility often 30 metres or more.

Featuring an impressive 6 national marine parks, there’s an abundance of spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Find out more about the top 3 diving sites in the Seychelles, and watch a video of diving in the Seychelles.

3. Seychelles Arts Festival

This month long festival attracts visitors from across the islands. It’s a lively and vibrant celebration of the arts with performances, exhibitions, forums, workshops and a huge range of other activities for all the family. Local and international artists showcase their work.

Find out more about the Seychelles Arts Festival.

4. Fishing

The best time of year for deep sea fishing in the Seychelles is April-October. The Seychelles is known for its excellent fishing potential, where you can expect to catch tuna, barracuda, wahoo, sailfish and marlin.

5. Easter celebrations

Throughout the Easter week there are a number of local processions, festivities and religious ceremonies. At Constance, we offer Easter fun activities for our younger visitors and special menus at our fabulous restaurants.

Recipe: Coconut chatini

Delicious coconut chatini, perfect for serving with fish.

Coconut palm

Coconut palm

Serves 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10  minutes

  • 500g fresh coconut flesh, brown skin scraped off
  • 5 fresh corinader sprigs
  • 2 fresh green chillies
  • 80g tamarind pulp
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • salt

1. Finely dice the coconut flesh and bake it at 180ºC for 10 minutes to dry it a little.
2. In a blender or food processor, place the coconut, mint leaves, coriander leaves, tamarind pulp and oil. Blend to a paste, add lemon juice and some salt, mix well. Correct seasoning.

The chatini will keep for 5 days in the fridge.

Next week, we’ll post a fabulous fish recipe incorporating this coconut chatini.