Head sommelier at Constance Lémuria explores the Syrah grape

With his passion for grapes and wine head sommelier at Constance Lémuria, Cédric Jacob shares his knowledge of the Syrah grape and gives his tips for how to enjoy the wine in the heat of the tropics.

Enjoying wine in the Seychelles

Enjoying wine in the Seychelles

The Syrah grape

With its creation of dark full-bodied red wines, the Syrah grape charms with its dark fruit flavours ranging from sweet blueberry to savoury black olive. Tasting a Syrah wine is like receiving a punch of flavour that tapers off to leave a subtle, spicy, peppery aftertaste.

Syrah tends to give its distinctive kick on the front palate and so it’s often blended with grapes that offer more to the mid-palate. In France, Syrah is traditionally blended with Grenache or Mourvèdre to create the classic Côte du Rhône blend. Some producers also blend it with Cabernet Sauvignon to create a more complete, rounded taste.

My Old World Syrah recommendation

Côte Rôtie, ‘Blonde du Seigneur’, Domaine Georges Vernay, 2011 – France, Rhône Valley

In what has traditionally been a very male dominated industry, Christine Vernay (daughter of Georges) has put her stamp on the French winegrowing industry with this wine. She and her husband Paul Ansellem run this tiny 12ha winery (mostly focusing on Condrieu but with 2.5ha of Côte Rôtie) with fantastic flare.

The cuvee ‘Blonde du Seigneur’ is a Syrah-based wine blended with a small amount of Viognier. The wine presents a fine acidity on the palate as well as lots of blackberries and raspberry flavours, forest fruit and liquorice. It is like a Provencal Garrigue with its subtle peppery notes. Deep in colour this medium to full-bodied wine shows a richness and terrific personality.

Constance Lémuria

Constance Lémuria

Drinking this wine in the Seychelles

Due to the high temperature and humidity I recommend drinking this at 14-16ºC and letting it reach that temperature slowly. It is better to serve this wine directly from the bottle to avoid losing the fresh acidity that contributes to its elegance.

My New World Syrah recommendation

Mullineux, Syrah, 2011 – South Africa, Swartland

I discovered this fantastic wine about 2 years ago on a trip to South Africa. Chris and Andrea Mullineux are at the forefront of the ‘Swartland Revolution’, adopting a minimalist approach to their wines with a particular focus on expressing the terroir, translating the granite and schist soils of Swartland.

This superb Syrah presents notes of black pepper, dark juicy cherries and a hint of smoke. This full-bodied wine offers a silky texture with delicate melted tannins. I am impressed by its long fresh finish with a kick of black pepper.

How to drink this wine in the Seychelles

Again, I suggest drinking this Syrah at around 14-16ºC and letting it reach that temperature slowly. A soft decanting is necessary but done very slowly to avoid losing the freshness of the wine.

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What to pack for a luxury beach holiday

Planning a luxury escape to a far-flung beach this year? Here’s our pick of the top beach chic recommendations from style gurus Net-a-porter and Vogue.

A luxury beach holiday at Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

A luxury beach holiday at Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

Net-a-porter

Spring/Summer trends 2014

Bang on trend for spring/summer 2014 are exotic prints inspired by far off places and used in light, flowing kaftans, maxi dresses and tunics. Etro looked East for its wrapping designs while Valentino and Chloé use the colours and patterns of Morocco. Perfect beach and day wear for exotic locations.

Net–a–porter highlighted Maiyet’s silk-chiffon batik maxi dress as embodying the trend.

Poolside chic

In a roundup of poolside chic, Net-a-porter have chosen bold prints in light materials such as Dolce & Gabbana’s printed silk-chiffon tunic.

Meeting the current trend for wedge sandals is Kenzo’s palm tree-print leather version.

Serious swimmers and water sports enthusiasts can mix this year’s monochrome style with streamline practicality in the cut-out swimsuit from Adidas by Stella McCartney.

While those who’s priority is sunbathing and glamour will love the vibrant colours and patterns of Mara Hoffman’s Ganesh printed bikini.

Poolside chic

Poolside chic

Vogue

In it’s run down of trends for Spring/Summer 2014, the fashion magazine Vogue also highlighted the tribal influences in the ranges of many of the designers.

Other trends to look out for this season include logo and slogan emblazoned summer t-shirts, floral patterns, lots of exposed midriffs and a new wave of old school athletic wear. Monochrome is back but colour lovers shouldn’t despair as there are still many glorious colours on offer in rainbow hues.

This month’s beach must-haves

As the weather heats up Vogue is already preparing for summer with a list of the best ‘Ugly-Pretty Sandals’ which it describes as this ‘summer’s must-have shoe’.

The magazine also highlights the Beach Flamingo bikini in its March ‘We Want This…’ collection. The bikini merges sporty and boho with a tasselled patterned top and sporty bottoms.

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2 ways to cook fish in the Seychelles

Chef Aviraj Pareeague from Constance Lémuria shares his knowledge of fish and how to cook them Seychellois style.

Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

The Seychelles archipelago of 115 islands spreads over 1,200km, including large areas of national marine parks. Plentiful in the clear waters of our beautiful lagoons, fish is one of the main staples of Seychellois cuisine and features on everyone’s table almost every day.

Bourgeois (the most popular), Jobfish, Carangue, Vieille rouge, Vieille grise, Gueule longue, Bécune, Parrot fish, Madame berry, Maero, Kakatwa, Bonite… are found every day at the local markets or at stalls along the roads, caught and sold by local fishermen. The call of a conch shell announces a fresh catch and locals hurry to buy the fresh fish.

At Constance Lémuria, we have the freedom to create a selection of delectable dishes. But most of the time, thanks to the excellent quality of the product, a fish perfectly cooked, either steamed or grilled, with a Creole sauce, a side and some fresh vegetables, is just perfect.

Here is one of our Parrot fish recipes from the Beach Bar & Grill restaurant located on the beautiful Petite Anse Kerlan.

Recipe: Pan seared Parrot fish with local spices, breadfruit mash, banana curry, Chayote comfit and light curry sauce

Ingredients (Serves 2)

Breadfruit mash:

  • 400g breadfruit
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 2g curry powder
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the breadfruit and cut it into big chunks. Place it in an oven tray, cover with chicken stock, curry leaves, curry powder, salt and pepper and seal tight with aluminum foil.

Bake for 25 to 30 min at 180ºC (or till soft). Mash the breadfruit with butter and chicken stock (as needed to obtain a soft mash). Season to taste and set aside.

Fish in the Seychelles: Bourgeois

The vibrant Bourgeois

Banana curry:

  • 400g of banana St Jacques
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 30g chopped onions
  • 10g chopped garlic
  • 10g of chopped ginger
  • 4g turmeric
  • 4g curry powder
  • 20g of diced peeled tomatoes
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Blanch the banana St Jacques with their skins in boiling water for 30 min or till soft.

Cool down, remove the skin and grate the flesh. Set aside.

Sautée garlic, ginger and onion in butter till light brown then add curry leaves, turmeric, curry powder and mix together.

Add the grated banana to the pan and mix together well. Finally add the tomato. Season to taste.

Chayote confit:

  • 200g chayote
  • 6g aniseed
  • 6g sugar
  • 5g butter

Peel the chayote and slice it very thin (1mm). Comfit in a pan using the butter, sugar and aniseed for 5-6 min on a low heat. Set aside.

Light curry sauce:

  • 200ml fish stock
  • 30g chopped garlic
  • 20g chopped ginger
  • 20g of chopped onion
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 5g curry powder
  • 4g turmeric
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sautée in a pan the onion, garlic and ginger till light brown.

Add the curry powder, turmeric, curry leaves and mix well.

Add the fish stock and reduce by half. Now add the coconut milk powder and bring to the boil.

Blend the sauce. Pass it through sieve, montee with butter, season to taste.

Fish in the Seychelles

Fish in the Seychelles

For decoration:

  • 1 banana St Jacques
  • Sliced coconut
  • 10 curry leaves

Slice the banana longwise to a thickness of 1mm and deep fry in oil at 170ºC, then dry on paper towel.

Dry out the thin slices of coconut in an oven at 140ºC.

Deep fry the curry leaves in hot oil and dry on paper towel.

For presentation:

  • Sear the Parrot fish in oil and butter on both side and then finish the cooking in a hot oven
  • Heat the breadfruit mash and banana curry and place nicely in the bowl
  • Decorate with banana chips, dry coconut slice and deep fried curry leaves and lemon.
  • Place the sauce in a dip bowl

Recipe II: Fish Carpaccio

We couldn’t resist giving you this delicious carpaccio recipe… quick, healthy and delicious.

Ingredients (serves 10)

  • 3kg fish
  • 500g mixed salad
  • 50g chopped shallots
  • 500g carrots
  • 500g turnips
  • 500g oranges
  • 500g lime
  • Handful of parsley
  • 200ml Olive oil
  • Salt and white pepper powder to taste

Make your citrus dressing using orange and lime juice reduction, then whisk it with olive oil and add some mustard seed. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the fish in thin slices, place it flat on the plate then add sea salt, white pepper powder and chopped shallots, then add your dressing and petit crouton.

On top you can add your mixed salad together with your carrots, chopped in a julienne style, with olive oil and vinaigrette.

Visit our website for more information on Constance Lémuria.

 

Top 3 markets in Mauritius

There’s no better way to immerse yourself in local Mauritian life than to visit one of the island’s bustling market places.

Markets in Mauritius: Port Louis Market

Markets in Mauritius: Port Louis Market

Here’s our guide to three of the best.

Port Louis Market

This vibrant daily market at the heart of the Mauritian capital gives a fascinating insight into the life of the city and its people. Stalls selling freshly picked fruits and vegetables sit alongside stalls of fragrant herbs and spices. There’s a meat and fish section where sellers fillet and slice before your eyes. For souvenirs there are stalls selling local traditional crafts, as well as t-shirts and other mementos. Make sure you save time at the end to visit the food hall and sample some authentic (and delicious) Mauritian street food.

Flacq Market

Set in the village of Flacq, close to Belle Mare, Flacq Market is the largest open-air market in Mauritius. Catering for locals and tourists who are looking for something authentic, you’ll find beautifully fresh produce from across the island, giving the market its unique Mauritian charm.

Rose Hill Market

Rose Hill is the second largest town on Mauritius and is a treat for shoppers with its shopping arcades, boutiques and food stalls. The market here is more of a bazaar, selling everything from fruit and vegetables to arts and crafts and electronics.

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Top wines to try at Constance Halaveli

With his passion for wine, our head sommelier at Constance Halaveli, Florian David, shares his 3 top tips for what to drink in the warm sunshine of the Maldives.

Sampling fine wines on the beach with Florian

Sampling fine wines on the beach with Florian

Florian says:

1. Match the rosy glow of the sun sinking into the Indian Ocean and put a touch of sparkle into your sunset aperitif with a delicate glass of Champagne Deutz Brut Rosé.

2. Refresh your palate after a long luxurious day in the sun with the surprising Sequillo White 2011 from Eben Sadie in Swartland, the most dynamic region of South Africa. This is a wine full of flavours but always sharp.

3. Match the warm, spicy flavours of Maldivian cuisine with the elegant fruitiness of an amazing Condrieu “Terrasses de l’Empire” 2008 du domaine Georges Vernay from the Rhone Valley in France.

Tour the wine cellar at Halaveli

And don’t forget, our wine cellar is full of treasures for you to discover. Our sommelier team is always on hand to introduce you to wonderful new wines and help you to find the perfect food to pair them with.

Hope to see you here soon,

Florian David.

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5 natural wonders of the Seychelles

The Seychelles, an archipelago of granite and coral islands, reefs and atolls, is blessed with a sublime tropical climate, and a rich and unique biodiversity.

The Seychelles

The Seychelles

With two UNESCO World Heritage sites, six marine national parks and countless areas of outstanding natural beauty it could be argued that the entire archipelago is a natural wonder.

Here is our list of 5 natural wonders of the Seychelles

1. Atoll of Aldabra

Top of any list of natural wonders of the Seychelles must come this collection of stunning coral islands set around a shallow lagoon and surrounded by a rich, vibrant reef. One of the largest atolls in the world, its location in a remote area of the Seychelles has meant that it has remained largely untouched, a fact now protected by its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a rich, largely endemic, biodiversity and the highest population of giant tortoises in the world.

2. Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve

The second UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Seychelles is the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin. Once believed to be the original Garden of Eden, this primeval palm forest is the home to many rare, endemic palms including the famous coco de mer. Wildlife includes the endemic black parrot, Seychelles kestrel, sunbird, Seychelles house snake, green and bronze geckos and six species of caecilian.

Port Launay National Marine Park

Port Launay National Marine Park

3. Grand Anse, La Digue

There are so many beautiful beaches in the Seychelles that it is difficult to pick any one out above the others. Grand Anse, on La Digue (a short boat ride from Praslin) does, however, epitomise what visitors are looking for when they come to a Seychellois beach. With its perfect white, powder sand, softly shaded granite boulders and clear, shallow waters it looks as if an artist has created a vision of a perfect beach and brought it to life. La Digue itself has many beautiful and rare species including the paradise flycatcher or ‘veuve’, swiftlets and sea turtles.

4. Port Launay National Marine Park

This stunning reef and natural seascape is the only marine park in the Seychelles accessible by both land and sea. Including 8 stunning beaches on the island of Mahé, the park offers fabulous snorkelling opportunities as well as the chance to spot whale sharks as they pass through the waters attracted by the rich plankton which accumulates here. Constance Ephelia overlooks the marine park.

5. Aride Island Nature Reserve

Home to one million breeding seabirds across 10 species, including the endemic magpie robins, fodies, brush warblers and blue pigeon, Aride Island is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Protected from human influence since 1973, Aride is the largest nature reserve of the granitic Seychelles islands and the only natural home of Wright’s Gardenia. It also has a rich population of reptiles and nesting turtles.

Where to stay in the Seychelles