The spirit of the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival

The European chef and the island cook sharing their passion

The European chef and the island cook sharing their passion

Bruno Le Gac, our corporate chef and a key mastermind behind the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival,  gives an insight into the history behind the remarkable event, now entering its 7th year.

The Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival takes place in March, and is a major event for everyone at Constance Hotels Experience.

It started 6 years ago with an idea – to honour the legacy of the great chef Bernard Loiseau, and propose something that he would be proud of.

The spirit of the festival

When we first had the idea, we didn’t know what or how we would do it… but we knew that we wanted to create something true, sincere, with spirit. Not just a business event, but a festival with soul.

The European chefs coaching the island cooks for the competition

The European chefs coaching the island cooks for the competition

We wanted it to be an event that would showcase our passion for food and the human values that we cherish.

As I always say, several brains work better than one and the result of this great team work has progressively turned into reality.

The concept for a festival in which we could share our passion and knowledge was born.

Mrs Dominique Loiseau immediately gave us all her support and allowed us to name the event after her late husband.

Chef Patrick Bertron, Loiseau’s protége, has been sensational since day one.

Michelin star chefs join cooks from the Indian Ocean

We wanted to put the spotlight on the people that we never see. The way the festival works is that we put together 6 Michelin star rated European chefs with 6 young cooks from our kitchens.

European chef and island cook prepare for competition day

Feel the tension in the kitchen, competition day is near...

During the festival, they train together for 3 days to create 2 dishes of their own making. Then on the day of the competition, the European chefs are not allowed in the kitchen. In the spirit of Loiseau’s legacy, it’s about sharing, it’s about training and it’s about transmission.

We showcase the best of the produce and culinary wonders of Mauritius and the Indian Ocean. One of the basic rules of the competition is to use local produce and spices as much as possible. I believe that after 6 years we have pretty much seen everything that you could possibly make with fresh heart of palmtree!

What we’ve achieved so far

To date, we’ve managed to create a high profile event that exudes warmth and humanity. Those who were present at the first festival immediately felt that something very special had happened during the week. And the spirit keeps on building up every year…

We wanted this to be an elegant event that represents the image of our hotels. Our partners responded with equal enthusiasm – it’s not every day of the week that you get to drink magnums of Amour de DeutzChampagne…

The festival in 2012

I am extremely proud of Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival, and so are all of the great people who have participated, who shared their time, hard work and passion.

The 2012 edition will be even more intense and fascinating… watch this space for more news of next year’s unmissable festival.

Top 5 extreme sports in the Seychelles

 
Watersports in the Seychelles

Watersports in the Seychelles

The Seychelles is renowned for its tropical beauty and that enticing sense of getting-away-from it all. What this archipelago also offers in spades is extreme sports for thrill seekers and novices alike.

Here’s our top 5 pick of the crop.

1. Surfing

 

Excellent surfing conditions are on offer for beginners right through to those with years of experience. On Praslin, you’ll find beach breaks for all levels at Anse Georgette and Anse Kerlan. Experienced surfers should head to La Farine Reef and Villa Reef for reef breaks.

Surfing in the Seychelles

Heading out to catch a wave

On the largest island of Mahe, there are plenty of potential surfing spots. If you’re looking for a point-break, head to Anse Poules Bleues. There are also many reef breaks. Check out Anse Bourgainville, Anse Gaulette, Misfit Bay and North East Point. Beginners should head to Beau Vallon beach and Carana beach for gentle beach breaks.

For a more complete rundown of surf spots in the Seychelles, wave direction, skill level and frequency visit the great website Wannasurf.

2. Windsurfing

Clear and warm waters make the Seychelles idyllic for windsurfing. If you’re looking for stronger winds, head out there from May-September although it’s possible to windsurf all year round.

Windsurf boards are free to hire at both our beautiful resorts Constance Lémuria and Constance Ephélia.

3. Scuba diving

Scuba diving Seychelles

Amazing underwater world of the Seychelles

The Seychelles is one of the greatest places for diving in the world. Featuring an impressive 6 national marine parks, there’s an abundance of spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Our experts at Constance Ephélia have recommended their top 3 diving sites – Trois Bank, National Marine Park at Cap Ternay and Dredger Wreck.

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

4. Mountain biking

There are a number of paths as well as rough terrain tracks for mountain biking in the Seychelles. While the islands are edged with powdery white sand beaches, the 42 granite islands in the inner area of the archipelago are hilly and rocky. Here, the hills can rise to just under 3000 feet, making for some thrilling mountain biking conditions.

5. Climbing

At Constance Ephélia, we’ve opened a climbing wall for guests of all climbing abilities from 6 years to 60+. The wall offers a beautiful climbing experience with both artificial and natural routes.

Instructors are at hand to teach you the basics or help improve your techniques, depending on your skill level.

Find out more about the climbing wall at Constance Ephélia.

Top 5 natural wonders of the Seychelles

Beach at Constance Lemuria

Beach at Constance Lemuria

One of the most alluring features of the Seychelles as a holiday destination is its geographical isolation.

Perched in the middle of the Indian Ocean, some 1000 miles off the east coast of Africa, this archipelago of 155 islands has managed to maintain its ecological credibility - protecting the rich endemic flora and fauna that its famous for.

Here’s a run-down of our top 5 must-see natural wonders of the Seychelles.

1. The atoll of Aldabra

Giant land tortoise

Giant land tortoise

The Aldabra atoll is situated in the most remote part of the Seychelles. Made up of 4 main islands, it’s here that you’ll find the largest raised coral atoll in the world – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With a pristine coral reef and over 100,000 giant land tortoises, it’s a must-see for anyone interested in ecology. Other wildlife on the islands include frigate birds, giant crabs and the white throated rail, the only flightless bird left in the Indian Ocean.

Find out more from the UNESCO website.

2. Sainte Anne Marine National Park

An easily accessible boat-ride away from Victoria Harbour, this marine park is made up of 6 islands. Being close to Victoria, Ste Anne is well within the tourist trail but still worth a visit.

The marine park offers superb snorkelling conditions in clear waters. Here, you’ll see many of the 900 species of fish found in the Seychelles.

Hawskbill Turtles are another big draw for visitors to these islands.

3. Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island

Coco de Mer

Coco de Mer

Lying in the heart of Praslin Island, Seychelles, is Vallée de Mai  –  a national park, UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the highly revered Coco de Mer seed.

Vallée de Mai is the only place in the world where you’ll find Coco de Mer. Visitors can wander through the national park, beneath giant palm trees. And keep your eyes open for the rare Seychelles Black Parrot. Read our article about the Coco de Mer.

4. Bird Island

Bird Island is situated some 60 miles north of Mahé.  It’s a tiny flat coralline island where over 400,000 pairs of sooty terns breed every year between May – November.

There are viewing platforms where keen ornithologists can enjoy the sight of the terns incubating their eggs and caring for newborn chicks. Other birds found on the island include curlew sandpipers, fairy terns and turnstones.

5. Beaches, beaches, beaches

North Beach at Constance Ephelia

North Beach at Constance Ephelia

Across the Seychelles, you’ll find stunning beaches complete with huge granite boulders, soft white sand and breathtaking views across the calm turquoise waters.

These islands look like paradise on earth, and you’ll feel you’ve been whisked far away from the mêlée and humdrum of daily life.

Find out more about our 2 resorts in the Seychelles:

 

Villa inspiration with Constance Hotels

At Constance Hotels, there’s an enticing choice of villas and suites to choose from.

Water villa at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Water villa at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

We offer overwater villas, junior and senior suites set amidst tropical vegetation or perched on the edge of hilltops, family villas directly on the beach, and sumptuous presidential villas.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide exactly what type of accommodation you want, so here’s a quick run down of the luxurious rooms we offer.

Also, take a look at Constance on Facebook. There are lots of inspiring photos and videos posted by Constance fans.

Honeymoon on a paradise island

Beach villa at Constance Moofushi

Beach villa at Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Your honeymoon is one of the most personal holidays you’ll ever go on.

If you’re looking for a location that’s fit for the job, imagine this: white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and divine suites and villas that seem made for romance.

Whether it’s the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles or Madagascar, each hotel is set amidst a tropical landscape that’s vast enough to offer you a delicious sense of seclusion, combined with the personal service we’re renowned for.

Special honeymoon packages

Beach service at Le Prince Maurice

Beach service at Le Prince Maurice

Our honeymoon packages vary between each resort.

They include excellent savings on the cost of your honeymoon, flowers in your room upon arrival, candles in the bathroom at bedtime, candlelit gourmet dinners and gifts before departure.

Check the Constance Hotels Experience website for details of current special honeymoon offers.

Fun and games

One of the great things about staying in a 5* luxury hotel is you can choose to do as much or as little as you like. There are plenty of activities from watersports and diving, to spa treatments and golf on championship courses. 

And if that all sounds too much like hard work, you can simply lounge by the pool, enjoy the beach service, or hunker down in your suite and take in the view.

Senior water villa at Constance Moofushi

Senior water villa at Moofushi

If you want to know more about what it’s like to stay with Constance, read our post on the essence of the Constance Hotels experience.

Did you go on honeymoon with Constance?

If you went on honeymoon to one of our resorts, we’d love to hear from you.

Send us your tales or post your photos. You can get in contact with us via Twitter, post photos to Facebook or use the comments section below.

VIP treatment – presidential villas at Constance

Presidential villa and beach at Lemuria

Presidential villa and beach at Lemuria

If you’re looking for somewhere truly special to take your clan, our presidential villas are just the ticket.

Nestled away in a quiet corner of our resorts, each unique villa offers total privacy and seclusion.

They’re the deluxe option if you’re looking for grown-up loveliness in a self-contained setting.

Looking out across the Indian Ocean, each villa is set in its own garden with at least one private pool or in the case of the villa at Constance Lémuria, 3 swimming pools situated at different levels.

Beautiful interiors

Princely suite at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Princely suite at Constance Le Prince Maurice

The villas come with several bedrooms or suites, lounge, dining room, outside dining area, kitchen, private terraces, in some cases a gym, and lots of space, space, space.

The interiors are wonderfully luxurious, with huge comfy beds, polished wood or tiled floors, oversized sofas and enormous windows for enjoying unbroken views of the ocean.

Villa masters

Each villa comes with a dedicated villa master to look after you during your stay, making sure your holiday is tailor-made to your desires.

Presidential villas at each resort

Constance Belle Mare Plage

The villa comes with lounge, dining room, kitchen, private pool, large veranda and two villa masters.

Constance Le Prince Maurice

The Princely Suite is made up of 2 junior and 1 senior suite, and comes with 2 pools and 3 private terraces each with a different view across the quiet lagoon. 

Constance Lemuria

This one offers all-out privacy and indulgence, more akin to staying in your own private hotel than a villa within a resort. It comes with 3 suites, an outside jacuzzi, study and dining room. And don’t forget, the 3 swimming pools all leading to a private beach.

Constance Ephelia

Nestled in the hills, the villa comes with breathtaking views across the sea, 3 bedrooms, a gym, private spa, pool and outdoor lounge and dining area.

Constance Halaveli Presidential Villa

Constance Halaveli Presidential Villa

Constance Halaveli

The ultimate in get-away-from-it-all luxury this villa has a larger than-average plunge pool, dining room and private gym.

Read about all our styles of villas in our article Luxe accommodation for the holiday of a lifetime.