Top young sommelier of France 2011 – the Duval-Leroy Trophy

Ten candidates hoping to win the award of best young sommelier of France have made it through to the semi-finals of the Duval-Leroy Trophy.

Wine glass

Best young sommelier of France - Duval Leroy Trophy 2011

Among the semi-finalists is Yann Hangouet, currently our sommelier at the Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius.

The previous winner of the biennial competition was Jonathan Bauer Monneret. At the time of being awarded the title in 2009, Jonathan was sommelier at Constance Belle Mare Plage in the Blue Penny Café.

Earlier this month, some 100 candidates met across different areas of France to take part in this year’s competition.

Yann Hangouet will be hoping to win the prestigious title when he joins the other semi finalists at Vertus in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France on 27 and 28 November for the finals.

Customer review: Can't wait to go back for golf!

Legends golf course at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Legends golf course at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Forgive our pride, but a recent holidaymaker (Angelfish64) visiting the Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius just wrote us such a lovely review on Trip Advisor, we couldn’t help but share it with you.

As they were particularly enamoured with the golf on our Links and Legend golf courses, you might also like to read our other golfing blog articles.

Anyway, on to Angelfish64 and her holiday review from her  stay:

What a service!

“We were really impressed by the warm welcome we received at Belle Mare Plage, Hotel and Spa. We travelled there primarily for the golfing, which was excellent. The junior suite was very modern and well laid out with a balcony overlooking one of the many pools. The hotel is on a grand scale and we found the buffet-style catering suited our teenage son who is normally a fussy eater and allowed us to actually relax.

“As there was a chef on duty at each of the “themed counters”, it was a joy to find our son trying out guinea-fowl from the rotisserie and actually going back for seconds! He also loved watching the chef make his spaghetti carbonara for him, as a result it was a very relaxing holiday for me so well done Belle Mare Plage from a very thankful Mum!”

You can read the full review and others like it on the Trip Advisor website.

Holiday inspiration: the wildlife of Mauritius

Constance Le Prince Maurice Resort, Mauritius

Constance Le Prince Maurice Resort, Mauritius

The tropical island of Mauritius, located around 900km east of Madagascar, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and rare plant and animal life in the world.

Formed by a series of volcanic eruptions 8-10 million years ago, Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands along with Reunion and Rodrigues.

Divided into nine districts, the capital of which is Port Louis in the north, the island is typically tropical around the coast, giving way to forests and mountains further inland.

Temperatures on the island can reach up to 31C during the summer months (December-March), lowering to 21C during the winter (June-September).

Conservation in Mauritius

Most famous for being the home of the now extinct dodo, Mauritius has a high level of wildlife not found in any other part of the world, but due to human activity much of its beautiful plant and animal life, much like the dodo, is dying out.

The beautiful Mauritian Pink Pigeon is a conservation success story

The beautiful Mauritian Pink Pigeon is a conservation success story

The Mauritius kestrel, Mauritius parakeet and pink pigeon (right), all indigenous to the island, have been close to extinction in the past, but thanks to several dedicated conservation areas, numbers have increased.

The island’s main conservation area, the Black River Gorges National Park in the south west, is where visitors will find the most diverse range of flora and fauna endemic to Mauritius.

Acres of protected rainforest are the home to all the island’s indigenous birds, as well as the Mauritian flying fox.

Native plants and flowers

Most of the island’s 670 native species of flowering plants can also be found at Black River Gorges, although the Mauritian national flower, Trochetia Boutoniana, or Boucle d’Oreille, can only be found on the slopes of Le Morne Brabant.

The orange-red bell-like flower grows from June to October and produces a nectar thought to attract geckos. The plant itself can reach up to 3m tall and is relatively rare.

 

A beautiful Takamaka tree

A beautiful Takamaka tree

Other native plants include the Mauritius ebony tree, takamaka tree and various palms, although several introduced plants such as the Chinese guava and frangipani can also be found on the island.

Spectacular coral reefs surround the island, offering a diverse and colourful array of marine life.

A resident pod of dolphins inhabit the area off the coast of Flic en Flac in the west, offering visitors a chance to swim with the friendly creatures, while regular boat excursions and snorkeling and diving trips offer the chance to get up close and personal with other marine life such as turtles, clown ‘Nemo’ fish and even sharks for the more daring visitor.

The turquoise ocean is also home to a raft of other popular fish including tuna, barracuda and lobsters.

For those without sea legs the white Mauritian beaches plays host to a number of beautiful shells washed up from the shores.

About Constance Hotels Experience

Constance Hotels Experience offers luxury holiday experiences in Mauritius, the Maldives, Madagascar and the Seychelles. See our hotel links on the right for more information.

Picture credit: to see more shots like our main featured image, the Tortoise, please see Joachim Mueller’s photostream on Flickr.

What amateur golfers can learn from the Masters 2011

Legends Championship Golf Course, Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Legends Championship Golf Course, Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

After the excitement, twists and turns of last week’s Golf Masters 2011 and our award for best golf course worldwide, we spoke to our resident professional, Sebastian Pilot, Golf Manager at the Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius.

As the man in charge of not one but two 18 hole championship golf courses, he feels that if you’re going to watch one golf tournament all year, the Masters is the one not to miss.

While the Constance Belle Mare Plage doesn’t do anything specific to mark the Masters each year, Sebastian watched avidly at home. At the start, Mickelson was Sebastian’s favorite to win, but Jason Day’s performance was a pleasant surprise to him as the tournament progressed as he feels he was a worthy runner up.

While our Golf Manager felt Tiger Woods did a great job and is definitely coming back to form after recent times in this year’s Masters, he was very sad for Rory McIlroy because he played so well throughout the competition, he really felt he ought to win.

Other stand out golfers in the tournament for Sebastian were Adam Scott and of course, the eventual winner of the Masters 2011, Charl Swartzel.

So what does Sebastian think any budding or amateur golfers can learn from this year’s tournament?

“Amateurs will learn that it is a mental game,” he laughs “and that nothing is done before the last hole of the tournament.”

See also our article on what makes a good golf course.

If you are planning a luxury golf holiday in the Seychelles, our 18 hole course at Constance Lemuria is the only one in the island country.

Customer Reviews: the team were absolutely wonderful

Our guests give us a lot of feedback about our hotels, resorts and the luxury experience we offer. We thought it would be a good idea to share this feedback with you if you’re planning a special trip:

The hotel is located on the best part of the island

constance belle mare plage hotel

Luxury beach holiday: the best part of the island

“The hotel is located on the best part of the island (in our opinion – after driving around the island for a day we concluded that we were definitely on the best location).”

Read this review of the Constance Belle Mare Plage Hotel on Trip Advisor website.

I treated myself to a massage while I was there

Massage Luxury Spa, Constance Belle Mare Plage

Treat yourself to a massage

I also treated myself to a massage while I was there. There are actually two different spas – the hotel’s own one, and the Shiseido one which I tried – but I’m sure they’d both be lovely. Just depends on which treatment you fancy.

Read this review of the Constance Belle Mare Plage Hotel on Trip Advisor website.

The wedding co-ordinator and team were absolutely wonderful

“We chose this hotel after a lot of searching to get married in. The wedding coordinator and team were absolutely wonderful, you could not fault them. Special mention to the photographer they appointed, he was excellent. We had a minor problem with the time of the wedding and as a gift they gave us a night in private villa with butler service.”

Read this review of the Constance Belle Mare Plage Hotel on Trip Advisor website.

You have a pool and a bar on your doorstep

Constance ephilia Resort Seychelles pool view

Luxury poolside apartments

“I’d go for one near the Adam and Eve restaurant, thereby you have a pool and bar on your doorstep and a nice alternative for an evening meal too!”

Read this review of the Constance Ephelia Resort on Trip Advisor website.

It is certainly their fine dining restaurant… the food and service was top notch

fine dining at Belle Mare Plage Hotel Resort - Constance Hotels

Fine dining restaurants and excellent food!

“The Blue Penny cafe is actually far from being a cafe! It is certainly their fine dining restaurant – not cheap, but food and service was top notch. We treated ourselves to one meal here – however, look out for theme nights as they are excellent value. They only seat 40, so get in quick for those – they are snapped up!”

Read this review of the Constance Belle Mare Plage Hotel on Trip Advisor website.

Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival winners are crowned!

Winning Starter

The winning starter!

As you know from our previous daily updates, last week saw the Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius host the 6th annual Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival.

And now it’s time to find out which talented chefs won the overall competition.

The winners of the 6th Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival - Serge and Harrish

The winners of the 6th Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival - Serge and Harrish

And the winner is…

Serge Vieira, the Michelin-starred chef of the “Serge Vieira” restaurant in Chaudes- Aigues, France, alongside his competition partner, the Chef de Partie at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mr Harrish Mungur.

The delicious winning menu was composed of a heart of palm starter with tuna, hot mango, lemon grass sauce and grilled peanuts. The main course, Bourgeois, was cooked at low temperature then lacquered alongside crispy lime, cannelloni of Mauritian chards and ripe banana with preserved lemon.

Worthy second place winners

Worthy second place winners

Second place went to Xabi Ibarboure from ‘La Table des Frères Ibarboure’ in France and his festival partner Saroj Singh Magar Darlami from the Constance Halaveli Resort in the Maldives.

Third place went to Mike North from ‘The Nut Tree Inn’ in the UK alongside Marcus Accouche from the Constance Lémuria Resort, Seychelles.

The Culinary Festival

The week itself was a unique exchange between 6 European chefs, all holders of a Michelin star and six chefs from the Constance Hotels Experience group: Constance Belle Mare Plage, Constance Le Prince Maurice, Constance Ephélia Resort, Constance Lémuria Resort and Constance Halaveli Resort. Links to more information about these hotels are on the right.

The key objective of the Culinary Festival was to support the exchange of experience and knowledge between the participating professionals and to celebrate their common passion for the love of cooking and the art of the table.

New competitions added this year

While the main event was the culinary contest, this year saw several new internal competitions added, also.

There was a cocktail competition on 14th March, won by Jonathan Nazira from the Constance Belle Mare Plage using Gabriel Boudier and Bernard Loiseau liquors. Each of the European chefs was asked to choose the best mixologist from six barmen from Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice. The winning cocktail was served at the Prize Giving ceremony.

Mrs Rajeshwaree Ramphul  won the new ‘Art of the Table’ competition which was held on 15th March where the wives of the European chefs went to the Deer Hunter restaurant with Dominique Loiseau and selected the most beautifully prepared table in a competition between 6 of Constance Belle Mare Plage’s head waiters.

The 16 March saw Mr Jay Bissoondoyal  win another new feature of the festival – the Centrepiece Competition. The themes were ‘Elegance lies in Simplicity’ and ‘Mother of Pearls and Stardust’.

Wine competition

As if that wasn’t enough, there was a wine competition on 18 March, where 6 Mauritian wine waiters explained their choice of wine to match with the dinner served by the European chefs. The winner for this competition was Mr Jorald Julie, sommelier of Constance Le Prince Maurice.

The latter also came second in the examination as “Wine Waiter Advisor” at the famous wine university of Suze la Rousse, in the Rhône Valley in 2008.