The heat is on… Day 3 at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

Wednesday 2 April – the final day to get everything ready before tomorrow’s finals at the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2014.

Peter Bojesen gives the day’s highlights from Mauritius.

Event chefs: Jacob Holmstrom & Masashi Ijichi

Event chefs: Jacob Holmstrom & Masashi Ijichi

A final without the star chefs present – only the Island chefs will be allowed in the kitchen at Constance Belle Mare Plage, each with an appointed commis chef at his side.

Today was the day when the finishing touches to the recipes are made, the dressing of the dishes approved, the recipes written.

I arrive in the kitchen in the morning and the tension is palpable at several of the stations. Some chefs seem to be more relaxed than others, however. One of those is Mirto Marchesi from Switzerland: ‘I’ve been very lucky with my Island partner, Emmanuel Fortuno, who normally works here at Constance Belle Mare Plage,’ he says. The two are sitting at a table with their starter dish in front of them, trying to compose a fitting name and to write the recipe required by the jury. The starter looks like a beautiful painting, where red, orange and green colours dominate. Hopefully, it tastes as good as it looks…

Chef Masachi Ijichi comes from Japan, and runs a one-star restaurant in the French city of Valence and speaks very little English. As his Island partner, Damika Sarath doesn’t speak French a translator is needed, but apparently it hasn’t affected the bonding between the two chefs. ‘Everything is going just fine,’ Masachi says with a big smile, ‘we have the same kind of philosophy regarding gourmet cooking, and I have learned quite a lot from my new friend, who normally works at Constance Halalevi in the Maldives.’

German chef Jens Rittmeyer also seems quite cool in spite of the heat in the kitchen. ‘I enjoy working with my partner Dinushan Patabadage who comes from Sri Lanka but works at Constance Moofushi in the Maldives. Our two dishes are well under way, and I am sure that Dinushan will perform well tomorrow,’ he says, while his partner is busy dressing the main course on a bone white Raynaud plate.

Leaving the kitchen, I enter the Blue Penny Café, which today hosts the Service and Arts de Table competition, which for several years has been a part of the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau. Five tables have been beautifully laid, each occupied by two carefully chosen guests. Each table has been assigned a waiter, each of whom has won an internal competition in five of the hotels in the Constance group.

The guests are served a gourmet lunch by the five waiters in question under the watchful eye of three jury members, one of which being Mme. Dominique Loiseau. I watch several courses being expertly served, red and white wine properly presented and poured, coffee and tea offered. Everything seems to be perfectly in order, and I am quite sure that the jury will have a tough task deciding on the winner.

But just like the cooking- and sommelier competitions, we shall all have to be patient and wait until Saturday night to learn the names of the different winners of the ninth edition of the Bernard Loiseau Culinary competition.

Read more

 

Constance Hotels supports Earth Hour 2014

In support of the global environmental movement, Earth Hour, we held a number of candle lit events in the Maldives and Seychelles.

Earth Hour at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Earth Hour at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

At Constance Halaveli guests celebrated the global solidarity of Earth Hour with a beach barbecue. We turned the lights off in staff areas, guest villas and along the jetty and guests enjoyed the occasion in atmospheric candlelight at Jahaz Bar , Restaurant  and the reception area.

At Constance Ephélia guests were invited to a ‘chilled wine dinner’ at fine dining restaurant Cyann. All dishes for the gastronomic 3 course dinner were prepared in advance and served chilled by candlelight.

Find out more

Read how Constance Hotels & Resorts is working to support the environment

 

 

Constance Halaveli perfect spring escape for top luxury travel blogger

Luxury travel blogger Mrs O has included Constance Halaveli in her top 5 Destinations for spring.

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Mrs O has developed a huge following for her honest reviews of luxury hotels and luxury travel related products.

In her countdown to spring, Mrs O is looking forward to spending time in the Maldives where she will stay at Constance Halaveli.

She tells her readers she’s so excited about her Water Villa at Halaveli that she is ‘lost for words and losing sleep over it.’

Follow her adventures and her stay at Constance Halaveli on her blog mrsoaroundtheworld.com.

Read more

 

Chocolate recipes for Easter

The seed of the cacao tree has been considered a precious delicacy for over 4,000 years.

Chocolate recipes: Lémuria’s chocolate and coconut nougat nest with chocolate ganache

Chocolate recipes: Lémuria’s chocolate and coconut nougat nest with chocolate ganache

From its origins as a medical cure via a religious offering to its position today as one of the world’s favourite treats, chocolate has become an integral part of many cultures around the world.

In recent years scientists have even come to agree with the ancient Mayans that it has important medicinal properties because of its richness in large flavonoid molecules known to help maintain cardiovascular health.

To get you in the mood for some chocolate-indulgence this Easter, here’s the first of a selection of chocolate recipes from our sweet-toothed chefs at Constance.

Recipe I: Halaveli’s Chocolate ice cream

Ingredients

  • 2kg full fat milk
  • 90g milk powder
  • 200g sugar
  • 180g invert sugar
  • 12g stabiliser
  • 540g guanaja chocolate

1. Take some of the sugar and mix with the stabiliser. Heat the milk powder.

2. At 30ºC add the sugar and inverted sugar.

3. At 45ºC add the sugar and stabiliser mixture and the chopped or melted chocolate. Mix vigorously and let cool in the fridge or freezer.

4. Leave for 4-12 hours at +4ºC, then mix vigorously with an electric mixer to obtain a homogeneous mass. Store at -18ºC and serve between
-10ºC and -12ºC.

Recipe II: Lémuria’s chocolate and coconut nougat nest with chocolate ganache

Ingredients (serves 4)

Chocolate and coconut nougat nest:

  • 250g fresh coconut (prepared in julienne style)
  • 500g white sugar
  • 15g vanilla essence
  • 5g nutmeg powder
  • 125g dark chocolate

1. Heat a saucepan and add the sugar, let it melt until it’s golden brown caramel then add the fresh coconut followed by the vanilla and nutmeg.

2. Stir well and add the dark chocolate, mix until the chocolate melts.

3. Place the nougat in a paper case in the shape of a nest and let it set.
Top with little candy Easter eggs.

Chocolate ganache:

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh cream
  • 500g dark chocolate semi-sweet

1. Boil the cream and pour on to the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted.

2. Let it cool down, then pour on to the coco nests.

Read more

 

Candlelit beach dining at Halaveli’s Meeru restaurant

Experience the laid back charm of dining by candlelight on the powder-white sand at Meeru, the beachside restaurant at Constance Halaveli.

Beach dining at Meeru

Beach dining at Meeru

Watch the sun sink into the ocean as you enjoy sumptuous fine dining with sand between your toes at this evening-only beach restaurant.

Take in the stunning ocean views while you enjoy freshly caught fish, ripe tropical fruits and vegetables prepared with Maldivian spices.

Recent delicacies added to the menu by our Executive Chef Jordi Vila include:

  • Tuna Carpaccio with avocado, fennel salad and lime
  • Argentinian style ‘provoleta cheese’ with oregano and chilli
  • Meeru garden salad with French dressing
  • Reef fish, with vegetables and lemon mayonnaise
  • Fried squid with black ink alioli
  • Tropical fruit and raspberry mousse.

Visit our website for more information about Constance Halaveli or to make a booking.

Read more

 

A guide to a luxury honeymoon in Maldives

If you’re planning a Maldives honeymoon you’ve already chosen one of the world’s most romantic spots. Here’s our guide to making sure you also get the full luxury experience.

A romantic stroll along the beach

A romantic stroll along the beach

1. Make sure the accommodation measures up for luxury

A honeymoon is a time to indulge in the very best and that includes the accommodation. At Constance Halaveli and Constance Moofushi you can choose between elegant spacious water villas hovering over tranquil lagoons or beach villas tucked on the edge of white sand. Traditional Maldivian influences are found in the Dhoni shaped villas, and palm-thatched roofs of Halaveli, where all the villas come with their own private pool, and the rustic design and art featured in the villas at Moofushi. Seating areas, private terraces, spacious modern bathrooms and sumptuously comfortable beds all add to the overall feeling of understated luxury.

2. Secluded places to be alone

A luxury Maldives’ honeymoon is all about sharing private moments in a beautiful setting and at Halaveli and Moofushi there is no shortage of spaces where you can be alone. At Moofushi you can spend a romantic evening under the stars enjoying a candlelit dinner for two on your very own sandbank. In-villa dining is the perfect option if you want to enjoy sumptuous fine-dining alone. If you want total seclusion take a boat trip to a deserted island for just the two of you and spend the day lying on your own beach, swimming alone in crystal waters and breathing in the romance of the Maldives.

A luxury honeymoon in the Maldives

A luxury honeymoon in the Maldives

3. Plan some once in a lifetime moments

Take the time in the Maldives to create memories that will last a lifetime. After a few days spent lying back in the sun, there’s plenty on offer beyond the beach. At both Moofushi and Halaveli you can take a sunset cruise in a traditional Maldivian Dhoni, or visit a local fishing village. For something a bit more adrenalin-charged you could explore the stunning Ari Atoll scuba diving. Meet the vibrant local marine life from colourful corals to blue-striped snappers.

4. First-class cuisine

Whether you’re enjoying sushi or salads by the beach or romantic candle-lit dinners for two, great food is an integral ingredient in the perfect luxury honeymoon. At Halaveli and Moofushi our world-class chefs use only the freshest, high quality ingredients, locally sourced where possible. Inspired by European traditions with Maldivian ingredients and flare, fine dining is given a local twist. Enjoy extensive wine lists with wines sourced from around the globe by our expert sommeliers.

5. Choose whether to go all-inclusive

There are benefits either way. For those who like the freedom to build their own holiday in their own way, a non-inclusive holiday can be the best option. Alternativley, our Cristal Package at Moofushi offers a luxury all-inclusive option with everything from super-premium spirits, international wine list and meals to snorkelling equipment and a Dhoni boat excursion.

Find out more