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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Chocolate recipes for Easter from Constance Lémuria

Our Executive Pastry Chef at Constance Lémuria, Yannick Tual has shared two of his favourite chocolate recipes for you to try at home this Easter.

Chocolate recipes from Constance Lémuria

Chocolate recipes from Constance Lémuria

Recipe 1: Easter chocolate cake

Ingredients (serves 4)

Coconut nougat sponge:

  • 350g egg white
  • 275g sugar
  • 150g egg yolk
  • 200g flour
  • 50g cocoa butter

1. Whip the egg whites and add sugar to create stiff meringue, then at a slow speed add the egg yolks. By hand with a spatula, mix in the sifted flour and cocoa powder.

2. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Bake at 200ºC for 15-20mins. Keep on a cooling rack.

Chocolate Chantilly:

Ingredients

  • 500g whipping cream
  • 150g dark chocolate (semi sweet)

1. Melt the chocolate and keep it warm at 45ºC. Whip the cream to soft peaks and then add the warm chocolate and stir fast.

Stock syrup:

Ingredients

  • 200g white sugar
  • 160g water

1. Boil ingredients together and then put in a chiller to cool down.

Cake setting

1. Cut the sponge cake in to an oval shape (different layers, different sizes from large to small to create an egg shape).

2. Start with the bigger layer at the bottom, moisten sponge with the syrup, then a layer of Chantilly, cover with another sponge layer and repeat until you finish at the top of the egg shape.

3. Let it set in the chiller for at least 12 hours then cover with icing and add Easter decorations.

Recipe 2: Half egg chocolate fondant

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 400g dark chocolate callebault
  • 300g butter
  • 2g vanilla essence
  • 6 eggs
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 230g white sugar
  • 180g flour

1. Beat the egg yolks and whole eggs together with the sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla essence and the flour.

2. Melt the butter and pour onto the chocolate to let it melt and then add the egg mixture.

3. Keep in a container in the chiller to preserve or you can bake it straight away in a mold for 12-15 mins at 200ºC.

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Mauritius most popular for destination weddings

Mauritius is the most popular destination for an exotic wedding with the Maldives taking the top spot as a honeymoon destination, according to the Mail Online.

Destination weddings in Mauritius

Destination weddings in Mauritius

Based on research carried out by Kuoni, the Mail reports that Mauritius has knocked Sri Lanka off the top position thanks to recent changes which have made getting married in Mauritius much simpler.

According to the Mail report, many couples are choosing to marry in Mauritius while the Maldives was the best-selling honeymoon destination for 2013.

In a separate article the Mail Online says a new Kuoni report predicting travel trends for 2014 believes the Maldives will retain its position as the top long-haul destination for British holidaymakers.

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Cookery holidays in Mauritius

With the trend for cookery holidays growing year on year many holidaymakers are looking further afield to expand their culinary horizons.

Cookery holidays in Mauritius

Cookery holidays in Mauritius

Learning to cook the national food of the country you visit on holiday can be a fascinating insight into the place itself.

In a recent article for Gourmet Travel, Laura Archer recommended visitors to Mauritius take cookery classes to get a step ahead with the new trend for Mauritian cuisine.

At Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage guests are offered the opportunity to take cookery lessons with one of our world-class chefs who will introduce them to the use of local spices and flavours.

Classes are two hours long and take place in one of our professional kitchens. They are available to book right up to the day before.

The type of dishes you will learn to cook may include:

  • Creole style fish salad and vegetable samoussa
  • Steamed prawns with kaffir lime, pineapple with spicy salt, tapioca and coconut milk
  • Chicken cooked with garam masala.

Classes at Constance Belle Mare Plage also include a 15-minute session with one of our experienced sommeliers who will offer advice on wines to pair with the dishes you have learnt to cook.

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5 tips for taking kids on a luxury holiday

Travelling with kids can be a great experience, expanding your children’s horizons and giving you a chance to spend real quality time together.

Family fun on a luxury holiday

Family fun on a luxury holiday

So don’t let worries about safety, keeping them entertained or strange food put you off.  Here’s our round up of some of the leading bloggers who have turned travelling with children into a way of life.

1. Tips on packing for a luxury family holiday

Hip Travel Mama claims the biggest mistake we all make is to over pack, particularly when travelling with our kids. One essential she recommends is a kids ‘distraction pack’, which she gives to her children only once they’re through airport security, full of games, colouring crayons, pads and so on.

2. Encourage them to keep a travel journal

Family travel site Ciao Bambino advises getting children engaged with a trip by encouraging them to keep a travel journal. Whether it’s full of crayon pictures for younger kids, or thoughts and pictures for the older ones it’s a great memento of a family trip.

3. Get to know you hotel concierge

Julie Cohn advises Travelingmom readers to get to know the hotel concierge. She claims many parents don’t make the most of the free services the concierge offers including informing, organising and booking family activities.

Family holidays at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Family holidays at Constance Belle Mare Plage

4. Book a trip to celebrate a special occasion

Kim-Marie Evans of Luxury Travel Mom has a tradition of taking her children on a luxury break on their own for their 10th birthday. Taking the children away one at a time gives an opportunity to really connect with them as individuals. Her major tip is don’t feel guilty about your other children (or your partner) – so long as they each get their own turn. She also advises getting the child involved with the planning so that the trip is one you both want.

5. Make travel an educational as well as a fun experience for kids

In an interview for This is my happiness, Paul Johnson of A Luxury Travel Blog says he believes it’s important to talk to your kids about where they’re going, find it on the map, talk about the history and culture of the place so that they get the most out of their trip.

Want to know more about taking your children to Constance?

 

Norwegian TV-personality of the year Eyvind Hellstrøm in Mauritius

At last week’s Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau in Mauritius we caught up with Eyvind Hellstrøm, Norwegian TV-personality of the year in 2013, former 2 Michelin star chef, author of dozens of cook books and member of the Bocus d’Or jury since 1993. Interview by Peter Bojesen of Luxury Aficionados.

Eyvind Hellstrøm

Eyvind Hellstrøm

This is the second year in a row that Eyvind has sat on the jury of the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau. I ask him to compare this year’s performance of the chefs to that of 2013. ‘Difficult to say – but maybe the level was marginally higher this year, he answers. ‘Surprisingly, all the vegetarian starters looked almost identical this year, colourful and beautifully presented – almost as if the chefs had copied each other… Luckily, they did not taste the same,’ the charismatic 66-year old Norwegian adds with a smile.

Eyvind tells me that the jury was in agreement regarding the outcome of the competition. ‘One of the very interesting features about the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau is the fact that the jury members come from different cultural backgrounds. A Chinese food critic, two 3-Michelin star chefs, one being Spanish but working in Germany, the other French, Mme Loiseau with her scientific background in microbiology and biochemistry apart from being the reference in French “art de vivre” – and myself, representing the Nordic cuisine. This means that our perspectives in regards to culinary matters often differ, leading to interesting and healthy discussions. When it comes to the actual voting, I see that the French often are somewhat tougher on the candidates than the rest of us, which may be due to the long standing tradition of a strict hierarchy in the kitchens of la Haute Cuisine Française.’

Once again, Eyvind Hellstrøm is impressed by the smooth running of the event. ‘Like last year, the organisation of the Festival – both professionally as well as socially – has been close to perfect,’ he says, ‘and the wonderful atmosphere between the 12 chefs is really quite unique. On a personal level, I have had the pleasure of meeting two new very interesting personalities on the jury, Juan Amador Perez from Spain and Bob Miao from China. So it is not only the chefs taking part in the actual competition who get to establish new, international friendships – it is certainly also an added benefit to the members of the jury.’

Following judging, Eyvind was heading back to Copenhagen for the filming of next season’s edition of Master Chef Norway. ‘Until the end of June, I have to be in Copenhagen every Monday and Thursday to shoot the TV-show, which will mean a lot of travelling back and forth from my home in Oslo,’ he says. But he must be doing something right, as Eyvind recently has been nominated Best Norwegian TV-presenter of the year – an award he won in 2012 as well as in 2013.

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