Recipe: Royal romazava

Romazava is an emblematic dish of traditional Madagascan cuisine. At Constance Tsarabanjina, its preparation is similar to a ritual, and no one is supposed to distract the chef when he is getting it ready. A dish for sharing and generosity, to be enjoyed with friends.

Royal romazava

Royal romazava

Ingredients (Serves 4)

The meat:

  • 300g pork loin
  • 300g stewing beef
  • Black pepper: as required
  • 10g garlic puree
  • 20g ginger puree
  • 10g flour
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
  • Peanut oil
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • Salt/pepper

1. trim the pork loin and cut it into cubes and brown it with a little oil. Add the garlic and ginger purees.

2. Let it sweat for another 5 minutes, then pour half a litre of water over it and cook it covered for 45 minutes.

3. In a casserole, bring the seasoned sautéed beef back to the heat. add the tomato concentrate and coat the meat. Let it all cook for 5 minutes.

4. Sprinkle it with flour and cover it with water. Stir the fresh tomato chopped into pieces, the bouquet garni and the black pepper. Cover and cook it for 2 hours, preferably on a real fire with glowing embers.

The garnish:

  • 300g white rice
  • 4 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 1 banana tree leaf
  • Salt

1. Cook the rice. Chop the tomatoes and season them with salt and coriander.

Finishing and presentation

Cut the banana tree leaf into a square and place the different meats on top. serve the rice and tomatoes separately. For a more traditional result, serve everything in a stew-crock or cast iron pot.

Sommelier’s suggested wine

Light and fruity red wine:

  • Upper Hemel En aarde, Newton Johnson. “D”, Pinot Noir, 2009 South Africa
  • Côtes du Marmandais Elian Da Ros, “Le vin est une fête”, 2009 France

 

Barefoot adventures at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Get a taste for the barefoot, laid back vibe that makes Constance Tsarabanjina a castaway paradise ripe for discovery, in this latest video.

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Constance Tsarabanjina wins at Tatler Travel Awards 2014

Tatler magazine has recognised the unique laid back charm of Constance Tsarabanjina in its prestigious 2014 Travel Awards.

Constance Tsarabanjina, winner at the Tatler Travel Awards 2014

Constance Tsarabanjina, winner at the Tatler Travel Awards 2014

The magazine named the private Madagascan island resort of Tsarabanjina its Barefoot Adventure award winner.

Picking a selection of only 8 winners from luxury hotels and resorts across the globe, Tsarabanjina was joined on Tatler’s exclusive winners’ podium by the likes of Domaine de la Baume, France and Aman Canal Grande, Venice.

Luxury barefoot chic

Tsarabanjina’s mixture of castaway chic and Constance elegance makes it the ideal destination for those looking for beautiful beaches, palm-thatched beach villas and a splash of Madagascan adventure.

As the Tatler Travel Guide 2014 states:

“This is barefoot luxury at its best, the kind of desert-island experience that will stay with you, haunt you, make you realise that every beach from now on will not live up to this one.”

At Tsarabanjina, you can experience a world far removed from the one most of us live in day to day. From watching the local fishermen deliver the catch of the day on traditional wooden pirogues, to taking in the island’s stunning biodiversity on a guided nature walk, or diving waters previously unexplored.

The awards were presented this week at The Ritz, London by Tatler’s Travel Editor Francisca Kellett.

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Top 5 walks in Madagascar

Immerse yourself in the spectacular biodiversity, varied landscapes and unique species of Madagascar on walks through the country’s national parks.

Walks in Madagascar

Isalo National Park

From tropical rainforests to sandstone canyons and even a UNESCO World heritage site, trekking in Madagascar is a once in a lifetime experience.

Here’s our guide to the 5 best walks in Madagascar.

Isalo National Park

With its deep sandstone canyons, cliffs and gorges the spectacular mountain park of Isalo is reminiscent of the great canyons of the world. Park rangers are on hand to guide walkers through the park on various trails highlighting different features such as caves and swallow holes, lemur watching and natural swimming pools.

Andringitra Moutains

A landscape of high mountains and deep valleys, Andringitra is one of Madagascar’s more accessible mountain parks. A famous hotspot for high altitude biodiversity found on its stunning mountain prairies including rare lemurs, birds and palm trees.

Walks in Madagascar

Andringitra Moutains

The park features Madagascar’s second highest peak, the granite dome of Peak Boby at 2658m. Walkers will find a selection of trails here from 6km to 18km.

Ankarana

Spectacular jagged pinnacles of Jurassic limestone known locally as tsingy interspersed with dense tropical jungle, dry forests and deep caves characterise this remote area in the north of the country.

Walkers are advised to take a guide as this can be a tough trek but keen walkers will find a landscape untouched by human hands and unchanged for thousands of years.

Bermaraha

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990, Bermaraha is a startling landscape of limestone needles known as tsingys, canyons, mountain peaks and rolling hills.

The protected forests and mangrove swamps are home to rare and endangered wildlife including the western woolly lemur and the fat-tailed dwarf lemur, the antsingy leaf chameleon and the Madagascar Goshawk.

Walks in Madagascar

Bermaraha

Tsarabanjina

One of the few inhabited islands of the Mitsio Archipelago, Tsarabanjina is a small private island to the north west of Madagascar 40 miles from Nosy Be. With a coast of idyllic white sand beaches and a mountainous heart of lush vegetation and rare wildlife there is plenty for walkers to enjoy here.

Guests at Constance Tsarabanjina are provided free guides to enjoy nature walks around the island where they may be lucky enough to see rare birds such as the famous flycatcher of Madagascar and fish eagles. Those with particularly good eyesight might even spot the world’s smallest chameleon.

Discover more about the region’s history with a walk to the Eastern beach peninsular, the site for the tomb of the Sakalava kings of the Mitsio Islands. Local islanders still bring offerings to the tombs today.

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Recipe: Langouste with Madagascan vanilla

In Madagascar, combining these two fine products is the obvious thing to do. On Nosy Be Market vanilla is sold in one kilo batches. The pods are plump and give off a magnificent odour! To achieve success all you have to do is infuse them in a lightly reworked white butter. Not very modern, perhaps, but so good!

Fresh lobster at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina

Fresh langouste at Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina

Ingredients (Serves 4)

The langoustes:

  • 4 live langoustes, 600/700g each
  • 1 lime
  • salt/pepper

1. Hold the langoustes tightly and with a large knife, cut them lengthways, starting from the head.

2. Remove the intestines, season with salt and pepper and roast them flesh side down in a large frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil or butter. If you find it more convenient, rather than fry them you can grill them. What you have cooked at the stove needs to be finished off in the oven.

The vanilla sauce:

  • 4 sticks of Madagascan vanilla
  • 1/2 litre shellfish broth
  • 100g vegetable mirepoix (carrot/leek/onion)
  • 60g butter
  • 100ml liquid cream
  • 1/2 lime

1. Boil the shellfish broth, adding the vegetable mirepoix, and let it reduce by a half. Cut the vanilla sticks lengthways, keep the seeds and stir the sticks into the shellfish broth. Let them infuse for 20 minutes.

2. Pass the broth though a cheesecloth strainer and add the butter cut into pats and the cream. depending on your taste, do not forget to add a pinch of salt.

3. Before serving, add the vanilla seeds and the lime juice.

The garnish:

This dish can be served with various accompaniments: rice, vegetable fricassee, salad etc.

Finishing and presentation

You can either prepare the langoustes on individual plates or put them in a dish from which the guests serve themselves. One added extra: wrap half a lemon into a coffee filter tied with a piece of reffia. In this way you can squeeze out the juice without getting the pips.

Sommelier’s suggested wine

Dry white wine:

  • Pessac-Léognan, Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc, 2004 France
  • Puligny-Montrachet, Domaine Carillon, 2009 France

 

8 reasons why Madagascar should be on your bucket list

Still relatively undiscovered, Madagascar is a unique destination of warm sunshine, rich biodiversity, culture and stunning scenery.

Diving in Madagascar

Diving in Madagascar

Here are our top 8 reasons why Madagascar deserves a top spot on your bucket list.

Perfect ‘holiday’ temperatures all year round

With average temperatures of around 30ºC, warm clear waters and an average of 7.5 hours of sunshine a day, Madagascar is an ideal holiday destination. The cooler drier ‘winter’ season runs from May to October while the warmer, wetter ‘summer’ season runs from November to April.

Laid back luxury

Although still relatively unexplored by tourists, it is possible to find a splash of luxury in Madagascar. Enjoy the laidback charm of Constance Tsarabanjina with a vibe of barefoot relaxation blended with low-key luxury.

Chill out on a hammock slung outside your own secluded beach villa on the tiny private Madagascan island of Tsarabanjina. Watch the dazzling array of stars from your own furnished terrace or stroll barefoot down to the restaurant and enjoy traditional Malagasy food with a touch of Constance flair.

Combine luxury and exploration with a guided nature walk around the island by hotel staff.

Be the first to dive waters teeming with rare marine life

Diving is spectacular in Madagascar all year round, particularly around the Mitsio Archipelago, including the island of Tsarabanjina.

Much of the ocean here is previously unexplored making it a fresh new territory for divers.

Some of Madagascar’s most spectacular marine sightings include:

Relax in a hammock at Constance Tsarabanjina

Relax in a hammock at Constance Tsarabanjina

Humpback whales – the whales travel to the warm waters around Madagascar to breed from August to October creating an awe-inspiring spectacle and a rare treat for visitors

Sperm whales – experience the majesty of these magnificent creatures first-hand throughout July and August

Manta rays – see these graceful giants as they migrate through the warm waters of Madagascan waters from May to October

Whale sharks – swim with the gentle giants of the ocean from September through to December.

Explore a completely stunning landscape like nowhere else on earth

From rich rainforests to startling deserts sprinkled with rare, exotic wildlife a trip to Madagascar is like discovering a forgotten land. Pick your way through the granite needle forests of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bermaraha or experience the other-worldliness of a forest of Baobab trees. There are 20 National Parks in Madagascar for visitors to explore on foot.

Savour the warm spice of Malagasy cuisine

With influences from many of the nations whose people settled here including Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East and France, Madagascan food is a rich, delicious mix of flavours. Local spices and herbs such as chillies, cloves, garlic, vanilla and black pepper are a feature of Malagasy cuisine as is the wide variety of freshly caught seafood and locally grown succulent fruits and vegetables.

Discover Madagascar’s unique wildlife

With around 80 per cent of Madagascar’s wildlife unique to the country, including 150 endemic mammal species, it’s a must-see destination for anyone interested in the gems of the natural world.

One of the most treasured sightings for many visitors to Madagascar are the 100+ lemur species found nowhere else on the planet. Visitors during October and November may even be lucky enough to see newly-born baby lemurs.

Join the party

The Malagasy Kingfisher

The Malagasy Kingfisher

Enjoy the hospitality of the Malagasy people at a range of year-round festivals. Highlights include:

Anniversary of the Republic – Celebrated on 30 December this is a key date in the festivities of Madagascar.

Alahamady Be, 11 – 12 March – Two days of music, dancing and feasting are all part of the program for the celebration of the Malagasy New Year.

Santabary Festival, end of April/beginning of May – A festival celebrating the first rice harvest of the year with events across the island including feasting, music and dancing.

Feria Oramena, June – a carnival-like celebration of one of the nation’s favourite seafood, Lobster.

Hiragasy, July – a traditional Malagasy cultural event involving a competition with five-themed entertainments including oratory, dance, music, drinking and eating.

Madajazzcar, 1 – 12 October – A 2 week jazz festival held in the country’s capital attracting famous jazz musicians from around the globe.

Witness the spectacular birds of Madagascar

For anyone interested in bird-watching Madagascar is a must-see destination with over 100 endemic bird species including fish eagles, jacana, ground rollers and paradise flycatchers, as well as a vast array of migratory birds.

September to mid-December is the breeding season when many species don their finest plumage to attract mates. There are a number of bird watching safaris on offer, usually including lemur sightings as part of the deal.