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.

 

Guide to diving in Madagascar

Madagascar is one of the hottest destinations for 2013 and if you love diving, it’s a hidden gem. Off the coast of the world’s fourth largest island, you’ll find waters that have never been dived in before, and underwater rock formations that add a special thrill to the whole diving experience.

Diving in Madagascar

Diving in Madagascar

Explore stunning coral reefs and gardens of huge sponges that are home to turtles, jack fish, scorpion fish, sting rays, moray eels, and grey and white tip sharks.

Constance Tsarabanjina reopened earlier in 2013 after a major refurbishment. Barefoot luxury set on its own castaway island, it’s the perfect place to stop a while as you explore the oceans off the island.

Highlights of diving off Tsarabanjina

1. The Tétons

These stunning towers of rock off the coast of Constance Tsarabanjina are covered under the waves with vibrant corals and tunnels that divers can swim through, lined with colourful sponges and sweetlips.

2. South Beach

Beginners can explore the beautiful reef just off the shores of Tsarabanjina, where you’ll discover the beauty of reef diving and the colourful creatures who live there.

3. Kassimo

Good for divers of all levels this long underwater barrier is home to snapper, diagramme voiliers, grouper, giant sting ray, giant loach and grey or white-dotted sharks.

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Recipe: “Henan’ Omby Ritra”

This “Henan’ Omby Ritra” dish is a classic one from Madagascar’s culinary heritage, and normally contains zebu. This delicious version is served only on special order for our guests. Ask any of our chefs at Constance Tsarabanjina for it & they will put all their love and passion into preparing it.

"Henan' Omby Ritra"

“Henan’ Omby Ritra”

Ingredients

The meat:

  • 1.5kg zebu (rump, chuck or cheek). May be replaced by beef
  • 2g black pepper
  • 10g garlic
  • 10g ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • Peanut oil
  • 200g sealing dough (200g flour and 100ml water)
  • Salt/pepper

1. Brown the meat in oil in a casserole for 5 minutes with the chopped onion, crushed garlic, salt chopped tomatoes and ginger slices. Cover it with 0.5 litres of water and cook it for 15 minutes.

2. When the water has completely evaporated, let the meat brown before cooking it in the tomato sauce. Pour in 3 cups of water. Add the chopped pepper and cracked black pepper. Cover and finish it in the oven and let everything cool. Keep the compote of pepper confit.

3. Once the meat is completely cool, put it into another cast iron pot, add the remaining sauce, cover it with the lid and add a strip of sealing dough to ensure the whole thing is hermetically sealed and any evaporation is reduced to a minimum.

The garnish:

  • 200g black Chinese rice (Venere)
  • 20g butter
  • 1 onion
  • 4 potatoes
  • 100g spring onions
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/pepper

1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water. Peel them and mash them with a fork, adding the olive oil and the chopped onion tails. salt it and set it aside.

2. Sweat the chopped onion in butter. Stir in the black rice until it goes white and cook it like risotto, adding the chicken stock as you go along until it is soft.

Finishing and presentation

Bake the sealed casserole in a hot oven at 160/170˚C for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove it from the oven and, using a small pairing knife, open the lid of the pot in front of the guests. Be careful not to burn yourself!

Accompany everything with the mashed potatoes and black rice. Serve the pepper compote with a spoon.

Sommelier’s suggested wine

Strong fruity red wine:

  • Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Château Monbousquet, 2008 France
  • Vin de Pays des Bouches-du-Rhône, Domaine de Trévallon, 2008 France