Choosing wine from the menu

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a total newbie to the world of wine, our Head Sommelier at Constance, Jérome Faure, is here to share his expert knowledge with you.

Jerome Faure
Jerome Faure

This week, Jérome takes a look at the difference between conventional and organic wines.

Conventional versus organic wine

A conventional wine is a wine produced from grapes grown using farming methods which include the use of chemical products.

Organic wine is made from grapes certified by a recognised body such as Ecocert, as organically farmed – AB (Agriculture Biologique) in the French system.

How wine is given organic certification

AB certification requires, above all, respect for a set of guidelines aimed at banning the use of all chemical products, such as pesticides, fungicides and fertilizer. At present there are no guidelines for how the wine itself is treated.

Gaining AB certification involves wine growers subjecting themselves to lengthy administrative procedures, which is why some growers are not interested in obtaining it. But at the same time, these growers may use few or no chemical products in their vineyards. So it’s possible to come across a wine without an AB label that is nonetheless made from organically grown grapes…

Choices, choices… which wine is best?

Red wine in glass
How to choose wine

You’ll find good wines among both conventional and organic types.

To oppose organic to conventional wine is simply to oppose certified to non-certified ones. As we’ve already said, many winegrowers are organic but uncertified, and others, even if not organic are very sparing in their use of chemicals.

Some go even further by working in accordance with biodynamics (the natural rhythms of cosmic forces), whether they’re certified or not.

If you’re dining in a restaurant, the best way to decide is to rely on the selections of a good sommelier.

The Constance Group takes great care in its choice of wines, and at Constance Ephelia in the Seychelles the wine list indicates which wines are certified organic or biodynamic.

Tell us what you think

Do you prefer organic over conventinal wine? Tell us what you think. You can get in contact with us via Twitter, Facebook or use the comments section below.

Recipe: how to make coconut milk

Coconut tree in Seychelles

Coconut tree in Seychelles

Today Chef Rufus Elizabeth of Seselwa restaurant at Constance Ephélia Resort explains how to make coconut milk the traditional way.

Coconuts are poetically called ‘suspended water’. They’re used in many different culinary preparations in the Seychelles – the most famous one is probably the kari koko, or curry with coconut milk.

1. To make fresh coconut milk, you need to use a dry coconut. First remove the husk by splitting it on a sharp rock. If you buy it in a supermarket, it will come without the husk.

Splitting coconut husk on a sharp rock

Split the coconut husk on a sharp rock

2. Then, break open the nut. This can be a dangerous operation if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Seychellois do it with a machete… but please don’t try this at home!

Instead, I’d recommend using a pastry roller or a metal pipe. The trick is to place the nut in your hand the right way. It will easily break open if you hit it right in the middle, against the sense of the fibers.

3. Hold the nut tightly in the palm of your left hand, hide your fingers, and hit it with the pastry roll. If it doesn’t break the first time, try again.

4. Place a glass or bowl under to collect the coconut water.

5. Once the nut is open:

  • Sieve the coconut water and use it to prepare a delicious drink. It’s perfect pure and ice cold. Seychellois have it for breakfast to give them strength for the day.
  • You can also mix it with white rum and prepare a delicious punch.

6. Remove the pulp from the shell: one easy way is to use an oyster knife. Protect your fingers as the blade can easily rip against the inside of the shell.

Scrape the pulp out of the coconut

Scrape the pulp out of the coconut

Try to keep at least one side of the coconut shell intact. Seychellois use it a measuring unit and call it the kafoul.

7. Rinse the pieces of pulp. You can choose to keep the brown skin around it or remove it with a knife. Grate the pulp. Seychellois use a traditional grater (a piece of sharp metal on a wooden plank). At home, a blender is probably your best bet.

8. Place the grated pulp in a bowl. Add a bit of fresh water and let it soak for 5 minutes.

9. Place the preparation in a clean cloth. Wrap the cloth around the pulp and press with your hands on top of a bowl. The coconut milk will be extracted slowly.

Sieve milk through the husk

Sieve milk through the husk

To do this, Seychellois use a piece of natural coconut husk. They call it tamis coco.

10. Keep the coconut milk in the fridge until you need it. Keep the dry grated pulp to prepare pastries such as a delicious coconut tart, or a coconut jam.

11. If you want a thicker milk, or coconut cream, allow the milk to rest for 2 to 3 hours. The liquid will progressively split and the coconut cream will stay at the top. Use a ladle to gently collect it from the top.

It may be easier to open a can of coconut milk but what a pleasure to make your own!

 

Constance Belle Mare Plage celebrates Divali 2011

Guests and staff enjoyed a beautiful evening at Constance Belle Mare Plage on Tuesday 25 October, to celebrate Divali, the festival of lights.

Special dishes and decorations

Special dishes and decorations

Our chefs prepared special dishes for the evening, with traditional table decorations created from coloured rice.

Celebrations took place at Indigo and Citronelle restaurants.

The name Divali comes from the word Deepavali, which means ‘row of lamps’.

Divali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil.

Don’t miss more lovely photos of Divali at Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice on our Constance Facebook page.

Constance Belle Mare Plage wins International Chefs’ Day Challenge

Winning team from Belle Mare Plage
Winning team from Belle Mare Plage

Constance Belle Mare Plage has won one of the top culinary contests on the island of Mauritius.

Out of a total of 9 teams, Belle Mare Plage won the Best Table Set Up and was overall winner in the Black Box Competition.

Belle Mare Plage presented an elegant and classic table setting.

The general theme was futuristic with plexiglass balls suspended like planets, a small nod to us treating the International Day as a ‘universal’ event. The table design included a dominant orchid floral decoration and handwritten blackboard menus.

All decorations reflected our eco-awareness and included LED lamps, recycled materials and volcanic rock.

The event marks International Chefs’ Day and is organised by the Mauritius Chefs’ Association.

Michelin star chef Serge Gouloumès visits Constance Lémuria and Ephélia

Chef Serge Gouloumes

Chef Serge Gouloumes

World class Chef Serge Gouloumès is cooking up a feast at our resorts in the Seychelles this week.

The Michelin star chef from Relais & Châteaux, Le Mas Candille in Mougins, France is visiting Constance Lémuria and Constance Ephélia from 17-21 October. Restaurant Candille is known as one of the best restaurants on the Cote d’Azur.

Special menus are being prepared at Lémuria and Ephélia, so guests can experience Serge Gouloumès’ culinary talent and passion for cooking.

Here’s a taste of what’s on offer this week: 

Monday 17 October 2011

Candlelit dinner at the Seahorse restaurant

  • Amuse Bouche 
  • Candille Foie Gras Tatin with Armagnac
  • Rock lobster roasted in its shell, simmeredSoissonsbeans smoked with tarragon
  • Exotic ilot, coconut caviar flavoured with vanilla, marinated & roasted Victoria pineapple, mango sorbet on chocolate notes

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Constance Lemuria Seahorse restaurant

Constance Lemuria Seahorse restaurant

Gala dinner at the Seahorse restaurant

  • Amuse Bouche
  • Braised white cabbage leaves, flacked crab, full-flavoured sea juice
  • Scallops skewer, celery mash with lardo di Colonata, Parmigiano Reggiano crisps
  • Glazed slab of Angus fillet, tataki sauce, butternut squash cubes, grilled leek, fried onions
  • Hazelnut macaroon, white chocolate ganache with winter truffle, caramelised pecan nuts, praline ice cream

Thursday 20 & Friday 21 October 2011

Constance Ephelia, Cyann restaurant

Constance Ephelia, Cyann restaurant

 

Dinner at Cyann restaurant

  • Amuse Bouche
  • Egg in truffle surprise, wild mushroom duxelles, chervil foam
  • Scallops skewer, sweet chestnut biscuit and purée, braised endives with mandarin juice
  • Duckling fillet in mild spiced glaze, wok-sautéed vegetables with coriander
  • Exotic ilot, coconut caviar flavoured with vanilla, marinated & roasted Victoria pineapple, mango sorbet on chocolate notes 

Friday 21 October 2011

Special lunch at Cyann restaurant

Four hands special menu by the Chefs Serge Gouloumès and Denis Jean-Jacques.

•        Surprise menu

Recipe: Ginger-flavoured peanut chatini

Fresh root ginger

Fresh root ginger

This delicious chatini is similar to a chutney. Super tasty, it’s very quick and easy to prepare. Serve with tropical fish and meat dishes, particularly curries.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 400g shelled peanuts, skins removed
  • 250g watermelon flesh
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5 sprigs coriander
  • 1 fresh green chilli
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • salt and pepper

1. Toast the peanuts for 10 minutes in a 180ºC oven.
2. Gather all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend into a smooth paste. Check seasoning.
3. Store in the fridge until needed.

This recipe appears in our book, ’100% Mauritius – 52 recipes from the Prince Maurice’. You can buy the recipe book from our online store.