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

Discover the exotic birds of Madagascar

Famous for its unique wildlife Madagascar has always attracted visitors keen to discover rare and exotic plants and animals. Here we take a look at the extraordinary birds of Madagascar.

Madagascar Fishing Eagle

Madagascar Fishing Eagle

Madagascar Fish-Eagle

The large Madagascar fish-eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides) is the largest raptor in Madagascar and is one of the rarest birds of prey.

The body is a dark reddish-brown with dark brown wings. Its cheeks and throat are a whitish colour while its short tail is pure white.

The juvenile Madagascar fish-eagle has streaks on its head and pale fringes to its flight feathers. Its underparts are paler and tail darker than the adult’s. It hunts near or over water and often perches for long periods on tall trees.

The Madagascar fish-eagle has a melodious call, similar to the closely related African fish-eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer).

Madagascar Kingfisher

The Malagasy Kingfisher

The Malagasy Kingfisher

The Malagasy Kingfisher or Madagascar Kingfisher (Alcedo vintsioides) is a member of the Alcedinidae family. It is found in Madagascar, and Mayotte (Comoros). Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical mangrove forests.

The Malagasy Kingfisher is found in all types of wetlands, as well as along the island’s coastline. Both sexes are similar.

White throated rail

The Aldabra rail is the last surviving flightless bird in the western Indian Ocean.

It has a slender build with a long, fairly slender neck, legs and feet. The plumage is well defined, being largely bright chestnut except for the striking white throat.

The fairly long, straight bill is dark with, in females, a bright pink base, and in males, a dull or dark red base. Juveniles generally have duller plumage than adults.

Being a flightless bird, the wings are short and are often held close to the body where they blend in with the rest of the plumage.

Many consider the Aldabra rail a subspecies of the white-throated rail (Dryolimnas cuvier).

Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher

Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher

Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher

The symbol of Constance Tsarabanjina, the Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher is a medium-sized passerine, measuring 18cm in length and weighing about 12.2g.

Males have long tail plumes, which can add as much as 18cm to their overall length.

The female is largely rufous orange, with a black head and nape. The flight feathers on her wings are black with rufous edges, and she has a thin, light blue eyelid wattle.

Find out more

 

The best hidden beaches in the Indian Ocean

Discover the utter joy of stumbling upon a stretch of unspoilt beach where you don’t have to compete with the crowds.

Anse Georgette, Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Anse Georgette, Constance Lémuria

Here’s our rundown of five of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in the Indian Ocean.

Anse Georgette – Seychelles, Praslin

The beautiful, secluded beach of Anse Georgette on the northwest of Praslin delivers the Seychellois dream of white sand and calm crystal waters shaded by lush green foliage. The beach can’t be reached by car – to access it you walk through the golf course of Constance Lémuria – so there are never too many visitors and the reward for your effort is a pristine beach with very few people.

Trou d’Argent – Rodrigues

If you’re looking for that genuine Robinson Crusoe feeling then you’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere more deserted than the stunning Trou d’Argent beach on the island of Rodrigues. The island itself is a remote haven lying 600km to the east of its sister island Mauritius, connected by an inter-island flight twice a week.

Betania Beach – Madagascar

The laid back vibe of the Madagascan region of Morondava makes this beach overlooking the Mozambique Channel one of the most chilled out beach venues in the Indian Ocean. The beach stretches for miles and the only things you will be sharing it with are some local livestock.

Trou d’Argent, Rodrigues

Trou d’Argent, Rodrigues

Anse Lazio – Seychelles, Praslin

Anse Lazio is another stunning beach off the beaten track on Praslin. Lazio has a road and even a couple of restaurants but its situation at the top of the island, off the main roads, means this is still a quiet spot. Trip Advisor recently declared this the best beach in Africa – head there now before the rest of the world gets in on the action.

Gris Gris – Mauritius

The south of Mauritius is home to the most dramatic and quietest beaches on the island. The one that tops the must-go list is the breathtakingly beautiful Gris Gris. From the cliffs above you can look down to the wide stretch of sand below, and the huge waves as they pound the shore. It’s not safe to swim in the water due to the currents, but take a gentle walk along the shell-filled beach and shoreline, and feel your spirit soar.

Read more

Where’s your favourite beach in the world? Leave a comment here or visit our Facebook page.

 

The rich culture of Madagascar

Embark on an adventure to the remote island of Tsarabanjina and discover the friendly people and rich culture of Madagascar.

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Take advantage of the one-night stopover on the mainland before travelling on to Constance Tsarabanjina to immerse yourself in the colourful local customs and traditions of Madagascar.

Ethnic groups in Madagascar

The diverse ethnic groups which make up the Malagasy people, divided into 18 ‘tribes’, are united around the common Malagasy language and traditional beliefs in the importance of kinship and the veneration of their ancestors.

Local crafts

Crafts including raffia weaving, woodcarving and silk weaving – particularly the weaving of the silk lamba, the island’s national dress – can be traced back to the very first inhabitants of the island and are central to the island’s cultural history.

The traditional woodwork of the Zafimaniry people of Madagascar were considered so important that in 2008 UNESCO included them on its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Music of Madagascar

Music plays an important role in the lives of the Malagasy people with beats and rhythms echoing the music of Africa and Indonesia and often played on traditional instruments or sung with only hand clapping accompaniment.

Lemur in Madagascar

Lemur in Madagascar

Learn Malagasy

Seize the opportunity on the mainland or on Tsarabanjina to really get a sense of what makes the people of this region so special. Here are some Malagasy phrases you might find useful during your visit.

Welcome: Tongasoa

Good morning: Mbolatsara/ Salama

How are you? : Karakory/In vao vao?

Goodbye: Veloma/Samitsara

Have a nice trip: Soavadia

Goodnight: Samy mandry mifoha

Enjoy your breakfast/ launch/dinner: Mazotoa misakafo

Slowly: Mora Mora

Local Mitsio fishermen in Madagascar

Local Mitsio fishermen in Madagascar

Thank you: Misaotra

Thank you so much: Misaotra Betsaka

Best wishes: Mirary soa/ Tsara tsara

Island: Nosy

Fish: Laoko

Rice: Vary

Lemurs: Komba/Maki

Read more

Holiday inspiration: Madagascar – walks on the wild side

Bungalow at Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Bungalow at Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island, is brimming with lush forests, endemic wildlife, coral reefs and mile upon mile of beautiful beaches.

Visitors to the island are spoilt for choice when it comes to discovering the natural landscape. There are a number of different walks and tours you can do around the island, depending on how adventurous you want to be and your fitness levels.

Easy walking – Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Lemur, Madagascar

Lemur, Madagascar

If you prefer to see the island’s best known animals – the tree-dwelling lemurs – without too much difficulty, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is an easy drive east from the capital Antananarivo. Andasibe (also known as Perinet) and Mantadia are, in fact, two parks adjacent to each other.

At Andasibe there are well marked, flat trails through the lush humid forest covered with moss, ferns and over 100 species of orchid that bloom from September – January.

Due to the number of visitors to the park, the wildlife is fairly used to humans. You’re likely to see the largest lemur, the indri, as well as bamboo and brown lemurs. Their loud calls echo through the forests in the early morning and again in the late afternoon.

There are over 100 different species of birds including the Madagascar baza, wagtail, yellowbrow and vanga. You’ll also find chameleons, geckos and a host of insects in the thick undergrowth.

Mantadia is larger and more remote than its neighbour, situated 15km north of Andasibe. Less visited by tourists, the trails are more varied, steeper and can be slippery after rain. There are several short circuits to choose from.

The park is home to many lemurs including the rare black and white ruffed lemurs. Rare birds including mesites, ground rollers, greenbuls and asitys have all been spotted here.

For the more adventurous – Ankarana National Park

Chameleon, Madagascar

Chameleon, Madagascar

If you like the idea of wildlife but also want to get off the beaten track and enjoy a challenging hike, then Ankarana National Park in the north of the island is the place to head. It’s recommended that you hire a guide to take you into the park.

Ankarana’s defining feature is the ‘tsingy’ – spectacular eroded limestone spires, set against tropical rainforest, deciduous forest, lakes, caves and canyons.

The reserve has a high number of primates, as well as large populations of crowned lemurs, black lemurs and dwarf lemurs. There are some 100 species of birds, as well as reptiles and frogs. The labyrinth of caves is home to 14 different species of bat and the world’s only cave-living crocodiles. Some of Madagascar’s endemic Baobab trees can also be found here.

There are a number of half day hikes you can take into the reserve.  If you’re looking for a longer trek, consult with your guide about options that can take in all of the locations listed below. The three entry points to the park are:

  • Mahamasina – the most accessible
  • to the West near Amboandriky, which requires a 4×4
  • North at Matsaborimanga, only accessible during the dry season.

For nature lovers looking for an all-out challenge – Marojejy National Park

Frog, Madagascar

Frog, Madagascar

If you want wild, breathtaking and unspoilt natural landscapes then Marojejy National Park to the North East of the island is undoubtedly one of the most impressive places you could visit in the world.

Some 90% of the park is covered with original primary forest. For years the park was only open to scientists, and so has remained relatively untouched. Marojejy was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Marojejy National Park is just one of two sites where the highly endangered silky sifaka lemur can be found, along with the Indri, bamboo and Weasel sportive lemurs among others. There are over 100 bird species, including the helmet vanga and short legged ground roller, some 60 frogs, and geckos and chameleons. There are at least 275 species of ferns and over 50 varieties of palms.

Typically, visitors to the park explore during a strenuous three day hike, entering the park at the main entrance of Andapa.

Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Our luxury resort, Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina, is situated on the beautiful island of Madagascar. For more details and booking, visit the website.