Tuesday 31 January 2012

Cuisine and food in Reunion island/ la cuisine de la Reunion

Reunion island wont disappoint you when you get hungry! Indeed the island food is simply fantastic. French, Creole, Indian and Chinese influence melts here in one yummy and flavoured with fresh spices gourmet-heaven! Its the first place and time I have heart of salade made out of the heart of a specific palm tree ("la salade de palmiste"): so I gave it a try and it tasted really fresh and yummy. A bit nutty-veggie taste! 
For the main dishes one may always choose fish or meat prefered in one of the following sauces: "carry", "rougail" or "massale". All of the three listed include different spices such: cumin, garlic, pimento, ginger, cloves or lime caffire leaves...The second picture shows the dish "rougail sousisse", the way main dishes are always served here: with rice and cooked pulse/legumes.
Of course the fresh catch of the day is perfect either as sashimi or on the grill...We have cooked several local veggies: on the picture below I had prepared the famous jackfruit cut in small pieces and cooked (for over 3 hours) in coconut milk and fresh spices. Served with raw-green mango-chutney (here known as "mangue rougail")...
Some fresh exotic fruits from the market for breakfast or for sweet-snack during the day....and...
...last but not least: some "fondant au chocolat" with mango pulp...no better way to finish a meal after the exhasuting walk to the volcano crater:-))

Friday 27 January 2012

The underwater world in la Reunion: snorkelling in the Indian ocean, part 3

As promised finally some videos from the long snorkeling hours in the warm water of the Indian ocean. Next to the colourful trigger fishes and the quick butterfly fishes I had the honour to swim with a huge family of squids (over 20) and one let me (very kindly) film him/her from very close! Doenjoy the video and those fantastic colours. The squids are extremely incredible to watch in therei element (water) as they move with their wings and change colours almost all the time!

The second video shows the huge variety of different fishes in the bay of St Leu after one local crushed a sea urchin and let the passing by fishes have a feast:

And some more pictures from the underwater inhabitants and the snorkeling tourists:-)

Tuesday 24 January 2012

The fauna of Reunion island: endormi, tangue and more!

For sure one of the most colourful representative from the fauna of Reunion island is the so called "endormi" (the sleepy one). The male cameleon has its very bright colours, while the juniors and the female ones are less colourful. They are really impressive animals. I do add also one video of the same cutie below. Enjoy his slow moves:

Another cute animal is "le tangue", a far cousin of the hedghoge. They are tinier than European relatives and hide in the rainforest, we were pretty happy to spot a group of some baby ones during one of our walks! Plenty of other exotic insects are flying around: like the purple dragonfly, the black-red bugs and beautiful butterflies!
One of the first things that will strike you in Reunion island are the birds...They are everywhere, it does not matter if you are close to the sea or up in the mountains, there is always singing around you!

Sunday 22 January 2012

About "cases creoles" and architecture in Reunion and French Antilles

All around the Reunion island one sees the famous "case creole". Usually painted in very happy colour (like bright green, blue, red, orange or rose) they are cute one-floor houses (in the old times wooden, nowadays also from metal or concrete). They are almost always decorated with some "frise" (beautiful carving under the roof). This lovely detail is made (according to the old tradition) out of special wood such as ylang-ylang, lemongrass or geranium. Like this it keeps the mosquitos away (as well as the rain water) and the inhabitants healthy. The "frise" indicates also the social status of the owner, the more unsual and rich it is, the more healtier the people living in are...
The "cases creoles" hide usually in a garden full with exotic flowers and fruits trees (on the first picture you may have already seen the mangos on the left:-) The same houses are also to be spotted everywhere in the French Caribbean. The last two pictures depict some examples from les Saintes and the houses in Terre-de-Haut. They are even more colourful than in Reunion, a real eyecatcher:-)

Thursday 19 January 2012

La Plage de Tremblet et la route des laves, Reunion/ The frozen lava next to Tremblet in Reunion

In the south-east part of Reunion island, close to the crater of the active volcano Piton de la Fournaise one may visit and walk on the frozen lava...There are signs indicating the eruption year at different places. On advice of a friend we stopped close to the beach of Tremblet, where the 2007 eruption took place.
After a walk in a very greeny scenery we arrived on a beach: partly covered with black sand, partly with the frozen lava from 2007. The lava went up to the sea here...the colours in the lava stones were really breathtaking! We were told that there was so much lava that came out in 2007,  that the road was covered with 10 meters of it!

Monday 16 January 2012

The underwater world in la Reunion: snorkeling in the Indian ocean, part 2

...some more great snorkelling experience the last two days in the lagoon of St Leu...I was so lucky to swim with two squids, such amazing creatures, I have also a lovely video, which I would upload a bit later...

Sunday 15 January 2012

Graffiti/ street art in Reunion island

In all of the French oversea territories there is tendency for a lot of graffiti decoration.
In Reunion island there were several really beautiful and creative ones which I would like to present to you with this blog entry...

Friday 13 January 2012

Reunion island seen from above/ La Reunion vue du ciel

Reunion is 60 by 80 km big, however the island offers completely different landscapes in very short distances.

We did an hour tour with helicopter to view all these colouful and breathtaking beauties from above:
- la Plaine des Palmistes (an area covered with furn bushes and trees)
- la Plaine des Sables, the way leading to the volcano Piton de la Fournaise
- the carter of the active volcano
- le Cirque de Mafate
- Ananas-fields (the brown parts) above St-Pierre

- the waterfall of Takamaka, accessible only by one day foot walk;
Simply fantastic way to discover a lot of not reachable by foot or car corners!

Wednesday 11 January 2012

More or less unknown (exotic) plants, trees and inhabitants of Reunion island

While walking in the nature our friends from here made us familar with some plants and trees we have never seen before.The "vacoa" (fr) palm = "screw pine" (en.) on the first picture is famous for its leaves, its fruits have sweet flauvor. On the second shot one may see the tree tomatos, which can be eaten raw or in jams.A common local, hiding very often in the green fences, is the here called "endormi" (third picture), a cameleon imported from Madagaskar.
Another unknown wild fruit we tried is the so called "pop.pop", from the passion fruit family. In the ball of green hair there is a orange ball hiding few fgrains covered by jelly. While walking between litchi and longani trees in the area od St Anne, we also passed by some ananas plants....
Another unsual fruit is the "margoze sauvage" (fr.) = "bitter gourd"(en.), on the two pics below. The wild version on the picture is not edible, when ripe the red seeds are distributed in the nature. The big version (as of 20-30cm and green) is used for salads and has a bit bitter flavour compared to cucumbers which it looks familar to..

A big thanks goes to Jojo for the great flora-fauna-tour!