“Would you like to have some Tea?” is the first thing that pops out if you meet and greet someone. Certainly, when in Mauritius, this is probably what you will notice if you are invited over by your Mauritian Friends! Grown, picked, traded and sipped for centuries, this beloved beverage is considered as the Islanders’ passion that never seems to wane. Mauritius is a producer of tea, initially on a small scale when the French introduced the plant into the island around 1765. It was under later British rule that the scale of tea cultivation increased.
Tea drinking allows for socializing and is commonly being served to guests and in the workplace. The Mauritian people usually consume black tea, often with milk and sugar. But as the tropical paradise has its array of flavors to offer, so does their cup of Tea. Flavors such as Mint, Cardamom, Citron, Vanilla, Passion Fruit, Peach, and Fruit Punch are at the top spots of peoples’ choices. Not just these, you also have Tea Infusions that have intense aroma and a rich mauve color that will elevate your senses by just a sip!
As a visitor you can explore this fervor by following the Tea Route at the Bois Cheri tea plantation – a culinary and cultural journey into the history of tea production in Mauritius. Followed by Domaine des Aubineaux in Forest Side, a little way south of Curepipe, where the town gives way to a more rustic area. Their beautiful gardens, a handsome colonial house-turned-museum filled with antiques, paintings, vintage photographs and furniture from the East India Company are the perfect getaway for some Tea tasting. Wide ranges of infusions are offered: flavored black tea (plain, mint, coconut, bergamot, earl grey, lemon or vanilla), herbal teas (with ayapana, lemongrass or ginger) and green teas – plain or with jasmine.
Finally, make your way towards the Bois Cheri factory. You’ll pass by an old locomotive’s steam engine once used to dry out tealeaves. Grab a cup of tea in hand – and gaze down on an ancient volcanic crater now transformed into a small lake, surrounded by century-old trees and admire the panoramic views from the wooden terrace.
Feeling relaxed already!
By now if you have tasted the street food of Mauritius, you might have gotten familiar with that tangy, sweet and sour taste that you get in your Roti or even when eating a warm plate of rice with some Mauritian Lima Bean curry. And that delicious taste, my dear Foodies, is the most appreciated and beloved ‘Achard’ or fondly known as ‘Pickle’!
Mauritius is anyway a cultural pickle by its own, so why not make pickles of different variations? Everyone on the island loves it and your meal is incomplete without some Achard to go with! From sweet, sour to fiery hot or something in between, you can get the taste of your preferences!
When you go street hopping for food, you must try our recommended few flavors such as Achard Legumes which is a mix of shredded carrots, cabbage and French beans, this particular one is what the Roti seller puts into your hot Roti or Farata. A very delicate taste of all these vegetables and a tinge of mustard oil. Another kind we suggest you to try is the Achard Fruit de Cythere or commonly known as Ambarella/Jew Plum pickle. This is especially prepared by extracting all the juice and sun drying them thus giving it the tropical flavor when it has been well marinated. Drooling already?
There is something particularly exciting about Mango pickles. Maybe it is the aroma or just the nostalgia of our childhoods that the King of Fruits has always been so dearly savored by everyone around the world! And if that is the case with you, then you cannot miss out on getting some sour tingle on your tongue! Among all the pickle family that we have on the Island, the one particular that will win your hearts is the Famous Bilimbi Pickle. This fruit might be commonly known as Mimbro or Cucumber Tree or Tree Sorrel is also known for its medicinal properties. But when you are on a vacation, who wants to count the calories? Bilimbi pickle will leave you wanting for more as the taste is quiet peculiar and stands out from the rest of the flavors you have ever tasted.
You can also buy these pickles at a local produce market or a supermarket that might have few of these flavors for sale. But take Bilimbi home with you and you may thank us later!