The Island’s cuisine is making waves across the globe
Growing up, you may recall your parents or teachers offering advice on potential future choices, whether it involved education, relationships or careers. Critical and forceful as these conversations may have been, they would invariably close with a light at the end of the tunnel to be trudged . . . follow this path and “the world is your oyster!”
This idiom held one meaning for many of us, which was that hard work and time would open a world of wealth and happiness even if you begin with nothing. Much like an oyster that starts with nothing, but with effort and over time it produces a beautiful treasure in the form of a pearl.
Travelling is one of those desired choices many of us foster from young adulthood. And thanks to many hours spent in the office, saving for that sunny day abroad rather than a rainy day at home and improved infrastructures, many of us have realised the opportunity to visit countries throughout the world and return with experiences and memories to treasure and share. Integral to a majority of our travelling memories are the experiences we have with the cuisines of those countries we visit; how the colours, smells and tastes that embed themselves in our reminiscence and influence our attitude towards the place and its people.
Fortunately, information about those destinations and cultures we would dearly like to experience, but have not or may not ever have the chance to enjoy is abundant through the World Wide Web and international media. Mauritius is a perfect example of an island country, highly popular and publicised as a tourist destination because of its scenic beauty and remoteness, but its indigenous cuisine seemed like that oyster pearl — always accumulating and appreciating, its wealth unopened to the world.
The explosion of information regarding food from around the globe has been astounding over the past decade and this has helped Mauritius cuisine become a firm favourite among travellers, chefs and food critics alike.
Winner of Britain’s MasterChef 2012, Shelina Permalloo, is of Mauritian heritage and it was her knowledge of the Island’s spices that helped her achieve the accolade.
According to an article featured in the Daily Telegraph, “she [Permalloo] has been going back to the island regularly for years to visit family – and to develop her repertoire of recipes inspired by the cooking of its cultural mélange.”
Food expert for the popular US publication, The Huffington Post, Divya Gugnani wrote an article titled “Have Food, Will Travel: Top 5 New Culinary Destinations,” in which she describes Mauritius cuisine. “Many [Mauritian] dishes are prepared with the diligent technique of the French combined with spicy flavors of the islands; such as gateau piment, a deep fried split pea paste flavored with chili.” If you need more evidence of media appreciation for Mauritius, a simple internet search will provide a plethora of plaudits for Mauritian cuisine and recommending the Island as a place to sate any desire for good food!
So, the idiom is true after all. The food of Mauritius has laboured as a hidden treasure, but we can all be grateful that the world now understands its beauty and value.