The Seychelles – A Lesser-known Culinary Gem

Friday 29th Jul 2022 |

On a visit to the Seychelles, guests typically expect to marvel at golden beaches, turquoise waters and lush vegetation, with the hope of catching a glimpse of the ancient Aldabra giant tortoise. However, few people are aware of the islands’ varied culinary heritage, as well as its range of festivals and holidays, many of which will be taking place throughout the rest of 2022.

Throughout its history, the Seychelles has been home to French, Indian, African, Chinese and British settlers. This mix of nationalities has rubbed off on the food culture, resulting in a variety of dishes and festivals that eradicate any preconception that the Republic is merely a sandy paradise.

Festivals in The Seychelles

From October 24th to 31st is the Creole Festival, a six-day event tailored to food lovers. It celebrates the best of Creole culture, highlighting the Seychelles’ residents’ passion for arts, crafts, music, dance and food. It is celebrated as a conclusion to the Creole heritage month. Further details of this event are set to be announced by the Ministry of Culture.

Every year on June 29th, the Seychelles Independence Day is celebrated. It honours the day the Seychelles gained its Independence from Great Britain in 1976, marking an end to centuries of occupation by a variety of countries. Because it is a public holiday, people enjoy the day off by spending time with their families with meals and picnics. The colourful flag of Seychelles is flown proudly, and the night sky is lit up by firework displays.

Unique Seychellean Delicacies

SeychellesThe Seychelles is home to 30 different types of bananas, an important ingredient in Seychellean cooking. The dessert Daube de Banana, with its palette-quenching combination of vanilla, nutmeg, coconut, cinnamon, and banana, is considered by locals to be truly representative of the Seychelles and the variety of distinctive flavours they have to offer. Ironically, this dessert is usually made with Plantain (abundant in the Seychelles) instead of Banana. Plantains are usually larger than bananas, and less sweet. However, they become sweeter when they are cooked and serve as an excellent base to a variety of sweet treats.

Civet de chauve souris is a distinctive curry that once served as a Seychellean daily stable. It consists of chunks of skinned fruit bat, marinated in vinegar and red wine, and then cooked with herbs and spices. Steamed rice or potatoes usually accompany the dish, and it is known for its unusual taste. Some visitors are hesitant to try it due to the human-like appearance of the fruit bat when skinned, so it is most suitable for the more adventurous foodies.

With more than a thousand different species of fish, the Seychelles offers one of the best fishing grounds in the world. However, because the islands did not have reliable refrigeration until the late 20th century; fish was often preserved with salt. This continues today and has resulted in a delicacy called Poisson Sale, which translates to “Salted Fish”. Poisson Sale is usually prepared in the form of a Rougay, served with a rich tomato and onion base, fried in garlic, ginger, chilli and served with rice. The fish is also popularly used in a coconut curry.

This summer, the enchanting cuisine of the Seychelles will participate in the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival, taking place on the 16th and 17th July in London’s Business Design centre. The festival will feature food masterclasses with trendsetting cooks, talks from famous recipe book authors and demonstrations from big-name chefs. This is an opportunity to learn about the history, culture and cooking heritage of the Seychelles; to find out how a visit to the islands can be a treat for any traveller’s tastebuds.

Package Holidays to The Seychelles

For those keen to sample the Seychellean cuisine and culture for themselves, there are a variety of package holidays to explore. A bit of clever and well-timed research will reveal many different luxurious holidays for those with budgets big and small. Some examples are listed below.

Travellers can enjoy a five-star retreat to the Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa with AwayHolidays. Located on the Beau Vallon beach, this resort offers a 6 night stay in August 2022 from £1939pp including flights. Rooms have private balconies and there is a full spa for guests to enjoy massages and facials.

For those in search of a September getaway, travel company Kuoni offers a large range of Seychellean breaks. Of particular interest is a 5* luxury breakfast-included stay in STORY Seychelles, a boutique retreat that is mere meters from one of Mahé’s best beaches. Customers can bag themselves a five night stay for £3550pp including flights.

Even holidays makers that desire extreme luxury won’t be disappointed. A mid-August booking with TravelRepublic at Kempinski Seychelles Resort will bag guests a private beach with access to an infinity pool, a spa and a double sea view garden room, with breakfast included. Prices start from £5011pp including flights.

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