Reunion Island – Add Creole Food to the visiting experience

Reunion Island is well known for its spectacular sights, oceanic splendour and an active volcano that lures visitors from across the globe to its sandy shores. Only a short 4 – hour flight from Johannesburg or a 10 plus hour flight from Europe with Air Austral, Reunion Island is the ideal getaway destination for visitors who want to indulge their senses.

Reunion Island boasts an array of activities that will entice even the most seasoned of travellers, however, it is the rich cultural heritage and local cuisine that tempts foodies to embark on a culinary adventure! Amongst the forest villages and local towns, travellers can find some of the most delectable treats on the island. Saint Paul’s Market is a must visit for every traveller in search of fresh fruit and delicious spices that will have taste buds dancing in delight. At the market, foodies can enjoy seasonal fruits such as lychees and longan fruit, both deliciously sweet and available between December and January. Other fruits that can be enjoyed include the small Victoria pineapple which is available all year round as well as the enticing Goyaviers, also known as the strawberry guava, available during the month of May.

Reunion Island’s cultures and cuisine are as diverse as its landscapes, offering something of everything for everyone. Foodies who prefer a more savoury dining experience can dig into some delectable dumplings or samosas paired with a light tropical punch. This tasty combination exemplifies Reunion Islands’ Chinese and Indian population’s heritage and can be found at any of the markets or local food sellers.

From crispy samosas to a spicy experience, Reunion Island is a land filled with different flavours. These flavours often come in small bite size delights such as the tiny “piment-zoiseau”, chilli often infused with blood pudding or added to a fiery sauce called rougail, which accompanies a main dish such as a traditional curry. Reunion Island’s curries do not simply stop at “one size fits all”. Local chefs instil flavours enriched by their history and the Creole way of life into the dishes that, at times, can be down-right spicy or, if preferred, simply delicate on the palate.

Exotic delights can be found in various restaurants in the form of "Brèdes" – edible leaves and stems of different plants (chouchou, Chinese cabbage, pumpkin or mushroom…) that are served fried with garlic, ginger, onion and some chilli peppers. This dish certainly opens up the taste buds to new possibilities and flavour combinations!

More elegant taste experiences can be enjoyed with some of the newly produced and diverse cheeses and red or white wines, which originate from Cilaos, ensuring the perfect pairing to end off a foodie voyage on La Reunion!

For foodies who want to explore the tastes of Reunion Island in the comfort of their home, we have a range of recipes that can be tried and tested to cater for those family feasts.

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