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Bordeaux Blonde’s posts can now be found on www.insidertasting.com/blog

See you there for more food and wine and other adventures!

One of the comments at the end of wine tours is that all we seem to do is eat and drink – no problem there thought I, that’s what your are here for but now Bordeaux blonde has found a solution.
A group of wine and yoga enthusiasts came together last week in the hills above the Dordogne river a stone’s throw from Saint Emilion.

Maison Cayrol is a beautiful small gite in Pujols where Asthanga yoga teacher Alexander Latour introduced us to the benefits of this powerful style of yoga.

Upward dog in the gardens of Maison Cayrol

And these women were taking no prisoners, tasting wine from the the region, including ‘sponsor’ Chateau de Seuil, and visiting farmers markets putting food and wine matching into action and then working it all out on the mat.

Alexander explains the poses

Given their enthusiasm next year Alexander will be back, taking wine and yoga a step further by holding classes in different wineries throughout the Bordeaux. There are more yogis in Bordeaux Chateaux than you would think.

Here’s proof that you don’t to go all the way to Cornwall to get great fish and chips. Tasted at a dinner in the wonderfully renovated Chateau Soutard in Saint Emilion – but the chef was trained in England !

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Oh I do like to be beside the seaside and when Bordeaux Blonde made the most of her trip to the Cornish coast to sample the local seafood, and there was no shortage of choice of venues

Padstow was the first stop, known to many as Padstein thanks to the dominance of Rick Stein in the town. Starting with his Fish and chip shop We worked our way to the pinnacle of the flagship Seafood Restaurant on the next day. As wonderful as the food was a special mention to the fantastic staff who literally went the extra mile for us – they know who they are ! It reflects so well on an establishment when the staff are so efficient, friendly and so very obviously happy in their work.
One of the ‘graduates’ from the school of Stein (amongst others including Roux and Bras) is James Nathan, winner of Masterchef in 2008 James has now an independent chef. He came to the lovely Bothy in Trevone to cater for us and showed that his skills were not limited to fish but happily encompassed a complete range of regional, seasonal and even wild Cornish fare.

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James Nathan explains Cornish Cuisine at The Bothy.

However not all the eateries are Steined in Padstow – the wonderful harbour front tea shop The Cherry Tree, offered a mouthwatering selections of home made cakes and desserts that were difficult to resist and after a 2 hour hike across the cliff top from Trevone I didn’t feel I had to!

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Just desserts at the Cherry Tree after a cliff top walk.

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I sadly didn’t make it to the other side of Cornwall to another fish address on my bucket list; The Seahorse in Dartmouth the current HQ of fishmonger extraordinaire Mitch Tonks after leaving his Fishworks chain in 2007 but a close second I did manage to call into what was his original restaurant in Bristol now known as Rockfish http://. It remains a temple to fresh fish, simply and beautifully prepared, which was the whole ethos of his original vision inspired by Mitch’s background as a local fisherman. After a recent refurbishment the restaurant has a more modern look and a sneak preview of the new wine list showed several new Bordeaux listings – an added bonus for Bordeaux Blonde – red wine with fish anyone? Absolutely.

The food in Mauritius is fabulous, everyone will tell you that. Just like the culture, the cuisine is a wonderful and unique blend of indian, african, asian and european resulting in great creole dishes such as Rougaille, vindaye and roti. These plus the great sea food, tropical fruit, palm hearts, game and even locally grown tea and coffee (don’t get me started on the rum) make it a foodie paradise. However even the most adventurous gourmet is always happy to sample some excellent pasta and, guess what, Mauritius has that too.

Enrico Rodati is the executive chef of the Heritage Resorts on the unspoilt south coast of the island, as his names implies of italian original and this has obviously influenced his staff. Last night chef Carl Rheeroo invited us into the kitchens of Annabella’s at the Telfair resort to experience the chef’s table. He prepared a pasta fest, step by step, right before our eyes, using local ingredients with a very italian twist.


Chef Carl starts the preparations

Pumpkin and potato gnocchi with scallops in a turmeric sauce, raviolis stuffed with local vegetables, papardelle with the beautiful local Camarons (giants prawns) and vielle rouge mal tagiatti.


Preparing the ravioli.


Et voila !

All this in the buzzing atmosphere of the kitchens during the dinner service and accompanied by italian wines chosen by sommelier Olivier Gastal-Pinach and tasted in the quieter tasting room just off the kitchens.

Art on the beach

One thing I didn’t expect to find amongst the white sands and palm trees of Mauritius was fine art. There is a surprising number of international artists that have established themselves on the island, finding inspiration in its mixed heritage as well as its relaxed way of life. There are also local artists that have made fame and fortune overseas before returning to their roots.

Jean Claude Baissac was born in Mauritius but has spent his life in South Africa and Europe creating a fusion art of African and Indian ocean influences and is always keen to use his talent to denounce social injustice. He has now returned home to Mauritius where his brother, Vaco Baissac is perhaps more well known for his bright and more commercial depictions of island life. A similar nomadic story can be told of Simon Back who started life in Zimbabwe before moving to Mauritius where he now works in paint and ceramics creating eclectic abstract designs which he exhibits all over the world.

An untitled work by Jean-Claude Baissac

Not forgetting the ladies, two up and coming international artists recently established on the island are Suzy Tanji Flynn a Peruvian and Sarah Manoukian from France, both of whom use vivid colours and texture in their art.

Auros de Fuego by Suzy Tanji Flynn

So how did Bordeaux blonde find all these artists? Thanks to Gallery owner Christian Mermoud, at 3A The Excellence of Art Christian is Swiss, having lived and worked in art in France has now settled in Mauritius and represents a range of international and local artists over the island. The art world on the island would seem to be a reflection of just what a international melting pot Mauritius really is.

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