Wednesday 4 August 2010

Still in Mauritius

This is Stefan, the head chef at Beau Rivage, showing us his impressively well-designed kitchen: a brightly-lit and busy place in total contrast to the relaxing, peaceful restaurant outside overlooking the pool, candles flickering on the tables.

Stefan has a new approach to food, using essential oils to add a subtle new dimension to the flavour: either what he called harmonic, where seven different mints are blended, for example, or alliance, which might join together basil, geranium and pink pepper. It's about scent as much as flavour, science as much as cooking - but the oyster champagne sabayon we ate right there in the kitchen was simply fabulous.

It did help us to make knowledgeable comments, that we'd visited an ylang ylang distillery that afternoon: a primitive affair of wood fire, boiler, hosepipes and glass bottles, reducing 50kg of flowers to just one litre of oil, which is sent from this simple tin shed to the high-tech perfume factories of Chanel. Apparently, two drops added to your daily shampoo will also help with hair loss: you might like to know that.

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