Mahe is the largest island, but strolling through downtown, actually feels very small and quaint. Before the young nation developed into a tourist attraction, they were acknowledged by the world as a sanctuary for some of the rarest spices, and flora and fauna on earth. Including the infamous four-spice tree! Spices were consumed in large quantities by the European high society…making their value much more than we appreciate today. The gardens are full of every spice you can imagine and the plants found here have influenced the Seychellois culture and traditions.
Takamaka Bay Distillery
Like most places where the British settled, here on Mahe you can also find a rum of its own kind at the Takamaka Bay Distillery. Honestly this was the best rum I have ever had, which is another reason it can be very dangerous. You can see demonstrations of the sugar being extracted from the sugar cane. The only flavors used in the rum are found on the island making it a perfect blend of flavors like coconut and vanilla.
Coco de Mer
When I speak to the well-traveled professionals and tell them that I traveled to the Seychelles, I often get asked if I saw the erotic nut. Yes, I said erotic. By first looks you are probably wondering why this nut is so prized in the country. Described as resembling a woman’s pelvis, the coco de mer is also said to be an aphrodisiac (if you dare to drink the liquid inside). Only found within the UNESCO World Heritage site of Vallee de Mai on the island of Praslin. Only 25% of the nuts can be sold and the other 75% are replanted. The nut grows on palm trees up to 30 meters tall with an erect, spineless stem with leaves up to 18 inches in depth. Don’t try to sneak one in your luggage, there’s not a chance you will get through customs with an object of such a unique shape.
Now, what do you imagine the flavors of such a small island group in the middle of the Indian Ocean? It is sheer goodness, from the local spices, mix of cultures and passion that the Seychellois put into each dish. I’d like to call it a Creole blend, containing curry, great meat and of course the seafood is some of the best I’ve had. Being 1,000 miles away from anywhere, the island chefs really need to focus on their resources for the freshest flavors and they have achieved this! Whatever cannot be accessed on the islands comes from the Middle East or even Australia.