Exotic Seychelles, located off the coast of East Africa, is the ninth smallest country in the world. A pilot friend of mine once referred to it as Europe’s Hawaii, and said its dramatic geography takes your breath away. From the photos I’ve seen, he’s right!
Seychelles (pronounced say shells) is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. Just over 80,000 people call these islands home. Most of the islands are granitic (a new word for me). They have huge granite boulders like those seen in the photo. These boulders, combined with the lovely sand, colorful flowers and pristine waters combine to make Seychelles’ beaches among the most stunning in the world.
As you might imagine, Seychelles is a diver’s paradise. The island reefs are blessed with prolific marine life including Butterfly, Angel and Soldier fish, as well as octopus, spiny lobster and a plethora of nudibranchs, such as the Spanish Dancer (see photo). Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of a nudibranch. I’m a diver and wasn’t familiar with the term either. It’s a shell-less mollusk, like a snail without a shell. They can be flat or rounded like a worm and come in amazingly brilliant colors.
The land has many types of wildlife as well. In fact, the island of Aldabra has the largest population of giant tortoises in the world. Amidst the islands you’ll also find some of the rarest flora and fauna on Earth!
All this writing is making me hungry. Time to turn to FOOD! Here’s a great banana-type dessert for those of you with a sweet tooth. (The black things in the photo are vanilla pods.)
Daube de Banane
* 1 vanilla pod, split
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 ½ cups coconut milk
3 cinnamon sticks
3 large ripe plantains
3 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Peel the plantains, cut in half and then half again lengthwise. Place the cinnamon leaves or sticks in the bottom of a pan. Place the cut plantains on top (with the cut side uppermost) then sprinkle the sugar, salt and nutmeg powder on top. Add the split vanilla pod (see note) then cover with the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for a further 35 minutes. Arrange on a plate and serve.
*Note: I don’t know how easy it is to find a vanilla pod in U.S. stores. I may be tempted to substitute a teaspoon of vanilla extract.