Senses and essences
Taste takes precedence
Reunion Island is a true Garden of Eden for fresh produce, and offers its visitors abundant produce and its uniquely flavoured and internationally renowned fruits, including Victoria pineapple, lychee and Bourbon vanilla.
It’s time to head east to the Domaine des Cocos in Saint-Benoît. During a walk through the sugarcane lasting around 90 minutes, visitors can discover the Reunionese crops, the growth and history of sugarcane and vanilla, followed by a fresh tropical fruit tasting session. This delicious journey continues in Bras Canot at the Les Letchis restaurant, in a vast lychee orchard where visitors can sample Creole cuisine. We suggest the seasonal Réunionese mullet curry or the chicken with palm cabbage.
This vegetable lent its name to the Plaine-de-Palmistes, where you can have dinner and stay the night at the Ferme du Pommeau**, facing a cryptomeria forest. The farm’s produce is used in the traditional creole cuisine served at the hotel. And the savage forests of Bélouve and Bébour are not far away…
Delicacies at the Delatre orchard
The next day, everyone meets at the Delatre orchard, where guava trees are grown organically across seven hectares. This typically reunionese sour, red fruit is eaten as a jam with yoghurt or as a liquor, and is just delicious! The tasting sessions is followed by a tour of one of the island’s common forests, home to rare or even unique vegetable essences. At the Domaine des Tourelles, the liquor distillery produces spirits, alcohol-free drinks and sweet concoctions from the Sentarome brand, with aromas including chocolate, lollypop and jam.
An intense experience is guaranteed for the third day, with the Pas de Bellecombe mountain pass route and the island’s most popular observation point at the Piton de la Fournaise. Visitors can walk down the hundreds of steps which lead to the enclosure within the crater, walk amongst the volcanic rocks and experience the feeling of walking on the moon. Be aware that you still need to walk back up to the summit! The relais Commerson will give you a chance to rest while enjoying “péi” style and traditional meals.
After lunch the Plaines (Plaines-des-Cafres, Plaines-des-Palmistes) will immerse you in the strange atmosphere of a tropical mountain village, with blankets of fog and lush, green prairies where herds of cows wander around! The end of the day will be more relaxed, spent at the warmly welcoming Estagnon guesthouse enjoying authentic creole cuisine.
A visit to the Aromatic Garden
The fourth day of your circuit will take you to the Jardin aux Senteurs of the Agricultural Cooperative of Essential Oils, to pay homage to this “agri-cultural” tradition from the 20th century. Here you can discover all the secrets of harvesting essential oils, before lunch in Tampon at the restaurant Ambéric.
At the Domaine du Café Grillé, you can learn about the history of the coffee which, before sugarcane, brought wealth to the island. You will also hear the astonishing story of the revival of “Bourbon Pointu”, a common type of Réunionese coffee which is now used by the world’s greatest Michelin star chefs. A tasting session of the finest coffees will take place at the bar La Savane, before spending the night at the Cocotiers, a welcoming guesthouse with sea views, just a few minutes from Saint-Pierre. And before retiring for the night, enjoy dinner at the creole restaurant Le Vacoa, watching the sunset.
The following day will be a feast for your eyes, accompanied by the artist and painter Florence, who will lead your fifth day of discovery. Florence will present a different approach to painting in her workshop at Etang-Salé. And why not have lunch at l’Été Indien in Étang-Salé-les-Bains or at Le Jacaré in Saint-Louis ?
Experience authentic and unforgettable sensations
Overlooking the Saint-Leu Bay, surrounded by lush natural scenery, the Iloha Seaview Hôtel*** is a little patch of paradise between the heavens and the ocean, on the slopes of the village of Saint-Leu. This authentic and comfortable establishment offers two swimming pools and a wellbeing space for your enjoyment.
For the final day of your trip, visit the Mémoire D'Sens perfume workshop next to the “Tikus Garden” restaurant in Trois-Bassins, accompanied by Tam, the “fragrance stylist.” Here you can create your own fragrance in the open air, on a site with a swimming pool, green space and breath-taking sea views. Enjoy lunch at the “Tikus Garden”, where they serve delicious Creole cuisine and fresh produce from the Indian Ocean.
After lunch, take a tour of the “Angel’s Share” distillery in La Saline, and enjoy a tasting session (in moderation, of course!). And then it’s back to the hotel to complete your journey and pack your bags full of unforgettable memories!