Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rhum Vanille de Tahiti


Being French but having grown up in Italy, it's always been in the culture of both countries to have the occasional after dinner 'digestif'. Italians are mostly known for sipping their Limoncello or Grappa whilst the French are more into Cognac and Armagnac.
 During our honeymoon in French Polynesia we discovered, what has now become my new favorite 'digestif': homemade vanilla rum.
I'm usually not a fan of flavored spirits but when you make it yourself and have the most delicious award winning Tahitian vanilla from Hotu -Vanilla, it's hard to resist! It's a very easy recipe but you will be sure to impress your guests at your next dinner party.

To avoid major day-after headaches, obviously drink responsibly and use the best quality spirit ;););)

1 bottle of good quality Rum ( I used Havana Club Anejo 7) 
5 vanilla pods

*Cut 3 vanilla pods in half and empty the beans into an empty bottle (picture 3-4-5)
*Place all the pods in the bottle including the ones cut in half 
*Pour the Rum (picture 6)
*Leave the mixture to infuse a couple of days before sipping your homemade vanilla rum

Enjoy ;)









See the video of my homemade vanilla rum on instagram: click here

Monday, September 16, 2013

Raiatea - French Polynesia

During our 2 weeks in Bora Bora, we decided to take a day trip to the opposite island of Raiatea, also known as the sacred island; it's only a 10min plane ride away and well worth a visit!
We had the chance to meet the owners of the Hotu Vanilla plantation, Guy & Odette Tauatiti, who took us around their plantation and told us all about how their award winning vanilla is made, what an amazing experience!! You will be seeing quite a few vanilla recipes on the blog as I seem to have developed an obsession for it ;)

*Young vanilla pods - 9 more months to go until they ripen and can be collected*  

*Vanilla pods are left a couple of hours per day in the sunshine and then wrapped in dense cloth so that they can go through the process of "sweating", thus getting rid of all the water to release the vanilla bean flavor*

*The vanilla pod on the right is not yet ready for consumption as its thickness indicates that it is still full of water and must be dried out to resemble the pod on the left*

*Taputapuatea Marae - one of the most sacred places on Raiatea, believed to the very first Marae dating back to 1000AD*

*Tahiti's famous local dish "Poisson Cru a la Tahitienne" - will be trying this one at home sometime soon!*

Check out more pictures of French Polynesia on my new instagram profile - click here 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bora Bora - French Polynesia

*View of Bora Bora from the plane*

Our honeymoon was by far the best holiday we ever had!!
Throughout the years we have had the chance to travel in many paradise islands, and we live only 2h plane ride away from exotic destinations such as Thaliand and Indonesia but Bora Bora is just the most unique place we have ever been to. 
You are so far from the rest of the world yet the Polynesians make you feel at home with their warm smiles and their enthusiasm in sharing their culture with you.
As much as I would love to share all the hundreds of pictures we took, I made a small selection with some of the highlights as well as a small guide should you be passing by this side of the planet ;)

Getting to Bora Bora:
Air Tahiti Nui flies from Paris (with a stopover in L.A), L.A, Auckland & Tokyo 
Other airlines include Air New Zealand and Air France

All above airlines arrive in the capital of Papeete, from there a short 45min flight with Air Tahiti will bring you to Bora Bora

*Air Tahiti Nui*

Where to stay:
We stayed at the St Regis Hotel, we could not recommend it highly enough, it's truly worth it!

*The St. Regis Bora Bora*

*St. Regis Bora Bora - overwater villas*

There are so many activities to do in Bora Bora:
Snorkeling, diving, swimming with sharks & sting rays, jet skiing, sunset cruise and romantic dinner on a private Motu (island), paddle boarding and many more but it is of course a perfect place to indulge in some dolce far niente enjoying the crystal clear water and powdery white sand beaches  ;) 

*Must see: 
-Traditional Polynesian dance show
-Vanilla plantation (more on this in the next post :))

*Swimming with Sting Rays....*

*...and sharks...*

*...and more sharks!!*

*Snorkeling in the lagoon*

*Polynesian dance show @ St Regis*

*Sunset cruise and romantic dinner on a private Motu*

Where to eat:
I would never have guessed Bora Bora to be a culinary destination, but foodies that we are, we tried to discover as many restaurants as we could, what a treat!!
Being in the middle of the pacific ocean means that you have some of the freshest fish available... mix that with a Polynesian twist and you are sure to not be disappointed!

Here is the list of the restaurants we tried and highly recommend:
-Japanese/fusion: Sushi Take @ St. Regis
- French/ Polynesian fine dining: Villa Mahana
-Iconic/ serves the catch of the day/ feet in sand dining: Bloody Mary's 
-Beach restaurant: Matira Beach 

* Must taste: The traditional Polynesian dish called "Poisson Cru" - literally meaning raw fish - it is mixed with cucumber, carrot, fresh coconut milk, onions & lime

*The catch of the day @ Bloody Mary's*

*Delicious coconut cocktails*

*Villa Mahana*


Check out more pictures of Bora Bora on my new instagram profile - click here