Gourmandises créoles, pop-up dinner

Gourmandises créoles, pop-up dinner 

After the success of my two “pop-up dinner”,  in Haslingfield and Balzano’s where my guests were invited to taste the food of Reunion Island, I am coming back on Saturday 7th June 2014.

Although I am a French national, I was born on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, called Reunion. The island is a melting pot of nationalities (Chinese, Indians, Creole, African and French), the food in that sense has been strongly influenced by those rich cultures.

Réunion creole cuisine is fusion food. Therefore on 7th June, I will do exactly that and bring you a 4 course fusion feast, with Apéritif créole (that will include a fragrant cocktail called “ti-punch” and spicy canapés), an avocado and prawn salad, a traditional “cari poisson” (fish cooked creole style) and a very exotic dessert “tarte á la mangue”.

If you want to find out more about Reunion creole cuisine read my blog post ”The food that made me“ 

If you’d like to join us send an email to [email protected] with your name(s), dietary requirements and mobile number.

Price: £25 per person (this event has to be paid in advance), this will include the cocktail. The Geographer is licensed so you will be able to purchase wine, beers and also coffee and tea. 

Where: The Geographer, 103 Station Road, Impington, Cambridge CB24 9NP

When: 7:30 pm until 11:00 pm



I look forward to seeing you!

A très bientôt

Corinne Payet


Gourmandises créoles pop-up

Gourmandises créoles pop-up: Reunion Island cuisine at Balzano’s in Cambridge

Pop Up Resturants

A few years ago, if someone had predicted that I would be serving food from the Island of Reunion to the British, I would have probably laughed.

And here we were, on March 1st 2014, in actual fact my birthday, with a very keen and enthusiastic little crowd from Cambridge and as far as Bury St Edmunds, who had come along to sample Reunion food.

Interestingly enough, some of them had actually made the trip to Reunion 20 years ago, so the pressure was on, not to disappoint.


In, true creole style the party couldn’t start without a good slush of “rhum arrangé”. The rum, was flavoured with local fruits such as sloes, blackberries and Victoria plums, it had been infusing with those flavours since September last year. It was served with our version of Chinese dumplings called “bouchons”, these were flavoured with Kaffir lime, fish and prawn samossas and “bonbons piments” close to a falafel.



Knowing that some of my guests had been to Reunion, I really wanted to bring back memories of their trip, so I had to have the traditional “cari poulet” served with lentils this time. The chicken was provided by Cowlings Butcher.



The main course was “rougail saucisses” (spicy sausage stew) served with rice, butter beans and a mango rougail. In Reunion, we make our own sausages and smoke them, but it was difficult, rather impossible to find them here, so for this recipe I used a Toulouse sausage, made by a local butcher Histon Chop Shop. It was a hit, as people started to ask for seconds, I was not quite prepared for such a response, thankfully I had made plenty, so here we were my husband and I serving seconds.


When the dessert came “tarte au chocolat served with flambee bananas and vanilla cream”, the atmosphere in the room was delightful and full of laughter. A real joy to see.   “How come your bananas didn’t go to mash someone said, how did you manage to have such a thin pastry with the chocolate melting in the mouth”. I simply can’t answer these technically, in France we call it the “tour de main”, instinct I suppose.

The evening started at 7:30 and by 11:00 people were just making their way out with a big smile on their faces and tummies full of food that I think they truly enjoyed considering the empty plates.

Gourmandises Créoles will come to Cambridge again, so if you’re interested in joining us email us at [email protected] and you will be on my mailing list for future events.

Bon appétit

Corinne Payet



La Lentille de Cilaos

La Lentille de Cilaos

Finalising my menu for this Saturday’s pop-up, I thought I’ll take you to Cilaos, one of my favourite places when I visit Reunion Island.

Cilaos is one of the three volcanic calderas that make Reunion that is overlooked by the highest point of the island with the Piton des Neiges.

Cilaos is well known for its near impregnable valley walls and impressive views. If you like walking this could be your paradise. It is also famous for growing one of the tiniest and most delicious lentils in the world, called la “Lentille de Cilaos”, it is a variety that only grows in those mountains. It is also one of the most expensive ones.



The lentil is grown on the slopes and steep sides of the cliffs of the mountains, just looking at the fields makes you dizzy.
The fertile and volcanic soils on which they are grown, give the lentil a very distinctive, earthy taste.
They are hand picked and hand shelled.





They are cooked very simply with garlic, onions, thyme and turmeric and usually served with the traditional cari. If you happen to visit the island, the best way to buy them is at the farmer’s market or direct from the producer.