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.