The Domaine de La Reserve Hotel on Praslin last Friday hosted the Organizing Committee of the Praslin Culinary&Arts Fiesta for their final meeting before the official launch of this innovative celebration next Friday, September 5, at L’Amitie in the Grand Anse District.
Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, accompanied by Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the islands’ Tourism Board, and Hon. Natasha Esther, the elected member of the Seychelles National Assembly for Baie Ste. Anne Praslin, met with the Fiesta’s Organizing Committee in the conference room at the Domaine de La Reserve Hotel. Hotel owners and managers, kitchen chefs, the Officer in Charge of the Police for the islands of Praslin and La Digue Islands, Tourism Academy lecturers and management, head of the Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve, District Administrators from both Grand Anse and Baie Ste. Anne Districts, Land Waste Management representatives, and members of the islands’ business community were all present to go over the final plan of action and program for the fiesta on Praslin.
Minister St.Ange started the meeting by thanking Praslin as a whole for their support and for all the help to make this event on their island of Praslin the success it deserves to be. “All eyes are on Praslin. You have been asking for a Praslin event, and now you have it. How big or how small it is and becomes will depend on Praslin. This is your event, and this event will work for your tourism industry and help get the name Praslin more visible which will keep your island relevant in the world of tourism. Praslin is today showing that you are thinking outside the box and that you want to be known as the tourism destination where good food and the arts will marry the natural assets of the island and offer visitors a holiday with a difference,” the minister said.
Mr. Joe Albert, the Chairman of the Cat Cocos Ferries Group and of the DMC Creole Travel Services, used the meeting to announce special rates for the Cat Cocos Fast Ferries for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for everyone buying a return ticket from Mahe to Praslin. “A return trip, Mahe – Praslin – Mahe, will be only 250 rupees, and for upper deck classes the discounted rate will be only 400 rupees. We have promised and we are now saying that we shall deliver for Praslin, because we want the Praslin Culinary and Arts Fiesta to be a real success,” Mr. Joe Albert said.
Minister St.Ange encouraged everyone to book their ferry seats early to avoid disappointments, because the feedback is that large crowds will be traveling to Praslin this coming Friday and coming back Sunday.
The Fiesta’s Organizing Committee confirmed the fishing competition, a mini Mahe boat race, a Marathon, a beach party, a SEYMAS Moutya Show, an arts exhibition, and cooking competitions in professional and non-professional categories. The SBC (Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation) will also be conducting their roadshow from Cote D’Or from Friday to Sunday bringing all the happenings live on radio for the whole of Seychelles to follow this first edition of the Praslin Fiesta.
Members of the Fiesta Organizing Committee were treated to a special treat during the meeting when the Tourism Academy’s Richard Mathiot invited everyone to taste a homemade Coco de Mer kernel jam. “We are now using only the part of the Coco de Mer that is thrown away when the kernel is being prepared for export. The softer inner part of the dried kernel is normally cut out and thrown away, because this part changes texture and gets moldy easily; it is the part we used for making this unbelievable jam,” Mr. Richard Mathiot of the Tourism Academy said.
Bread rolls, tarts, ice cream, jams, and more have now been made from the kernel of the unique Coco de Mer and everyone heading for Praslin for the island’s Culinary&Arts Fiesta will be in for a special treat of a lifetime.
Seychelles has been exporting annually a minimum of a ton of Coco de Mer dried kernel to China. Officially, approximately 150 to 200 Coco de Mer is cut up a month, and each nut gives about 10 kilos of dried kernel, out of which one full kilo is soft or semi-soft and has been thrown away and left to rot. The Praslin Culinary&Arts Fiesta has shown that Seychelles can actually use it unique Coco de Mer recipes to the fullest and hopes that the 150 to 200 kilos per month of soft or semi-soft of the dried kernel that has been thrown to the garbage heap will now be collected and used to develop a new cottage industry for Praslin.
Everyone is invited to the island of Praslin this coming weekend from September 5-7. Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) . More information on the Seychelles Minister and the island’s tourism industry may be found on: www.Alainstange.com