I’m not promising…
But I am thinking….
(and I am definitely still baking)
One of my favourite meals to have out is steak-frites (sounds slightly more sophisticated in French!) and while I was in Mandritsara I had the opportunity to dine out at the restaurant in town. There were a few significant differences between dining out in London and Mandritsara…
The first one being that we had to go to the restaurant in the morning not just to reserve the table, but also to pre-order the food so that it could be bought! This somewhat simplified the process of making the decisions as to what to eat – it was steak-frites all round!
When we arrived at the restaurant to eat in the evening, it was clear that such a large gathering of “white” people was the amusement for the local children. Although we were in the “private dining room” the door to the outside world was curtain, so a number of local children kept running in and out of the doorway and laughing at us!
The delivery of food was delayed because of a power-cut. Short interruptions in the electricity supply are quite normal (and the power is off during the night) but it was quite strange to be sitting waiting in the dark for food! Fortunately we had a few torches with us, so it wasn’t total darkness!
Normally I would have a glass of red wine along side my steak, but to complete the Madagascar experience, I instead washed it down with pineapple Fanta, which tasted a little like Lilt.
But, despite those differences, it was lovely to eat out relaxing in good company, and enjoy the food knowing that there was no washing up to do later!
Tags: croissants, Madagascar
Madagascar was a French colony between 1896 and 1960, and I am sure that many people have written eloquent, informed and intelligent articles about the legacy of French rule. I, however, am much more concerned about the practical legacy, which was clearly visible to me on my visit, in the food. In Anatanarivo and Mandritsara baguettes were sold in the street markets: basically the only bread that was for sale. Peter bought some delicious bread that had been baked in a wood-fired oven. But becasue the electicity in Mandritasara is turned off between 11pm and 8am the boulangerie opened in the afternoon not the morning.
My stay in Mandritsara also provided the excuse for Clairelise to order some croissants and pain au chocolat from a lady in the town who makes them at her home. A vast quantity were stashed in the freezer for future treats, but we were allowed some for breakfast on the Saturday. While they were not perfect croissants, they were comparable to a UK supermarket quality!
p.s. There is also a sporting legacy. I was delighted to see teenagers playing rugby when i was in the capital. Petanque is a big deal in Madagascar: Madagascar beat France in the final of the recent Petanque Confederations Cup.