From October 14 to 23, the paradisiacal circus of Cilaos in Reunion, 10 km in diameter, celebrates the greatest wealth of its heritage. The Cilaos lens is, it seems, the best in the world. In homage to this true gastronomic and cultural treasure, the heart of Reunion is racing for ten days of festivities dedicated to small pulses. An event with an authentically local flavor ...
Cilaos, land of the best lentils in the world
The circus of Cilaos, which has nearly 6 inhabitants, would take its name from a Malagasy expression meaning "that one never leaves". Could this be an allusion to the attractive force of the lenses that grow there? From the end of the 300th century, the lens was one of the elementary agricultural resources of the circus. Even today, its cultivation remains one of the first economic activities of Cilaos. Perched at an altitude of 1 m, the circus benefits from a luminous atmosphere and a cool, dry climate, fed by periods of heavy rain. In short, the ideal breeding ground for the tastiest lentils.
It is also necessary to take advantage of these natural properties of the Cilaosian soil. Because even the most fertile land cannot replace the essential traditional know-how. Start with planting. Under the April sun, with their backs bent for hours, the lentil sowers deposit each seed in the earth by hand, and then carefully fill the holes. In September, when the time for uprooting arrives, it is again manually that the harvest is dried and threshed. Then comes the mandatory step, prior to putting on the kitchen apron: sorting the pebbles, to prevent the lens from crunching to the bite ...
Obviously, in the art of cooking lentils, Creole restaurateurs have the means to achieve the ultimate in taste quality. Without revealing the secrets of the great masters, here we give you two pieces of advice straight from Cilaos: lime-free water and never salt before the end of cooking.
We could not remain insensitive to this exceptional heritage. Especially when competition from agricultural industries, little concerned with quality and traditional know-how, begins to endanger regional players in lentil cultivation. Local producers, those who cultivate legumes authentically, have even formed an association with a view to safeguarding this delicate wealth.
So for four years, we have been celebrating lentils in Cilaos. This year, the event will take place from Friday October 14 to Sunday October 23.
Ten days of entertainment offered to the lens
Start with a fanfare for the first day of the lentil festival: against a background of brass, the majorettes will parade to the rhythm of Creole percussions. It is perhaps among these acrobats that the happy bearer of one of the most coveted titles of the Cilaos circus hides: at the end of a fashion show, on Friday the 14th, under the aegis of Miss Réunion , we will elect the young lady who will proudly wear the scarf of the queen of lenses 2005.
For this great popular festival, no generation is forgotten. The youngest will make their first vocalizations in the karaoke for children on Wednesday afternoon. With, as a reward, soft toys three times the size of them. On Thursday, after a rather early ball (start at 9 a.m.), the elders will be in the spotlight with the election of Miss Grandma. Finally, advice to budding artists of all ages: a hook radio will open its podium to all young talents of Reunion. The red thread of this lentil festival, the semi-final of the competition will take place on the first Sunday, and the long-awaited final will be held on the last day of the festivities, October 23.
The lentil festival is also ten days of daily quizzes, concerts by local groups to happily fill your head with Creole notes and comedy shows with an irresistibly singing accent. And above all, the opportunity to vibrate on the popular sega, this music originating from the slaves of the Indian Ocean, which harmoniously combines melody, song and dance, without forgetting to put your legs in the rhythm of the moringue, energetic mix dance and martial arts.
Or sleep ?
- Gîte Ti Case Lontan Corré. Phone. : 02-62-31-80-30. Internet case-lontan.com. In the center, two Creole huts full of color, and undoubtedly the cheapest address in the village. Very warm welcome, great backpacker address.
- At Lucette Jaunes. Phone. 62-31-74-18. Three bedrooms on the ground floor, with double beds and bunk beds. A good homestay address.
- The Clair de Lune River. Phone. : 02-62-31-88-03. In the center. A dormitory with ten beds, two double rooms and one triple; the sanitary facilities are shared. This large, warm house is a friendly place that owes a lot to its “no-brainer” personality.
Where to eat and have a drink?
- Cass'Dale à-Joncs kiosk, facing the pond. Open daily, noon and evening until 20 p.m. Sandwiches, corks, samosas and homemade desserts ... We eat on tables in the garden facing the pond.
- Auberge du Hameau: 5, chemin du Séminaire. Phone. : 02-62-31-70-94. The hostel has really inexpensive menus. We eat well, inexpensively, and the welcome is very kind.
- Restaurant at Stade Louis. Phone. : 02-62-31-75-09. Open every lunchtime, and sometimes in the evening. Small Creole restaurant, away from the tourist bustle, friendly welcome and typical cuisine.
- Cilaos Tourist Office: 2, rue Mac-Auliffe (in the center). Phone. : 02-62-31-71-71. Fax: 02-62-31-78-18. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 13:30 p.m. to 17:30 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Also consult the website of the Cilaos town hall : www.ville-cilaos.fr.