Gathering “goyages de Chine”

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It is at the beginning of winter that Mauritians, equipped with their “tentes” (woven baskets), plan family trips to pick those deliciously tangy, big or small, red fruits; guavas. These tropical fruits are part of the local landscape and fully ripen in May. They are abundantly present on the Central Plateau, in the lovely region of Plaine Champagne, which overlooks the Gorges and Black River. Wearing trainers and trousers, make your way towards Chamarel and climb up until you reach the beautiful vantage point of Pétrin, where you may take advantage of the parking facility on this steep road. On each side of the road, scattered shrubs form a forest. Get straight into it; you will soon understand the usefulness of the trousers due to the unruly branches. Pathways that are easily accessible are the first to be trodden on. Walk a few metres further inside, where the trees gain in height and reach out your hand. You’ll find bundles of red staining the dark green guava trees. Eat the first ones immediately after picking them, as all Mauritians do. The yellow pulp melts under the tongue, releasing a heady and tenacious flavour. Go on tiptoes to delicately bend a branch and pick a particularly big guava. A bright yellow fruit draws your attention: it is the famous “goyave de Chine de France” (Mauritian copyright), a sweeter and rarer variety. In the midst of this wild forested region, play fruit-seeking as children do and bring back the highest number of guavas. Consumed in jam form or as marmalade, or simply with “disel pima” (salt and chilli), it’s simply sinful. Take advantage of a nice shady spot to enjoy a picnic, and while you’re at it, enjoy a nap in the cool and pure air.