Grandma’s savoir-faire activity is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Domaine Val de Pres. (Seychelles National Heritage Resource Council)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Visitors to the island nation have a new activity to help them experience the Seychellois way of life, through history, culture, and cuisine, not from just anybody but from the wisest group of the society – the elders.
Grandma’s “savoir-faire”, or know-how, is an initiative of the Seychelles National Heritage Resource Council (SNHRC) and allows a group of grandmothers to share the islands’ heritage through a live experience with visitors.
The executive director of the council, Benjamine Rose, told SNA on Wednesday that through this activity Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – is offering tourists something that sets the islands apart from other island destinations of this world.
“Tourists can go to any island for sun, sea, and beach. That is why we in Seychelles must be innovative and offer visitors to our islands something they can experience only in Seychelles,” added Rose.
Rose explained that the Grandma’s savoir-faire activity is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Domaine Val de Pres in the eastern district of Au Cap. The Domaine de Val des Pres was inaugurated on October 24, 1988. It offers visitors the opportunity to visit a traditional Plantation House, a large art and craft village, a Creole restaurant, and an art gallery.
|In the Creole kitchen, all is cooked traditionally, that is, with wood. (Seychelles National Heritage Resource Council) Photo License: CC-BY|
“Tourists have a choice of spending half or full day at the Domaine, where we then have grandmothers come over and offer them a variety of activities, where they get the chance to watch, learn and also take part in the activities and get a real feel of the Creole life,” said Rose.
From learning traditional dances to trying to make objects such as making the kapatya – a recipe made from coconut leaves and having a go at some needlework as well.
In the Creole kitchen, all is cooked traditionally, that is, with wood. Visitors help in the kitchen and prepare spices for the grilled fish, grate coconut for the fish curry or the dessert such as la daube or nougat, and prepare the golden apples for the chutney. Visitors get to also learn to make other treats like papaya jam made the traditional way and condiments such as pickles known locally as “asar”.
After all the preparations, the guests get to savour the different authentic dishes – the fruits of their labour.
Jenna Labiche is one of the grandmothers who comes every Tuesday to participate in this activity. “For me, I am very happy to spend time with the visitors and, more importantly, share our way of life with them,” she said.
|Visitors get the chance to watch, learn and also take part in the activities. (Seychelles National Heritage Resource Council) Photo License: CC-BY|
Labiche told SNA, “As I have retired, I welcome this distraction. Apart from meeting visitors from different countries, I also get to meet with colleagues from other districts,” adding that she also gets the chance to discover and learn things that she did not know before.
Apart from the live demonstrations and experience, the visitors also get to tour the village, visit the souvenir shops and workshops, visit the gallery and Mize Koko as well as Lakaz Rosa,” said Rose.
Lakaz Rosa- Rosa’s House – is a replica of a servant’s dwelling house, which is built of timber on squat stone pillars, it is a modest structure in which a servant slept. The wooden walls are entirely covered with pages of newspapers and magazines including the photograph of the Royal House of Windsor.
Tourists get also to visit the jewel of the village is the Grann Kaz, a beauty of a plantation house showcasing craftsmanship and carpentry with its wooden carved balustrades, from the colonial era.
Grandma’s savoir-faire is a paid event and must be booked in advance. Fees are $50 for a half day experience and $100 for full day.