Mauritius Uncovered

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Mauritius Uncovered
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Tea museum in Mauritius

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Tea plantations used to cover large portions of the upper parts of Mauritius in the past but they were then cleared to make way to development and settlement. Few tea plantations can now be seen on the island and that too mostly on the highlands at Bois Cheri; this is where the tea museum which relates the story of tea making in Mauritius right from the beginning till today is found. The Bois Cheri estate is surrounded by beautiful tea plantations, amongst which, is the elegant ex colonial house which has been transformed into the tea museum. The museum is open on Mondays to Tuesdays from 8:30am up to 4pm and from 8:30am upto 13:30pm on Saturdays; while the visit can take up to 2hrs, lunch and tea tasting may fill up your afternoon.

Tea production dates back to 1892 and is one of a kind on the island. A guided visit of the estate (Rs400/person) includes visiting the mansions, the tea museum, the tea factory located on site and the gardens. You may come across planters hand plucking the tea leaves before it is sent to the factory for refinement. The tea museum is furnished with a series of pictures and materials invoking ancient Mauritius and the route of the tea; a 15-20 minutes video is also presented to relate the story of tea production throughout time. The Bois Cheri tea factory which is the leader of tea production in Mauritius is where first hand tea production can be observed while the guides inform you of the different procedures. Also produced on site are rum and vanilla; you will be able to taste those during the making process if you wish and you can also buy gift packs of estate made tea, sugar and vanilla there.

Once done, you can have lunch at the chalet atop the adjacent hill which offers one unforgettable view of the island. It is located about 1km off the museum and you will probably have to drive there. The entrance fee to access the chalet is Rs100/person; this will then be withdrawn from the total lunch bill. The drive up the restaurant takes you through a garden of exotic trees, peaceful altogether with only the chirping of birds. Once at the restaurant, you will be greeted by friendly waiters always on look out if you need them. The menu consists of a wide variety of Mauritian cuisine: meat, fish, chicken, rice, bread to an array of wines.

You can then head off to tea tasting in the adjacent chalet. The terrace overlooks a small lake surrounded by tea plantations or you can choose to sit inside and have your tea. Some 9 tea varieties will be offered to you (vanilla, dark tea, green tea, coconut, jasmine, exotic fruits etc) as well as a jug of milk and hot water. You can try the different teas as you like with the on house scones. You can also have wafers, mousse and other deserts on the menu card if you wish with your tea. Tea tasting is normally included in the guided tour package but you can pay the full lunch recipe (rather than removing the entrance fee) and enjoy a variety of teas instead!
yonne Published 18 Jul 2011

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