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What’s eaten where: Bora Bora

Occasionally, we like to indulge in a bit of office downtime. And it was in one such moment that we all played ‘where-would-I-go-if-I-hadn’t-signed-up-for-the-August-holiday-shift’ and discovered, overwhelmingly, that the place that tops our list is the South Pacific island of Bora Bora…

The name springs from a phrase in the local dialect, pora pora mai te pora, which roughly translates as ‘created by the gods’. By all accounts, Bora Bora lives up to this moniker: completely divine in every way. Granted, it’s not just the endless blue ocean and sparkling sands which make this a corner of paradise… Basically got 30 square kilometres dedicated to indulgent relaxation; a place where your only deadline is an afternoon appointment with a cocktail!

With a culinary tradition based on a melting pot of cultures, Bora Bora boasts a delicious mixture of traditional South Pacific fare and French, Italian and Japanese culinary influences. Most of the food is cooked in the traditional pit ovens, a hole in the ground lined with stones. Food is wrapped in banana leaves, tossed onto the stones, covered with earth and then baked for several hours – and once you’ve done the hard work of preparation, there’s nothing to do but lie back and wait!

Alternatively, you could enjoy the perfect tamara’a, or banquet. A sort of all-round feast, this might include anything from suckling pig, to fish (mahi mahi and tuna are favourite), chicken, crab, fei (Polynesian banana), shrimps, taro, umara (sweet potato), uru (fruit of the breadfruit tree), igname (yams) and fafa (Tahitian spinach). Or you could plump for a simple fish dish – fish are a staple of the island diet, and often marinated in coconut milk before being baked or grilled. Poisson cru is apparently the go-to in Bora Bora: fish marinated in lime juice and served in a salad. And then, for dessert, it’s probably po’e: banana or papaya purée, baked, covered with sugar and drenched in coconut milk.

It’s a diet – and a lifestyle – we’d be happy to try.

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