By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert
Bask in the glory of Bora Bora, a destination considered by many to be the most beautiful in the world, thanks to its pristine blue-hued waters, white sugary sand beaches, dramatic volcanic peaks and stunning sunsets.
Nicknamed the “Pearl of the South Pacific” and initially sighted by British explorer Captain James Cook in 1770, this idyllic oasis is in the Society Islands archipelago of French Polynesia.
Being a classic atoll surrounded by smaller islands, one of the best ways to appreciate all that Bora Bora offers is by sailing along its peaceful coast. Choose from a variety of free excursions that feature this amazing perspective, whether it’s a cruise aboard a glass bottom boat that reveals an underwater wonderland and includes feeding the stingrays on the reefs, or sailing aboard a comfortable snorkeling boat to the ancient crater rim of Motu Toopua.
The island’s cuisine has a French twist with Polynesian pizazz and a tropical touch. Pineapple, coconuts, citrus, melon, mangoes, papayas and bananas are abundant and used in sweet and savory dishes. Frothy fruity cocktails and punches are sipping pleasures, as is the beer imported from nearby Tahiti, whether the crisp Hinano Lager or the pale lager Tabu. Sweet potatoes, yams and plantainsgrow here and are common side dishes and seafood of any kind is as fresh and as delicious as can be. Enjoy!
SAIL: Bora Bora. Before sailing away, bring the flavors and flair of French Polynesia home. Tahitian Vanilla adds a divine touch to what you cook and vanilla scented soaps or lotions make nice gifts. Colorful local pareu wraps are pretty bathing suit cover-ups or table runners and hand-carved wooden bowls and serving pieces are entertaining mementos. And indulge in black pearls, a luminescent South Pacific specialty.
SIP: Fruit Cocktails or Punch. Happy hour in this serene seaside setting with spectacular sunsets to match is a daily ritual. The juices and pulp of tropical fruits and the essence of the vanilla bean are infused into rums used as a base for your cocktail of choice. For a non-alcoholic option, sip a Bora Bora, a passion fruit, pineapple and lemon juice blend with a splash of grenadine. Manuia (cheers)!
SAVOR: Poisson Cru (Raw Fish). This Polynesian highlight is fresh tuna diced and marinated in lime juice, then mixed with coconut milk and chopped onions, tomatoes and green pepper. For cooked fish, try grilled Saumon des Dieux (Salmon God), a natural hybrid of a tuna and salmon native to these waters.
Mara Papatheodorou is a Master Foodie, a Tastes & Traditions Expert and a nationally established entertaining specialist. She has interpreted the cuisine and experienced the culture of over 65 countries worldwide. As an 11 year Contributing Editor at BON APPETIT Magazine, Mara scouted and produced the Entertaining with Style section that highlighted how real people entertain around the country and the world and was editor of their international editions. She works as a consultant with food companies developing recipes, menus and promotional campaigns.
Mara is the Tastes & Traditions Expert for Regent Seven Seas Cruises where she lectures regularly about the history of cuisine and culture and what to sip and savor in various ports. Watch her dining and wine tour videos on our website under multimedia. She next sails on the Seven Seas Navigator from New York to Canada October 12-22, 2014. You can read more about her at www.marapapa.com