Reunion Island’s Tree of the Year

Hello everybody, 

It’s already November and the end of year festivities are now uppermost in most people’s minds. It’s a time for celebration and also for reflection. My own memories of Christmas and the New year are interwoven with reading articles, and watching TV specials on the highlights of the year which has come to a close and often having a chance to vote for event, car, song, sports personality etc…. of the year. 

So it was a nice surprise to read whilst surfing the net last week that Great Britain has been looking for contenders leading to the vote to decide one of nature’s most marvellous of creations: its Tree of the year. 

The Woodland Trust is, at present, selecting favourites from over two hundred trees in order to select an overall winner. These favourites include The Major Oak which still stands in Sherwood Forest and was a meeting place for Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Another favourite is the Norfolk Apple Tree under which Isaac Newton sat, caught a falling apple and expounded his theory of gravity. 

I’m sure that everybody who listens and reads this blog will agree that trees throughout the world are a vital part of the planet’s, and indeed our own existence. Trees come in all shapes and sizes inviting mostly reassuring adjectives such as magnificent, imposing, majestic, solid etc. It seems tragic that notwithstanding this, man seems to be intent on cutting the majority of them down thus contributing to a shortage of trees, forests and woods with all the dangers this situation can bring.  The Woodland Trust’s idea is to encourage people to visit and admire trees especially in the nation’s forests and woods. 

So, if Great Britain can elect a tree of the year, why not Reunion Island?  I would like to invite all the visitors to this site to put forward their choice of tree as a prelude to selection at the end of the year. My conditions are; 

1. That it should be obviously growing on Reunion Island. 

2. That it should be growing on public land and not in a private garden. 

There are two or three trees that personally come to mind but I’m not going to say anything. I want this to be your decision. Please add the reasons as to why you have chosen your particular tree. Goodbye for now.

Vocabulary

Uppermost – le plus élevé
Memories – souvenirs
Interwoven – entrelacées
Come to a close – touche à sa fin
Whilst – pendant que 

Highlights – meilleurs moments
Tree of the year – arbre de l’année
Contenders – participants
The Woodland Trust – L’ONF (Office Nationale des Forets)
Over – plus que 

Overall winner – grand gagnant
Oak – chêne
Robin Hood – Robin des Bois
Caught – attrapé
To expound – exposer 

Throughout – partout dans
Notwithstanding- malgré/en dépit de
Thus – par conséquent
Especially – surtout
Put forward – soumettre

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Chocolate DOES Grow on Trees!

There are so many amazing fruits here in Reunion that it’s hard to pick a favourite. Mangoes, dragonfruits, pineapples, and of course lychees all make a regular appearance in my house. But there’s one special fruit that I always buy when I see it at the markets – black sapote.

In English, we also call it « chocolate pudding fruit » because the flesh is creamy, rich and a deep chocolate brown colour. When it’s in season, I buy several black sapotes and take out the flesh, then freeze it to use all year round. It makes delicious popsicles, smoothies and tarts that taste like normal dark chocolate but are probably much better for you!

If you buy a black sapote to try at home, make sure it turns olive green and is very soft before eating it. When it looks rotten and you’re tempted to thrown it away, it’s ready to eat. Just split the fruit in half, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and put aside the seeds to plant your very own chocolate tree.

My favourite recipe using black sapote is incredibly simple. Scoop out the flesh of a ripe black sapote and put in in a blender. Add 2 tablespoons of honey, the juice from 3 oranges ad a pinch of cinnamon powder. Blend until everything is combined, then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before sprinkling with grated orange zest. Bon appetit!

Vocabulary

Amazing – extraordinaire
To pick – choisir
Dragonfruit – pitaya
Flesh – chair
Deep – profond 

To freeze – geler
All year round – toute l’année
Popsicle – glace à l’eau
Make sure – s’assurer
Rotten – pourri 

Throw away – jeter
Split – diviser
To scoop out – retirer
Ripe – mûr
Pinch – pincée 

To blend – melanger
To chill – mettre au froid
Sprinkling – saupoudrage
Grated – rapé

Full Episode Audio

Slow Version

Vocabulary

Downloads (right-click & save)

Full Episode Audio

Slow Version Audio

Vocabulary Audio

Full Text & Vocabulary PDF