The day before New Years Eve, my landlord knocked on my door in the morning to ask if I wanted to go on a mission to buy hearts of palms with him in St Philippe. The goal was to make a large salad for a New Year’s party. I figured why not. So we hopped in our car in St. Leu and headed south.
Our first stop was by a waterfall in Langevin where we took a quick swim in the frigid water. On the way out we stopped at a lychee stand where I bought a kilo to snack on during the ride. We asked the lychee vendor where we can find palm trees and he agreed that St Philippe was the spot.
At every road stand we passed I was on the lookout for palm trees for sale but I only saw lychees. When we got to St Philippe, there was still no sign of any Palm trees at the expected places. However I did see a small sign that said « Red and white palmistes for sale, 1€ », which seemed suspiciously low but we knocked on the gate.
The man was super friendly and it turns out he was a gardener and selling baby plants of the red and white palms for 1€ each. He showed me the vanilla he was growing since I never saw it on the vine before and we all had a good laugh. Then we left with some palms plants in hand, of course. However we still had not completed our mission.
We continued through the wild south, passed the grand brûlée and stopped at the Notre Dame de Lave in St Rose to take some photos. Then we decided to stop for another swim at Bassin Bleu in St Anne. Almost all the lychees were gone at this point and we still had not found any palm trees.
Our last hope to complete our mission was to take the Plaines des Palmistes. Finally we found a guy selling some Palm trees! So we bought four. Mission completed! They cost an arm and a leg, but well worth it. I guess that’s why it’s also called the millionaire’s salad- even if you can find them, it’s expensive! Then we went home with the trees but unfortunately no lychees.
We cut up the trees to get to the heart. Then we shredded the hearts to make the hearts of palm salad and used the leftovers for a cari. A hearts of palm salad is pretty wasteful, since it took four trees to make a large salad for twelve. But it was delicious. It was great start to the new year and quite an adventure around the island.
landlord – propriétaire
hearts of palms – coeur de palmiste
goal – but
I figured – j’ai pensé
to hop – sauter
ride – tour
on the lookout – à l’affût
However – cependant
cost an arm and a leg – couter les yeux de la tête
well worth it – vaut la peine
to shred – ràper
the leftovers – les reste