Explore, Discover, New Caledonia
When the dust settles on the spectacle of the annual Bourail Fair, here are five ways to sample the results of New Caledonia’s farming traditions.
1. Plan your visit for November to take in the action of the annual beef festival, or Fête de Boeuf, which takes place at Paita, just a 20 minute drive from downtown Noumea. You can expect more of the same spectacle as Bourail, with lots of New Caledonia-raised beef to taste test as well.
2. Do a farm stay: La Petite Ferme (The Small Farm) is a 34-hectare working farm owned by Jean-Louis and Annick Bouvier offering accommodation and home-cooked, farm-fresh cuisine.
3. Do some classic French brasserie dining: choose the beef carpaccio starter at La Pirogue in the Chateau Royal Beach Resort & Spa; elbow your way to a table in the always crowded Chez Toto in Noumea’s Latin Quarter for classic steak and frites; or sit under palm trees in a verdant garden setting at the hugely popular La Fare du Palm Beach and order the minced beef and frites.
4. Venison is another staple in the New Caledonian diet; rusa deer were apparently introduced to New Caledonia in 1870 when the governor of Java presented a gift of a number of animals to the wife of the local governor, and the population grew rapidly. Book a table at L’Hippocampe at Le Méridien in Noumea and try the local venison starter, or dine on carpaccio of deer over the water at the Le Roof.
5. Sample fresh local produce at Le Marché de la Moselle, held every morning until 11.30am (except Monday). This is where Noumeans come to shop and chat as fishermen unload their catch, fruit and vegetable producers replenish their stock and butchers carve thick cuts of local meats.
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