If you’re a bit of an explorer and a getter-amongst-the-locals kinda traveller, then when you go to New Caledonia, book a slow cooked homemade lunch up in the hill country with a local tribe.
Jehudit (pronounced Jay Dee) and his wife run a small business on their family land hosting travellers for lunch and taking them on a walking tour through the hillside.
The bougna (pronounced boo-nya) is the Kanak version of the hangi. Except it’s different. Here’s what it is…
Seven year old Djaoun is home from school for teacher-only day.
She wields a kitchen knife to chop up the taro and I can barely watch!
Then dad piles the chicken, onions, taro, ignames and seasoning onto banana leaves softened quickly over a fire…
He props the sides up with coconut shells to make a well
Then pours fresh coconut milk over the meal to be slow cooked
Pulls up the banana leaves and ties it neatly into a basket
Then down we go into the garden to place it on hot coals
Cover in more rocks and sheets of gum tree bark. These same sheets have been used for 5 years already. Leave for 2 hours…
And off we go for a stroll up hill, through fields and across creeks to see where the 300-or so from the Napoemien tribe live
The Napoemien tribe meeting house where weddings and gatherings are a regular occurrence
The ironically named Angels Trumpet (Brugmansia x candida) which can cause blurry vision, dizziness, hallucinations and even death. I was told some stupid young people around here take it anyway…
After 2 hours Djaoun, her little brother and cousin remove the hot bark
And with great concentration she cuts away her dad’s knots
Lunch is served.
And this, my friends, is what you can expect at a New Caledonia bougna at a tribe in the north.
Jeduhit and his wife are building this new commercial kitchen where they will prepare their food
Without the kittens that will sneak a lick of a frying pan if they can!
And with my guide Axelle of Toutazimut, which is French for Anywhere, we leave this beautiful family after a really great 3 hours
To book this tour, contact Axelle on her Toutazimut Facebook page >>>
My trip was supported by Aircalin NZ and New Caledonia Tourism NZ. Thanks guys!