The beach BBQ is a mythical and mysterious idea for someone coming from Scotland. A legendary event we read about in books and see in tv shows in far off lands where it’s dry for more than a day and where the clouds of midges don’t drive you off the beaches as soon at 5pm sharp. Unlike the drizzly, damp, often sulky alfresco cooking experiences of childhood a beach cook out is something to look forward to when living on a tropical island.
In Mauritius it is a given that on any bank holiday/long weekend- there are at least three a month I swear – everyone will pile into their car and make their way to the beach. Proceeding to build their weekend home out of tarpaulin, tents and trusty camp grear. Whole families move their life temporarily onto the sand to cook, swim, play and gossip a la mere.
So for us, it would of course be rude not to embrace local tradition. We doggedly trundling our way down to the beach escorted by our portable BBQ and more sausages than the Bullingdon Club and immerse ourselves in the wonder of beach living. Unfortunately, we are not quite as pro as we may like to think and it still takes a good hour to get out little stove to light (Top Tip: a great bonding technique is all standing round blowing on the glowing embers of your BBQ whilst starving to death because you have already eaten all the bread as everyone failed to bring nibbles.)
Once the fire is going and we have sufficiently smoked out anyone with in 20 yards we begin to stuff ourselves with the flame grilled steak, chicken wings, ribs, sausages and the token grilled vegetable. For desert we have rum. At first we approach it sensibly, mixing with local mango juice while discussing the delicate flavours then before you know it you are swigging from the bottle and giggling like a twat about farts.
Any good BBQ on a tropical island has to be rounded off by sinking into the sea, lying on your back and being engulfed by the dark, emptiness (hopefully) of the ocean behind you while tumbling face first into a star filled sky in front, painted with billions of shooting stars and a moon so huge you swear you see it winking at you… but that might just be the rum.