Forgotten Fruit:

The story behind Marie’s pastries


Chef Marie Meunier talks sourcing local, connecting with a community, and stumbling upon rare ingredients

Have you heard of the bigarade? The plump citrus – a cross between a pomelo and a mandarin – had been consigned to oblivion. The first time Chef Marie brings a basketful into the kitchen, she is met with raised eyebrows and open mouths. A few recall drinking bigarade lemonade after school. What else could it possibly be used for? It takes being a pastry wizard to stifle the fruit’s bitterness, and turn sour into sweet. Thus, was born the bigarade tart: a crunchy biscuit base, a citrusy curd, and confit topped with fresh grapefruit.


Marie was only 27 when she moved to Mauritius a few years ago to be the pastry chef at LUX* Grand Gaube. Before that, she had been in the kitchens of the Plaza Athénée and the George V. Despite her young age, she stands true to her belief that your cooking is only as good as the quality of the ingredients used and the spirit of the team. She strays away from the more classic aromas, her curiosity leading her to dive deep into the locale. Why import raspberries when you can handpick goyaves de Chine (strawberry guava) and roussailles (otherwise known as Surinam cherry, Brazil cherry or pumpkin cherry) in the forests and chassés, the local hunting grounds?


The treasure hunt begins… Cocoa is sourced from Josiane Cangy who also cultivates citrus and kalamansi. Then, Marie tastes roselle – hibiscus – jam. It’s le coup de coeur. Lovestruck. Hard to find at first, today the roselle is supplied by Nathalie Baissac, an herbalist. Marie likes to stop by for tea and hear about what is in season. “When we first met, Nathalie offered me lavandin cookies, a hybrid of two lavenders. With the cookies came a crazy idea: why not create macarons with herbs and flowers from my garden, she asked?” From that exchange came a whole collection of macarons with unusual flavours such as hibiscus, curcuma, and combava.

I can't imagine living on an island and not source all of its incredible produce.
Marie Meunier

Marie is intransigent: “Hospitality is human relations. Human connection.” At the opening of LUX* Grand Baie in 2021, she partnered with new suppliers, namely Dhareena and Dharam, vanilla producers. “They welcomed me on their plantation, and right away there was a connection. I felt nothing but fondness for the daughter-father duo.” The shell pastry with its airy vanilla mousse and cremeux honours their friendship. It is also friendship that drives a collaboration with Ruchers de Senneville, a local beekeeper. Honey madeleines and intricate pollen tuiles are a staple of Maison LUX*. Supporting local communities becomes a matter of survival when times are rough. When Dhareena and Dharam struggle to sell their vanilla during the pandemic, Marie commits to sourcing from them only. “I work with all these people because I am deeply attached to them.”


The suppliers of Maison LUX* are invited to discover the pastries inspired by their produce at a monthly event: Pastries & Marie. It is farm-to-fork. Or rather soil to pastry. The story is an important one to tell, and Marie is intent on giving them a platform: behind-the-scenes videos are shot and turned into reels and stories. The chef’s Instagram is a feast for the eyes. This forgotten fruit huntress is currently fascinated by the bilimbi, an extraordinarily sour and tart fruit that grows in the wild… Our best piece of advice: book a masterclass with Marie at LUX* Grand Baie.


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