The Seychelles is a beautiful place. Lush tropical islands in a turquoise sea. White sandy beaches. Friendly locals.
But post-COVID travel will be some way away for us Melburnians. So our thoughts have been straying to past exploits. Like my trip to the Seychelles last year.
Loved it. Loved the local food – curried octopus, octopus salad (I ate a lot of octopus), grilled snapper with creole sauce (I ate a lot of fish), papaya salad. Immersed myself in the scents and colour of the grandly named Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke market – after an ex-governor of the Seychelles – the place to snap up fresh fruit and fish, plus bundles of fragrant locally grown spices.
And not far from the market, there is gelato! An Italian café, La Dolce Vita, right in the middle of the capital, Victoria. With its own gelato.
La Dolce Vita is a popular spot – both with locals and with day-tripping tourists, from the resorts and cruise ships. There’s an outdoor courtyard with shady trees, as well as a large indoor space decorated with colourful murals of the Amalfi coast. Plus the obligatory table with a bunch of old Italian guys who are clearly regulars, enjoying lively discussions and gesticulating over their coffees.
The huge pizza oven is kept busy, but the menu also runs to pasta, salads, burgers, local creole food and Indian dishes. Just like the Seychelles, a lively mix of cultures and cuisines. Our favourites: pasta, pizza and chicken paratha rolls. That was over quite a few lunches, during which we became friendly with the wait staff.
The gelateria is also very popular. When fully stocked the gelato cabinet holds around 20 flavours, however on most of our visits there were only a handful available, which limited what we could sample. It’s disappointing that local fruits aren’t used much, if at all. The gelato had a good creamy texture, but was quite sweet and melted fast – in the middle of the day the weather was hot and humid, so not a total surprise. The pistachio was fine, but some of the other flavours (notably Nutella) lacked intensity. And I always steer well clear of any luridly coloured gelato – like the bright blue Smurf – which suggests a focus on visuals rather than flavour. Prices were very reasonable, however the staff manning the gelato counter tended to be rather brusque.
La Dolce Vita has a second café at Beau Vallon, on the north side of the island.
It may be some time before we get a chance to return to the Seychelles. Until then, it will just be memories, bopping along to some local sega music and exploring the recipes in my Seychellois cookbook.
Finding Italian gelato in the Seychelles was a nice surprise, and while the gelato at La Dolce Vita may not be an artisanal product based on fresh seasonal ingredients, it is a pleasant way to finish off a meal. Special mention for the pasta.
La Dolce Vita
State House Avenue
T: +248 4 32 33 33