Huahine is made up of two islands, Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti and at the point they meet is a lovely small beach at Point Teapaa. We met 64 year-old Suki who is the appointed guardian of the beach and greets everyone who arrives with a wonderful welcoming smile.
We asked to be able to have a BBQ to celebrate Chloe’s birthday and he made it super special for us all. He picked and brought us breadfruit to cook in the fire and special coconuts to make “pain coco”. He then patiently taught us how to make everything. First we we were shown how to make plates and bowls by weaving green palm fronds.
Soon after we were sent to pick certain leaves in particular sizes for cooking the pain coco in. Then we went hunting for coconuts which we hacked through and then cut open and grated in the Polynesian way with a sharp tooth serrated prong thing attached to a wooden paddle which you sit on. There is nothing very elegant about doing this but it works very well.
The rough husk of the coconut was then hit repeatedly until it made a flat mesh which was washed in the sea.
You take a handful of the freshly grated coconut (collected in your newly made bowl) and wring it in your bashed flat coconut husk mesh. The coconut milk pours out through your fingers and into a bowl of self raising flour (all kindly provided by Suki). Suki then appeared with a ‘special’ coconut (not one we could find on the beach apparently) and once opened poured some of its liquid into the mixture, to add the “sucre”, aka sugar he explained. The dough was then kneeded and made into small patties placed between two tree leaves.
Once the fire embers were right, the coco patties were cooked on a grill turning halfway. It appears that Suki has asbestos hands judging how he manages to pick up roasted breadfruit and coco pain with just a couple of thin leaves as token oven gloves.
Meanwhile Russell barbecued some burgers and I’d made some bread rolls so together we had a great feast and all the better for having made it from scratch including the plates!
Suki then set up a game where a coconut is put on a stick 20ft in the air and you take turns to underarm throw stakes and try to hit and stick into the coconut. Needless to say he can beat you in one flick whilst your stakes flail hopelessly. He also kindly let us all have a go in his outrigger canoe. As this is his only means of transport, which he canoes 3km each day and night to look after the beach it was very trusting of him. He is no whipper-snapper but is strong as an ox. His slightly rickety outrigger was super light and fast and it took me back to my Hong Kong days and the island paddle club. Russell took three strokes and promptly capsized! Unlike dragon boating, if you lean and reach out too far – you capsize. Even the kids had a go and had great fun paddling round the bay. It was so kind of Suki to let us use it.
The fire roasted breadfruit was a delicious smooth smoky taste. The pain coco were gorgeous, even if you are not a coconut fan, they taste a bit like a slightly sweet melt-in-your-mouth delicious scone. We will definitely be making them again!
Back on board we had the neighbouring boat over for drinks, homemade birthday cake and millionaires shortbread made with the last of our Bocas del Torra “chocolate boys” scrumptious dark chocolate.
A great foodie day with wonderful Polynesian hospitality.
How do we top that for Russell’s 50th birthday in a few weeks?!