Expedition No. 12 - MADAGASCAR MARKETS

Hutch had never driven an open top vehicle before – not on land at least – but he had to say it was a deeply satisfying method of transportation for experiencing the unique diversity of this beautiful island.

Thus far he had delighted at playful lemurs, chuckled at colour-changing chameleons and beamed at towering Baob trees. Now it was time to set his sights on an altogether different attractionwhere surely the local cheese could perchance be equally as exotic.

The place to find out, or so he’d been told, was Analakely Marketand before long he was in the midst of a narrow street lined either side by colonial buildings. Nestled beneath them were a veritable rainbow of parasols, and underneath those again a profusion of market stalls, their wicker baskets brimming with goods both weird and wonderful.

“Hmmm, where to start,” thought Hutch and resolved to sniff out some of the aromatic smells that were now permeating his sensitive nostrils.

As it turned out, Hutch’s sixth sense served him extremely well. Not ten stalls along his keen eye was drawn by something strangely familiar, and yet not. There behind the fresh pears, crisp hazelnuts and vanilla pods sat a glorious wheel of fresh cream cheese.

“Are those ingredients…?”

“All in the cheese, monsieur,” confirmed the wise old stall owner. “Here, taste.”

Hutch could hardly contain himself as the creamy smoothness danced with the fruit, and the sweet vanilla contrasted so perfectly with the crunchy texture of the nuts. He just knew it would delight the people back home, especially accompanied by a fruity Pinot Noir, a full-bodied Cab Sav, or perhaps a Chardonnay.

“That, sir, is a Madagascan medley worth writing home about,” he told the contented stall owner. “Or better still, worth sending home about. Hold it right there while I fetch my Jeep.”