Welcome to the Rault-Sénèque family estate!
As you leave the main road, you soon glimpse a clump of high trees which announces the property: You are entering the yard of the Rault Seneque family.
Surely enough, their taste for wilderness and raw natural environment was inherited from their Britton ancestors. The road curves around coconut and mango trees to lead you to a façade that hints of decades of traditional culture and moments later a charming hostess greets you from the old fashion corrugated iron door.
The welcome is sweet and while buying your tickets the smell of spices from the cooking plates is inviting. The visit starts beneath the huge and almost centenary “Badam Tree” and the story telling begins with a secret family recipe developed 140 years ago. A few steps take you to the old well which has been refreshing the family for generations. Rising from a small valley the rhythmic stroke of an hydraulic ram sends you back in time.
Going back to the white walled ancient building, the aesthetic 2 metre high manioc tree sways on its stem, only the roots of the tree will be used in the biscuit making process.
As soon as you enter the building, you are greeted by the ancient scale saved after the railway was abandoned. It is still in use to weigh the raw manioc being delivered and the whole place tells about handcraft tradition. The old grater and vice press are witnesses of the practical mind of the forefathers, and of the will to keep the traditional process alive.
Basically, the root will provide the ingredient of all the products. The manioc flour is manufactured through a simple but ingenuous system developed by Hilarion Rault, but a few unpredictable ideas are still to come.
Until recently, in the morning hours, the sole heir, Thérèse Sénèque at the age of 99, liked to supervise the “tricky” part of the cooking and was happy to keep an eye on the whole process. She has been fully active and dedicated until hours before she left this world on the 20th December 2011. Accordingly to one of her deepest wishes, the spirit she had been professing during decades has been handed over and gladly accepted by the next generation. The ongoing tradition of a family member taking over to perpetuate this unique mindset and business is still very much alive indeed.
While tasting the many flavors, in the midst of untamed greens, a family member might come by for a little chat if you have some time to spare. And this is one of the secrets of a long lasting family tradition: In this particular business, a warm greeting and friendliness has precedence over mere profitability.
Amazingly, these specialties dating almost one and a half century back are perfectly adapted to today’s new expectations and philosophy. You will find out about an industry which uses no preservatives or colouring and heats its oven with dried cane leaves and can deliver delicacies which has won the appreciation of those who have tried the path.