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Tunisia Grand Chapitre

Sousse, November 22-24, 2012

Tunisia’s third Grand Chapitre got off to a great start with an evening of cocktails and canapés dedicated to the theme of ‘1001 flavours’ at the First bar of the Mövenpick Hotel Marine & Spa, Sousse’s most prestigious hotel. A fantastic selection of champagnes and regional wines was served by the more than capable team, led by Maître Hôtelier Hassen Chaouech, Assistant Managing Director.

The following day, our foreign visitors, accompanied by members of the Tunisian Chaîne committee, set off for a tour of Kairouan. The third most important holy town in the Islamic world, Kairouan is also known for its delicious pastries: ‘Makroud’. After exploring various monuments and historic sites, a typical Kairouan meal was served up on the battlements of the old town.

In the evening Tunisia’s Bailli Délégué, Ezzedine Chaieb, invited us to his restaurant, L’Escargot, to enjoy delicious treats whose recipes are closely guarded.

The next day it was time to begin the hunt for flavours at Sousse’s medina, with a tour of the souks of course. This included the opportunity to taste local delicacies (such as fritters, prickly pears, dates and clementines), not forgetting a demonstration of how Berber bread is made. The sensory adventure ended with a tasting session of freshly pressed virgin olive oil in a local oil mill.

On Friday night, at the Restaurant Le Méditerranée in Port El Kantaoui, we were treated to a menu packed with regional flavours presented by Tunisia’s Argentier Hattab Sayadi and his team, served with a 2011 Magon rosé, a 2011 Secco Bianco and finally a 2010 Merlot.

On Saturday a trip to the second largest amphitheatre in the world in El Djem was followed by a tour of its famous museum which houses mosaics dating back to Roman and Byzantine times.

Later on we headed to the recently restored Sousse Museum, home to one of the world’s most stunning mosaics, dating back to the 3rd century B.C. This unique, magical place was chosen by Bailli Délégué Ezzedine Chaieb and his team as the venue for the Induction Ceremony. The event, presided over by Benoît Fragnière, Member of the Conseil d’Administration from Switzerland, was suitably dignified.

After the ceremony, Maître Hôtelier Peter Schoenenberger, Managing Director of the Mövenpick Hotel Marine & Spa, invited us to a cocktail reception at the Villa. The complex’s prestigious restaurant was a splendid venue where the champagne flowed freely.

The tone was set for a magnificent Gala Dinner. A fabulous mosaic of sophisticated dishes, an explosion of flavours, each more divine than the last was concocted by Chefs Rôtisseurs Ameur and Chehida. These divine dishes were partnered by an excellent selection of wines: Kuribis Blanc de blanc Chardonnay, followed by a 2010 Muscat of Alexandria, then a 2007 Vieux Magnifique Syrah and finally a 2007 Passum de Magon Muscat of Alexandria, served by Maître Restaurateur Ayad and his team.

The Dinner ended with the presentation of a new collection of Tunisian haute couture! It was a truly splendid occasion.

On Sunday… only the thought that we might one day come back to this magical place could console us… as it was time to say our goodbyes…

Ezzedine Chaieb, Bailli Délégué