Coconut palms thrive in tropical climates, which is why they are commonly found in Mauritius. The tree is nicknamed the “tree of life” because almost every part of it can be used. In Mauritius, the coconut is deeply rooted in religion and is used in many traditional ceremonies and rituals. It symbolizes prosperity, strength and fertility. Palm leaves are also used for roof covering and basket making. The fruits are harvested 12-14 months after pollination.
On beaches or in city markets, you will often come across stands selling coconut fruits. The stand is usually filled to the brim with green or yellow coconuts and inside, a vendor swiftly operates with a large machete or a smaller knife for finer work.
Inside the coconut is a refreshing coconut water, but don’t expect white coconut milk, as it is produced differently. Coconut water is a transparent liquid similar to water, with a pleasant taste.
Once you finish the coconut water, don’t throw away the whole coconut. Return it to the vendor and they will skillfully carve out the coconut flesh – the raw interior of the coconut – with a few machete strokes. Coconut flesh tastes nothing like dried coconut; to me, it tastes like young walnuts. It is a delicate treat.
Fresh coconut is also said to have antibacterial properties, is a rich source of nutrients, and reportedly promotes weight loss. At beach stands, you can buy one coconut for 100 MUR, or about 2 EUR. In cities outside tourist areas, coconuts can be purchased much cheaper. Coconuts can be a healthy and tasty addition to your diet in Mauritius.