Maison du Curcuma

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Impasse du Curcuma, Plaine des Gregues, Reunion
Maison du Curcuma - Turmeric...known as 'saffron' around here!
Maison du Curcuma - The video viewing area --- what changes this from being a gift shop into a 'museum'
Maison du Curcuma - It is actually a pleasant gift shop with a wide assortment of spices to choose from.
Maison du Curcuma - Turn here (at the small, blue sign) for Maison du Curcuma.
Maison du Curcuma - Here we are...

Maison du Curcuma Plaine des Gregues Reviews

vances vances
461 reviews
Maison Mystery Oct 19, 2011
I was almost ready to write Maison du Curcuma off as a total loser. The entire operation isn’t much larger than a shack (though a colorful and pretty shack), and for all intents and purposes merely a retail outlet for locally grown spices. The woman behind the counter was quite friendly but spoke no English, so I was confused over her gestures which seemed to communicate I should hang around.

So I hung out. There were several rows of folding chairs in back, sitting before a small TV monitor where a video soon began. It looked to be decently produced, but meaningless to moi and only lasted about five minutes. I thought “gee” - all you need is a short video to magically transform a gift shop into a museum, when the credits began to roll. At the very end, the video stopped on a frame with two words: Francais and Anglais.

Sure enough, the counter lady returned and fired the video up a second time, now narrated in English and even subtitled during interviews. My attitude quickly reached positive ground and the video was quite informative, though I was befuddled: it was all about saffron. What happened to the perfume plants? I hadn’t seen any saffron laid out for sale, so I enunciated “saffron” to the counter lady and she gladly escorted me to a heap of bags containing red powder and labeled Curcuma. When I stressed the word saffron again, she tapped the bag where it said “Curcuma Deluxe” and seemed to think this proved everything. Well, this didn’t look anything like the saffron I had purchased for my wife in Dubai and was considerably less costly, but I purchased a bag to further my investigation after returning home.

A comedy of errors explains everything. First, shame on Lonely Planet writers for failing to research subject matter. Curcuma is the plant used to produce turmeric (curcuma and turmeric both have the same derivation), which happens to be known as “poor man’s saffron.” As a cooking herb, the guide book was misleading to identify this as a perfume ingredient. But the locals were equally inept, quite insistent that turmeric was the same thing as saffron (remember the video was only about harvesting and transforming curcuma into turmeric, but consistently called it “saffron” throughout, as was the counter lady when I explicitly asked for saffron).

Bottom line is that Maison du Curcuma is an interesting diversion if you are in the neighborhood, but clearly not a destination.
Turn here (at the small, blue sign…
Here we are...
The video viewing area --- what ch…
Turmeric...known as "saffron" arou…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
vances says:
Really was funny, Brian - "deluxe" seemed to accommodate everything!
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012
spocklogic says:
Ah, but it's “Curcuma Deluxe” - Deluxe Poor Man's Saffron, I guess.
Posted on: Jan 17, 2012
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Once lunch was down the hatch I jumped  back on the N2 for a very short stretch (two blocks?)  and hopped back off onto the D3 to head for the hauts.  Touring Les Hauts de Saint-Joseph…Plaine des Gregues, because it is the highest village in the area with glowing descriptions.  And even with this morning’s mediocre museum experience, Maison du Curcuma

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Maison du Curcuma Map
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Plaine des Gregues
photo by: vances