The Taste of Air Tahiti Nui
23 August 2022
In December 2022, Air Tahiti Nui offered chocolates with a subtle taste of the Tiare flower on its flights, made by the talented Morgane Richard of Tahiti Origin by M.
Given the popularity of this special delicacy with our customers, Air Tahiti Nui has decided to include the chocolates all year round in its gourmet café in Poerava Business class on the Paris - Los Angeles leg. Thanks to the new special moulds created in the form of the company logo, passengers are now offered chocolates in the Tiare Tahiti form. Is it the first company in the world to have taste? It has, in any case, a logo you can munch on.
Air Tahiti Nui and the journey of the five senses
A trip to Polynesia with Air Tahiti Nui promises to awaken your five senses long before you set foot on warm Tahitian soil, the welcoming great island that opens up to the 5 Polynesian archipelagos.
It all starts with the eye and some striking features:
• the blue and green livery of the plane that will whisk you through the skies towards the sweet Polynesian latitudes
• the white of the company logo, composed of a tahiti tiare flower, whose heart presents the gentle image of a Vahine
This initiation to Polynesian travel continues with touch: first contact with Air Tahiti Nui is the present you receive on entering the cabin: a Tahitian tiare flower, emblem of the Polynesian islands.
Next comes hearing. This sensation starts with a crystalline sound, or rather that of a clear, lively, joyful and airy note: that of a ukulele, a small guitar that accompanies Polynesian songs and which sets the tone as you board the plane.
With Air Tahiti Nui, this third sense is also notable for the silence of the cabin during flight: in the quiet of the night, while snuggling in your comfortable seat watching your favourite programme it is possible to hear a petal fall.
The Tahiti tiare flower awakens your olfactory curiosity. This is an essential moment of your journey through the land of the senses. It is a sweet and almost warm subtle fragrance reinforced by delicate, velvety citrus fruits, producing a soft and airy freshness. This fragrance transports you right to the South Sea islands
All that remains is taste… Perhaps our logo has a taste?
Sight, touch, music, fragrance... your journey with us has gradually taken shape. All that's missing from this Air Tahiti Nui feast of the senses is taste, the final expression of your trip to Polynesia. But what taste can the company of the tiare have? Morgane Richard, creator of Tahiti Origin by M, wanted to take up the challenge of giving Air Tahiti Nui a taste.
The flight of the taste buds
Morgane Richard does not only produce chocolate. Her company, Tahiti Origin by M, produces unique chocolates from Polynesian pods, and cocoa from the South Pacific in general, which reflect the terroirs where these giant cocoa trees grow.
The Polynesian version offers a fruit with exquisite flavours of toasted bread and roasted dried fruit. Biting on her chocolate or tasting one of her creations is a gourmet experience, a journey for your taste buds. From there to designing a companion for a flight, there was only one take off direction for Morgane in her proposal to Air Tahiti Nui.
Morgane has always loved exploring new flavours and associating them with chocolate. She recalls: "I had already worked with flowers, such as hibiscus, and jasmine in Vietnam. However, such associations are not always easy. The taina for example would probably be too strong. You always need to find the right balance." A balance that Morgane worked on for the Tahiti tiare.
The symbolic flower of Air Tahiti Nui
"I love this flower, it has a bewitching scent that reminds me of my childhood. The idea came to me one morning that I should create a chocolate with the tiare flower." One idea led to another and she thought of offering it to Air Tahiti Nui. Logical as the Tahiti tiare is the symbol of the company. "I wanted to thank Air Tahiti Nui, which has supported me since my launch. I wanted to offer them something unique.
"A simple, unique and really good combination"
Morgane has long been familiar with other products made with the tiare flower, especially jams. But she could not find the finesse, the real identity of this emblematic flower. She then bought fresh flowers at the Papeete market. Back in her lab, she infused the flowers with her cream to make a ganache. The second attempt turned out right. Within a week, Morgane found the right balance of taste that respects both the identity of the flower and the identity of the chocolate.
A local raw material to make a chocolate that is always 100% local
She chooses her flowers from the purest possible: they come directly from Maiao, a wild island south of Moorea. "These are very beautiful flowers with a beautiful fragrance, and they arrive very fresh." Of course, this makes the process tricky, but it is essential as the dried flower has a different fragrance. To retain the subtlety of the fragrance of the flower, to ensure the conservation of the chocolate and to preserve all its gourmet sensation in this unique combination, Morgane chose to make a ganache.
When she offered the Air Tahiti Nui team her tiare chocolate, it was a revelation. Her creation evokes a flowery taste, like that of tea, while bringing out the toasty personality of Polynesian cocoa and the unique identity of the tiare flower.
A divine flower for a sacred fruit
For the Indians of the Caribbean such as the Aztecs and Mayas of Central America, the cocoa tree and its fruit were sacred and their uses defined. This is why the Spaniards in 1495 gave it the name Theobroma cacao, Greek for the food of the gods.
However, for the Polynesians the Tahitian tiare was also a sacred flower before they met the Europeans. Its use was reserved for the ari'i (chiefs and their families). When royal weddings took place, the houses ("fare") and the couches were lined with thousands of tiare flowers which brought the blessing of the gods.
Cocoa and the Tiare Tahiti combined in an exclusive chocolate is without doubt a sacred alliance.