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Happy-Gourmand

Holiday in small morsels

We just returned from Jamaica where we put ourselves in reset mode, focusing on storing away some tropical memories for use on stressful days later in the year.

Since we returned home to much more winter than expected, I thought I would share a few tastes of the tropics with you, so we can all forget the blowing snow for a moment and feel the warmth of the sun and the sand.

Starting the day in the tropics is quite possibly the best part. I love breakfast, and I love being warm. Not having to bundle up when I get out of bed puts me in a good mood right away; nibbling on fresh papaya and pineapple feels wonderfully decadent.

Combined with the sweet breads often filled with coconut and fruity Jamaican coffee, this is the breakfast of champions, if you ask me. I think it must have been Usain Bolt’s secret.

My other favourite breakfast is ackee and salt fish. Not everyone likes salted fish, but I suppose, with my Icelandic roots, I have the right palate for it. Sauteed with ackee, a flavourful tropical fruit that can only be eaten cooked, it makes a savoury hot dish that will always remind me of Jamaica. You must try it if you get the chance.

There is a wonderful fishmonger in Kelowna who works hard to offer the best seafood in season. But how can you beat fresh off the boat that day, especially after having seen it live underwater while diving?

We had Caribbean lobster and snapper most days where we stayed, and it was delicious. Caribbean lobster is different than the cold-water variety we are used to eating; it is softer meat and is not quite as sweet. I love it with Jerk butter.

The snapper is tender and delicate, a perfect foil to the tangy escovitch sauce they usually serve it with.

Many people know Jamaica for its jerk spice. This blend of herbs and hot peppers used as a rub or sauce for chicken and pork is as popular as barbecue sauce in North America. That and curried goat are common meat dishes for a main meal, usually served with rice and peas and some kind of squash.

I love the intense flavours and rainbow of colours on the plate.

Dessert is not really sweet in Jamaica, but rather rich. Coconut and dried fruits are common, and pastry is usually quite short and buttery.

Rum cake is what I look for, black as the Caribbean night and studded with rum-soaked fruits and nuts. Gizzaras are delicious too – shredded coconut filling in a tart shell.

Both my hubby and I love to scuba dive, experiencing the wonders of that other world under the surface of the sea. Sometimes a simple taste can be the best culmination of a great experience, and for me sucking on a Jolly Rancher candy after a dive is just that.

The last of the sea’s saltiness and the fruity candy meld in my mind with the memories of nurse sharks, starfish, and eagle rays.

If you are more of a beach lover, then let me paint this picture for you: sipping on a Dirty Banana with your toes in the fine white sand as the waves lap the shore and the sandpipers’ little feet as they run.

The flavours of rum cream and coffee liqueur with milk and ice and a fresh banana are the perfect tropical sustenance.

If you are still feeling peckish, you can always grab a Jamaican patty (the island version of a Cornish pasty, with curried veggies or chicken).

For those who like to venture out, there is the famous Pelican Bar on the South Coast. This rickety shack sits on a sand bar all on its own, and it offers a delightfully rustic environment to enjoy a local drink.

Many choose Red Stripe, but I’m not a big beer fan when it’s hot, so I chose a Dark n’ Stormy (rum and ginger beer).

My thinking was that it’s like carrying an umbrella; nothing will happen if I have one.

In the evening, there is nothing better than wandering down to the dock and watching for manta rays under the stars. You can sip on that delicious local coffee, or a bit of rum cream on ice if you like.

If you’re like me, when you see a shooting star, you wish that you can come back again soon.



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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