Travel for foodies is a booming niche. Travel Agent is taking a look at the top culinary offerings for lovers of beer, cheese, wine and more around the world. Over the course of this special report we've explored Germany, Austria and France. Now we close with the diverse offerings of the Caribbean.
The islands of the Caribbean, with their myriad cultural influences well seasoned over many centuries, abound with opportunities for great gustatory experiences. Here are two of our favorites.
Belle Mont Farm in St. Kitts
Foodies heading to St. Kitts will not be disappointed by a stay at Belle Mont Farm, a haven for farm-to-table cuisine, health and wellness and just about anything else that encourages a cleaner lifestyle both during and after your stay.
This is not for the first-time Caribbean traveler, however; for one thing, there is no beach here. It is also not the right fit for anyone who insists on an insect-free environment. The hotel is high above the hills and beckons for nature to join the party, so it’s not unlikely for ants or a few small spiders to accept the invitation. Rest assured that the hotel can provide enough bug spray for guests to stay lathered up for the entire stay, if need be.
The food is spectacular, including all-natural produce. We were served perhaps some of the freshest and most flavorful dishes we’ve had in quite some time. Sunday brunch at The Kitchen is popular with guests and locals alike. The hotel’s menu changes almost daily — it is basically at the mercy of the farm. If the produce is fresh enough and ripe enough to serve, it will most likely be on the menu in some way, shape or form. If on a given day French toast cooked in rum is on the brunch menu, tell your clients to do themselves a favor and order two servings.
The resort’s culinary offerings are also very interactive as guests can take tours of the farm to learn about the produce they will soon be consuming and can even forage for mangos. Additionally, The Farm is a new al fresco dining option that exhibits a rustic communal table set amongst organic orchid, vegetable and fruit gardens. Again, it may not be on the menu at the time of your clients’ dinner here, but if it is, recommend the duck and grilled carrots.
Belle Mont Farm has a Farm to Table package that includes unlimited daily meals to Belle Mont Farm’s five dining outlets (alcohol included), accommodations, and Yu Lounge & Airport transfers. Starting rates are $1,600 for a King Guesthouse.
Guests also can arrange for various foraging experiences with Kittitian Hill’s farmers and chefs (including dedicated avocado and mango foraging among others, depending on the season) around the nursery and farm landscape.
St. Maarten is often hailed as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, but Barbados might have something to say about that as it is home to some iconic restaurants from Daphne’s in St. James Parish to the popular Champers in Christ Church Parish. The island is also well known for its Oistin’s Fish Fry, a Friday night must for anyone who enjoys some dancing to go along with their fresh mahi mahi and Banks beers.
Foodies looking for great value should check out the list of participating restaurants on the island that offer a pre-fixed, three-course meal for $50. Some of the notable, participating eateries include Lanterns by the Sea, The Atlantis Hotel and The Lobster Pot.
Puerto Rico by the ‘Spoon’-ful
Spoon Food Tours in Puerto Rico offers a variety of culinary adventures throughout San Juan. Gourmets and gourmands interested in learning more about the food and drink of the island can choose one of the daily tours, special event tours or customize a private tour. Spoon Food Tours is owned by the co-creators of the annual Puerto Rico Restaurant Week (mid/late May), Paulina Salach and Gustavo Antonetti. Agents should e-mail [email protected].
Among their offerings, our favorites are: “Old San Juan Walk & Taste Tour,” in which participants stop by a local café for coffee, followed by pastries from a bakery favored by locals, and a tour of the city’s history and architecture.
“San Juan Drive Around Lunch Tour,” to sample delicious creations while learning about the history and architecture of each stop. The cuisine focuses on comida criolla, traditional Puerto Rican food that is a fusion of tastes from different cultures.
“Sip & Savor Drinking Tour,” for a taste of the island’s most iconic drinks, including Puerto Rican rums and cocktails created by Puerto Rico’s top mixologists. Local dishes are also sampled.