Taste the creole cuisine of St Lucia
‘Mango, banana and tangerine… sugar and ackee and cocoa bean.’ Ursula Andress had it right when she sang this in the Bond film Dr No. The exotic tastes of the Caribbean – from sun-ripened fruits and pungent spices to succulent seafood – are exceptional, and where better to enjoy them than on the dramatically picturesque isle of St Lucia?
St Lucia is creole to the core. A mix of French, British and African pervades St Lucia's language and, of course, its cuisine. Tuck into the likes of pouile dudon, a chicken stew with treacle and coconut, or féroce, a crab-back dish with chilli. Visit St Lucia January and you’ll catch the annual St Lucian Food and Rum Festival (foodandrumfestival.com).
Although historically St Lucia has lagged behind other islands in top-notch dining, things have changed in recent years. The Cliff at Cap, the new Cap Maison’s dining room (capmaison.com), is leading the way, offering superb contemporary cuisine (with some creole touches) in a lovely setting above the sea. Other favourites are the Coal Pot (coalpotrestaurant.com), which serves French fare on Vigie Cove, or the Edge (edge-restaurant.com) for its ‘Eurobbean fusion’ cuisine and views over Rodney Bay. But the finest setting of all has to be at Dasheene, the open-sided dining room at Ladera (ladera.com), with views of the Piton mountains. Celebrated chef Orlando Satchell, a champion of Caribbean cuisine, has an imaginative take on local fare with fresh fish and home-grown produce featuring prominently.
But you don’t have to dine in a fancy restaurant to sample the best St Lucia has to offer. Visit one of the Fish Frys, where delicious local seafood is cooked with a musical accompaniment and you can party as you munch – head to Anse la Raie on a Friday or Dennery on a Saturday. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across someone making ice cream the traditional way, in a bucketful of ice. There’s nothing better.
Listen to live music – and birdsong – in Jamaica
They joke that the women of Kingston change the roll of their gait with each shop they pass, in time with the new rhythm. There’s no doubt that Jamaica sounds wonderful – you’ll hear music at every turn. If you’re exploring Jamaica by car (either yourself or with a driver) switch on Irie FM, an all-Jamaican reggae station, and soak up the vibe.
Kingston, where you’ll arrive, is a cacophony, so head up into the Blue Mountains. Music lovers will enjoy Strawberry Hill Resort (strawberryhillresort.com), owned by Chris Blackwell of Island Records who launched Bob Marley’s career. The reggae icon came here to convalesce after he was shot in 1976 and photos of music legends line the walls. If you want to find out more about the story of reggae, head to Reggae Xplosion in Island Village, Ocho Rios, or the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston.
Read on for the scents of Tobago, the feel of the Bahamas and the sights of St Kitts.
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