EASTER IN SVG

Easter is a magical time in the Caribbean, when you surround yourself with family, food, church, sun, regattas, swimsuits and good friends who may or may not have drinks with them. These same friends will go through the list just mentioned, but not necessarily in the same order.

Since St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an archipelago, we have a lot of islands to choose from when we have long breaks. We have already introduced them but here is a refresher on the bigger ones:

Bequia

-Mustique

-Union Island

-Canouan

-Mayreau

The largest of these is Bequia, and believe me they put on a really good shin-dig here! They host a regatta that yachts across the Caribbean participate in, they host Fishermans’ Day competitions for the most capable fisherman and crew, and subsequent to that they host parties where all and sundry are invited to listen to good music and eat fish and the  other bounties of the sea.

Let us not forget that Easter is a sad time that remembers the Crucifixion and thus the food prepared is designed to be redolent of the bitterness and sadness of the day. Most people eat only fish and bitter vegetables. Most Vincentians observe this tradition.

But after the period of mourning, let the good times roll, because Easter Sunday will change the mood. The Lord has defied death, and we must rejoice, and believe me, we do. After church is over, after having cried and cried previously on Good Friday, you cast off your black garments and replace them with robes of happiness. In some cases it is a swimsuit of happiness.

In SVG the Easter weekend is a delightful four days long, and while this is a nightmare for the Private Sector to lose two days of work, it is greatly appreciated none-the-less. The ferries to Bequia (this island is the choice of most Vincentians) operate practically non-stop to accommodate the exodus from the mainland. Actually, to be still on the mainland for Easter is considered a sacrilege. The in-crowd is cavorting in the Grenadines, and if you are not there, then sadly, you really are missing out.

I have gone to Easter in the Grenadines and it is a truly, lovely, lovely time. And not just on Bequia either; I have been to Easter on some of the other islands as well. There is elegant Mustique, with the annual picnic to Macaroni Beach, and they host the Easter Bonnet Parade where creativity is given free reign, after that for the kiddies there is the Easter Egg Hunt. The prize for the most eggs is a two foot tall solid chocolate rabbit. It may actually be smaller, but you know to children everything looks large! But it really was a BIG bunny.

The night life has something to say as well in Bequia at Easter. Well-known bands are brought in from the region and some home grown artistes make their appearances as well. And imagine the performances being done under a clear, star-filled, moonlit night with the sound of the Caribbean Sea in one ear and the excited laughter of those dear to you in the next.

Have a fabulous Easter All!

My Magnetic Addiction to Vincy Food

My life in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one where I try very, very hard not to gain weight. Everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE I look, Vincentian food is tempting me. If it is not succulent fried chicken, or yummy brown stewed fish, it is one of my favourites, ‘tri-tri’. I went to my very good friend’s birthday celebration recently, and they served tritri cakes.  Remember tri-tri? I described it to you once.

Tri-tri is this amazing little fish that makes a trip on moonlit nights from the sea to the point where the fresh water meets the salt water. Then the little tri-tris swim up the river into man-made road-blocks designed to trap them. When they are caught and get to the local markets, thousands of Vincentian grandmothers make batters with flour, spices and tons of lovely West Indian flavour, then they spoon them into shallow oil or deep oil (it depends on  what shape they want) until they are all golden and quite honestly yummy.  They can come in little balls or wide fritters, and be served with or without a spicy or peppery dip.

 

Yes, tri-tri is one of my favourite things, and the actual catching of this little delicacy has become a popular tourist attraction at one of the resorts that has a river running through it. On moonlit nights people gather on the sides of the river and contentedly watch the catching of the tri-tri and then at some point in the future they get to sample them!

To dispel the effects of yummy Vincentian food, I do one of several things:

  1. I do Pilates and
  2. Cardio and
  3. Boxing and
  4. Yoga and then
  5. Last, but certainly no least, I play squash

I mention these things because I want you to know what St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a modern country and that while small, all the amenities are here. So, please don’t be concerned about eating too much tasty West Indian food. Come over and partake; we are a healthy society with lots of safe, smooth roads and hills to challenge you.

 

 

 

10 Must-eat Vincy Foods

If you plan to visit good ol’ Vincy, as soon as you land at E.T. Joshua Airport, ask a local where to find one (or all) of these victuals for sustenance before starting your adventure.  If you’re a Vincy, well, you already know.

  1. Roasted Breadfruit and Fried Jackfish:  You just can’t say no. It’s the National Dish…and it is delicious!
  2. Callaloo Soup:  Different callaloo from the Jamaican variety (and to die for in a soup. There are as many variations as there are cooks who prepare it. It’s delicious with crab, conch, beef, chicken and with a plethora of local vegetables.
  3. Patties:  Again, different from the Jamaican variety that’s garnered international fame. Vincentian Patties are essentially little, delicate pies filled with ground meat. One of my absolute favourites!
  4. Souse:  Now, souse is traditionally made with pig’s feet but I have also had a delicious version with conch. Yum! Souse is the chosen meat in a spicy, limey sauce. It can be served hot or chilled or anywhere in between with roasted breadfruit.
  5. Blackfish:  I’ve been all over the Caribbean and I’ve not seen this anywhere else. It’s very unique to St. Vincent. Blackfish is actually pilot whale and in St. Vincent it’s prepared in a similar fashion to saltfish (traditionally salted cod). It’s torn into small pieces and sautéed with tomatoes, onions, garlic, pepper and other spices.
  6. Shark and Bakes:  Shark seasoned and fried to a wonderful crisp and served with proper Vincy bakes (fried bits of yeasty dough), crispy on the outside and moist and fluffy on the inside.
  7. Peleau:  This is like the Vincentian version of paella – a delectable one-pot dish with rice, meat (could be beef, could be chicken), and sometimes peas. It seems basic enough but the addition of browned sugar makes this dish’s flavor one-of-a-kind.
  8. Tri tri cakes:  Little fritters made with tri tri, teeny tiny little river fish seasoned to exquisite gastronomic perfection.
  9. Goat water:  Yes. It sounds a bit manky, but it is delicious. It’s not just water with bits of goat in it (Ew!) as the name might suggest. Instead expect a super flavourful, spicy soup with ground provisions, green bananas and of course goat.
  10. Bread!:  Yes, a shocker. But Vincentians have a special relationship with bread. They’re like bread wizards, bread aficionados. Try any type. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better it is than the stale one that sits on the supermarket shelf for days that you normally buy.