You think you've been to the Caribbean? Well, think again because last week I spent 4 days in "De Heart Uh Barbados" near Welchman Hall Gully in St. Thomas, and experienced a whole other thing. While on the 2008 UN City Farm Tour, I met a delegate from the Barbados Ministry of the Environment who shared my interest in not only sustainability but also good food! He and his team generously invited me along with 20 other participants from throughout the southern Caribbean and the U.S. to a "Workshop on Rethinking Environmental Sustainability, Local Gastronomy and Rural Tourism." Under a wide tent on a hill with tropical breezes and a lovely views, I participated in discussions, powerpoints, and endured only a few longing moments for the beach (never got there).
I took a lot of video, and over the next few posts or so, I'll be featuring Barbados. I can already say, however, that my A+-number-one-top-of-the-line-favorite thing was the "Grapefruit and Molasses Foodies." My gracious host and one of the groups founders, Stacia, made a chicken soup that was my very own version of Proust's Madeline. Took me right back to my Jamaican grandmother's, only the flavors here were richer and more vibrant from the extraordinary quality of the ingredients (not to mention Stacia's easy skill.) Every thing was local, fresh, ripe and seemingly effortless. It's just the way it is down there. Amazing to my industrialized mind.
I'll make no attempt to replicate the recipes. Like fine wine, good authentic cuisine brings a flavor that comes from the place and the people, a terroir if you will. Plus the Grapefruit and Molasses Foodies will have their own cookbook one day, so I'll leave it to the experts. But I have many other goodies to share: the pepper sauce, the rum, the people, the natural wonders, and...the very serious business of sustainability. It was, after all, not a vacation, though the pleasure was all mine.
In the meantime, many thanks to all the wonderful people who made it possible for me to enjoy this journey. A kinder more generous group I have yet to meet. Much more to come soon!