Cooking classes in Dominica | Experiences Caribbean

Caribbean food is rich in flavours and personality, with influences from many other countries. Caribbean food is fresh, colourful and often very local, particularly on Dominica where the fresh fruit & vegetables are so easily available around the island. A cooking class is an excellent way to learn about the cuisine on Dominica as well as a nice introduction to a few recipes you might even want to try back home.

Daria has been running cooking classes since 2006 and has won over her customers with her cheery approach and in depth knowledge of Caribbean cuisine. She recently filmed with her beloved ‘Chef Ainsley’ British chef Ainsley Harriott as part of his show ‘Caribbean Kitchen’ which can be seen on ITV.

A class with Daria is like learning recipes from an old friend, she’s passionate about using fresh, local ingredients and many of them come from the surrounding houses and almost all from Dominica itself, except the rice which is imported from a neighbouring island.

I opted for a private class with just Daria and her daughter as an assistant and then my friend & I. As it was a small group we cooked in Daria’s private kitchen upstairs, but with larger groups particularly when a cruise ship has docked then she has a huge kitchen downstairs which can cater for lots of people cooking at once.

We cooked a variety of dishes with Daria talking us through the ingredients for every recipe and encouraging us to get stuck in with the preparation & cooking itself.

First we prepared some Titiri fish cakes/fritters. Titiri is a local fish which seems to come under different names around the Caribbean, the fish is mixed in equal parts with wholewheat flour, lime juice, chilli sauce & coriander before being fried in oil until it’s slightly crispy on the outside and doughy in the middle. It made a lovely snack often chosen for breakfast in Dominica but also went down a treat as a mid cooking nibble.

Another favourite dish we prepared was Creole Fish. A colourful recipe of yellow fin tuna served with pepper, onion, tomato & a marinade ofparsley celery, spring onion, thyme, chives, garlic, lime & parlsey. Creole food is a fusion of cultures and history and Daria describes creole as having attitude. In her own words “Creole is colour, creole is flavour.”

Alongside a coconut rice & beans and plantain cooked 2 ways we dined on the balcony with beautiful garden views before finishing the meal with a fruit salad mixed with local spice infused rum.

Daria’s class was one of the most enjoyable things we did in Dominica and the food was certainly one the top meals of the trip as well. It’s a fantastic introduction to Dominican food and a fun way learn about the flavours of the island.

To book visit Experiences Caribbean |Classes usually run every Tuesday and Friday, but they can be flexible. Prices are $100 USD per head which includes the class, a full meal and 2 free drinks. Up to 30 people.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First time on a cruise? What you need to know?

If you’ve booked to go on your first cruise or are currently browsing options to have a cruise as your next holiday then you may be wondering what things you need to know before you travel on a cruise ship for the first time.

I recently travelled with Princess Cruises from Southampton on my first ever cruise so I’ve put together a handy guide that answers all the questions I had as well as some things I found out on the way.

What do I need to pack?
Obviously this will vary from cruise to cruise but below is a list of general items you will need to pack. Just like a hotel then often you will be provided with a toiletry set in your cabin, equally there will be an on board shop where you can purchase any items that you may have forgotten. Don’t panic if you do forget something as at the port days you’ll also be able to go shopping.

  • Comfortable shoes for hiking/walking on port days
  • Swimwear for the pool
  • Suncream
  • Smart clothing for any formal nights on board (see ‘Formal night’ section.)
  • Travel adapters
  • Camera (obviously) although there will often be on board photographers
  • Gym kit; many cruise ships will have gym facilities that you may wish to use

What is the formal night like?
Many cruise ships have at least one formal night, and whilst it’s not always compulsory that you get involved, it is a fun evening and an excuse to dress a little fancy. Formal nights will be announced in advance so you’ll have time to plan. On my cruise is Princess Cruises on board the Sapphire Princess then many people opted for tuxedos and evening gowns, with a few choosing a more simple shirt and tie.

Our formal night started with a champagne waterfall in the main atrium which was a fun activity where you could volunteer to pour the bottles and was a great photo opportunity.

Can you get laundry done on board?
Just like at a hotel it will more than likely be possible to get your clothes washing done on board. The system will probably include ticking a box to say what needs washing and leaving it for housekeeping to collect.

What about phone signal?
When you’re near a port or of course docked then of course you will be able to get signal on your phone and the normal roaming charges from your network supply will apply. However once you’re out at sea then if your phone joins a maritime network then you’re likely to come back with some pretty hefty charges. Best advice would be to switch the roaming off your phone shortly after you leave a port to avoid any extra costs.

Can I drink the water on board?
Unlike on a plane, there’s no need to worry about the quality of the water on board. It will all have been through rigorous testing to ensure it’s top quality for your to drink straight from the tap.

What kind of activities are on board?
There will be two separate options for your time on the ship.
1. Every ship will of course have the options available every day; for example the swimming pools, perhaps a casino, gym, running track or shuffleboard.
2. There will be daily activities announced on the ship, these will vary but may include shows and live performances, bingo, quiz sessions, art auctions and movie nights (on the Sapphire Princess they had the popular ‘Movies under the stars.’
For the daily activities you will be able to plan your day as you’ll have access to a schedule to see’what’s on’.

What happens on port days?
Of course the ports of call are an exciting part of any cruise. You’ll be informed as to the time of arrival and if the ship is docking right by the port then you’ll be able to disembark when you wish. If you have a tour booked of course you’ll have to ensure you’re off in good time to meet your group/guide. Equally be mindful of the time you need to back on the ship and leave plenty of time to board.

What is a tender?
A ship’s tender or just ‘tender’ is a boat used to transport the passengers to the port when the ship is unable to dock directly by the land. It’s a safe and quick way to get to shore. Sometimes this will involve travelling in lifeboats for example or just smaller boats to reach the ship.
If tenders are being used on a port day you will be informed in advance and sometimes may be given a specific time or group to travel with. Before the ship leaves in the evening you will be informed of the time of the last tender.

What is a muster station?
You’ll be allocated a muster station when you get on board. Put simply, this is the location you need to meet at should there be an emergency. If the emergency alert were to go off then you should make your way to the assigned location (clearly marked) and await further instructions from the crew.

Will I need an adapter for the plug sockets?
This will vary from ship to ship. On board the Sapphire Princess as it was an American ship then the plug sockets were 3 pin US so many people required an adapter, however these were available in the shop to purchase.

Will I feel sea sick?
Generally it’s not common to feel sick on cruise ships, as the larger the ship the less noticeable it will be that you’re slightly swaying. Some people actually find the movement of the ship fairly relaxing as they are going to sleep.


This post was written in AD partnership with Princess Cruises however the article and everything in it of course reflects my opinion and not that of the company.

Where to eat in St Kitts

St Kitts is a haven for seafood lovers and the island has a range of options for dining, from street side cafes & stalls right up to fine dining restaurants with ocean views. Below is a list of top recommendations on St Kitts with something for every taste.


For music while you eat 

Sprat Net 
Don’t be fooled by the exterior; Sprat Net is THE place to be on a Friday/Saturday night. It’s a casual eatery with incredible food, the kind where the whole group will go quiet as they savour every bite. Lobster & ribs is the most popular dish, but the shrimp is also popular. For vegetarians there isn’t as much on offer but the good sized pizzas are a nice option.

The lively bar serves up beers and a selection of rums. This is a fun way to dine, with large tables so you may end up sitting with others, and a live band playing hits on the stage.

Don’t be afraid to eat with your hands as trying to pull apart lobster with a plastic fork can prove fairly difficult!

20190607_2137211446142238697516788.jpgSprat Net Bar & Grill (Opening Times)
Monday & Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday to Friday – 6-11:30 pm
Saturday: 6-11:00 pm
Sunday: 6-10:00 pm


 

For something healthy

Ital Creations -By Pass Road oposite side Army Camp, Basseterre

If you’re a vegetarian/vegan or even if you just fancy a little change of cuisine then head to Ital Creations for fresh, tasty vegan cuisine. With the original location on an organic farm which you’re free to wander around, Ital has become so popular that another location has opened up at Ross University Campus.

The owner Yaya is originally from Puerto Rico started cooking healthy food for her children before it turned into the successful business it is today. The word ‘Ital’ comes from the Rasta term for vital, and on an island obsessed with meat/fish then perhaps a weekly visit to the café is indeed vital.

There are daily specials and regular favourites such as the delicious gyros packed full of eggplant and green banana. The smoothies are also popular, served in biodegradable cups.

Open – Monday – Saturday 930 – 4pm


For a beachside cocktail

Carambola Beach Club -Friars Bay

Friars Bay is a fabulous place to go during the day or evening. For those wishing to get wet there are all kinds of watersports including jet ski rental, inflatables and snorkelling. If you just want to relax then there are sun loungers overlooking the waves outside the Carambola Beach Club where you’ll be able to pass many chilled hours.

The cocktails are great here, with originals and old favourites, and the beers are ice cold.

Open daily – 11am -11pm


For a romantic meal

The Pavilion  – Christophe Harbour

With grand pillars and incredible views The Pavilion is one of the top dining options on the island. From the moment you enter you’re greeted warmly and the staff will continue to be knowledgable and friendly throughout your meal.

The food is elegantly presented with high end ingredients. Even small details aren’t overlooked like the freshly baked bread served before the meal and the use of micosalads so reminiscent of top London restaurants.

The menu is a great fusion of Caribbean and International flavours and this is also reflected in the wine list.

Open – Tuesday to Saturday 530 – 10pm


For the very trendy

SALT Plage -Christophe Harbour

A stand out on the island, SALT Plage is incredibly trendy. All palm trees and live music, it has netted seats over the water allowing you to sip a drink above the fish and lapping waves.

There’s a pleasant jetty lined with flags and fairy lights making a great place to watch the sun go down. Meanwhile back near the bar itself there is live music and the smell of the grill wafting over in the wind is sure to build up your appetite.

There’s a range of unique takes on cocktails and the friendly staff are happy to make a suggestion.

Highly recommended!

Open – Daily 4pm – 10pm


Railway Bar & Grill – Old Road, Saint Thomas Middle Island, St Kitts

Located near a lot of the main attractions such as Sky Safari Zip Line and Caribelle Batik, The Railway Bar & Grill is no frills dining that doesn’t skimp on taste. The menu is straightforward and simple, with local dishes like rice & peas, a range of wings, plantain and catch of the day fish.

It’s well priced and a good place to try some local dishes and you won’t leave hungry.

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Open – Monday to Saturday 9am til 11pm


For elegant dining

Marshalls Restaurant  – Fort Tyson, Frigate Bay.

A good introduction to dining on the island, Marshalls offers healthy portions including local favourites such as the ‘Seafood Coquille’. As in many places on the island, seafood is high up on the menu here, but the meat offerings such as the mixed grill are excellent for those with a big appetite. The desserts including home made ice creams are also very popular. It’s a great option for group dining.

Open -Sunday til Saturday 6pm – 10pm


https://www.stkittstourism.kn

St Kitts; A one week itinerary | What to do in St Kitts

St Kitts is an island with so much to offer. As well as the usual delightful beaches one might expect from a Caribbean Island it’s an adventurous place with a whole range of activities for the discerning traveller. There’s a rich history and culture and those with an interest can visit the sites of sugar factories and rum distilleries. There are dormant volcanoes and hills giving incredible views over St Kitts and the neighbouring islands, and you have your pick of how to explore, be that vigorous hikes, ATV excursions or Jeep Safaris.

Below is a suggested St Kitts guide for making the most of your time on this beautiful island; taking in the sights, partaking in adventure activities, learning about the history and of course as the locals say ‘limin’.


Monday

To get yourself accustomed to the area, start your trip with a downtown ‘safari’ tour on an open sided bus. Giving you a glimpse of the strip, Port Zante, downtown Basseterre and zooming past vast golf courses, it’s a great way to see some of what the island has to offer and paves the way for the rest of the week.

One good suggestion is Sir Walter Safari Tours;  friendly and knowledgeable he will take you to some important spots downtown while giving an informative but not too in your face audio description on the way.

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Prices – 1-4 person $80 total then 20 dollars per extra person.
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In the afternoon head to Sky Safari Zip Line – for some aerial fun. After a safety briefing and practice run you’ll be taken up the hill to the first of four zip lines. You’ll soon be flying across the tree canopies and getting views right out to the water.
The guides are funny and it’s a great activity as long as you’re not afraid of heights. Many of the lines get up to some high speeds and go from fairly high up so it’s not for the faint hearted.
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Time – around 2 hours – $89 USD – Weight limit 125kg

Tuesday

Today head to Brimstone Fortress – It’s a UNESCO site and one of the best preserved historical fortifications in the Americas. The construction of the Brimstone Hill Fortress started in 1690 and took just over 100 years to be finished.

Cannons were first mounted on the Hill in 1689 by the French but following that , the English used the hill as a fortress taking advantage of it’s over 900 foot height.

The fortress is vast and in a remarkably good state of affairs. It has a fascinating yet tragic history and knowledgeable local guides can show you round the area, teaching you to identify British or French cannons and explaining the history of the site.

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 $10 adults / $5 children – Opening hours 930 – 530 – Free WiFi at the café


In the early evening head to trendy Salt Plage for sunset. This open air bar and restaurant is the epitome of cool, with it’s very instagrammable net seats over the water enabling you to sip on a cocktail while watching the fish below. The flag laden jetty has seats going out to the sea, while the seats near the bar itself are treated to live music.

The cocktail menu is top notch, and there’s a range of table snacks/sharers as well as the popular main dishes. It’s a place to be seen on the island and it’s easy to spend hours here enjoying the cool sea breeze and a few cocktails as the sun sets.

salt plage st kittssalt plage st kittssalt plage st kittssalt plage st kitts

4pm until late – St Christophe Harbour


Wednesday

Start the day with a quick visit to the Carib petroglyphs- St Kitts has been inhabited since 2500 BC and these Carib drawings are from the  original Carib inhabitants before the Europeans arrived in the 17th century. They are believed to be a sign of fertility and locals joke that you should touch the rock if you want to get pregnant.
carib st kitts

Next head to South Friars Bay. Check out beachside bars for lunch and a cocktail before taking some time to relax on the loungers or the soft sand.

If you’re still not ready to sit still then there are a lot of watersports on offer. Jet ski excursions round the bars are good for thrill seekers, and if you want a good laugh then try out the inflatable sofa-like items that you can sit on with friends before being pulled across the water at high speeds.

There’s also snorkelling and for those who want it a little more laid back the water is lovely and warm for good old swimming.

top beach st kitts


Thursday

Today, make sure you have a big breakfast as you’ve got a big climb ahead of you.

mount liagmuga st kitts

Mount Liamunga is a dormant volcano on St Kitts offering fantastic views into it’s lush green crater, and also out to the Caribbean Sea from certain viewpoints. It’s a tough hike, with sections that involve scrambling and climbing, so if you’re not that fit it’s probably not for you. O Neil Mulraine is the islands favoured guide. He’s over 60 but the fittest pensioner you’ll ever meet and he will put you to shame as he bounds up the trail without breaking a sweat. Prepare for the hike to take all day; usual times vary from 4 hours round trip if you’re very fast to 10 hours for those needing to stop for a rest frequently. Hiking in St Kitts

Make sure to pack water, mosquito repellent and your camera for the views from the top! It’s hard going even if you’re in good shape, but the views and feeling of achievement make it all worthwhile. Even if you only have one day in St Kitts, it’s worth the effort.

volcano hike st kittshiking st kitts

ONeil Mulraine can be booked from most hotels on St Kitts or contact oneilmulraine@hotmail.com


Friday

Ready for your weekend in St Kitts? In the morning head over to Wingfield Estate – named after The Earl of Wingfield from East Anglia. Even for those who are not huge history fans then Wingfield Estate will still be of interest. It’s thought to possess the earliest examples of British Masonry anywhere in the Americas as well the oldest in tact rum distillery in the West Indies.
Much of the site is very well preserved and showcases the process of sugar production. Over the years more and more areas are being unearthed and the current caretakers have great plans to turn the site into a thought provoking visitor area, tastefully done, that tells the stories of those enslaved here. Gradually, more and more of its past is being unearthed and the eventual plan is for it to be the centrepiece of a learning and reflection centre. It’s an absolute must if you want to learn about the history of St Kitts.
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Afterwards head to nearby Caribelle Batik– Batik is a style of dying and waxing material and Caribelle produced it’s first Batik in 1976 before going onto the be some of the most sought after textiles in the Caribbean. It’s a fun and interactive visit with the friendly staff happy to do some demonstrations and answer questions.
It’s a hugely detailed and skilled job so it’s fascinating to stand and watch the ladies at work producing the brightly coloured and cheerful designs.
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On site, make sure to visit the 400 year old tree. Originated in South America, the seeds would have been planted by settling Amerindians and it’s now so wide stretching that some of the branches reach down to the ground.
wingfield estate st kitts,  what to do in st kitts, st kitts guide, st kitts itinerary,
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In the evening head to where the party is at; Sprat Net. It’s a relaxed affair, a bar/restaurant built from wood with one side opened up for views. There’s a live band playing at the weekends, playing lively versions of top hits.

The bar serves up a few options including beers and a variety of different rums, but what you’re really here for is the giant portions of fresh seafood and meat. Top recommendation would be the lobster with ribs, but also choose from other options including shrimp, all served with bread and corn on the cob. For vegetarians, opt for the delicious smelling pizzas. It’s definitely one of the top things to do in St Kitts.

sprat net st kitts,  what to do in st kitts, st kitts guide, st kitts itinerary,

Old Road Town, Saint Thomas Middle Island, Saint Kitts and Nevis


Saturday

Be prepared to get dirty again as today you’re going on an exhilarating Jeep tour of St Kitts  in a Jeep Wrangler with SKN Jeepers. SKN Jeepers are the top jeep rental in St Kitts. If you drive you can choose from either manual or automatic vehicles but friendly owner Ellington is happy to take the wheel if you’re a little nervous. Tours take you up into the hills to see a different side to the island as goats and cows wander past and you’re able to get views right out to Nevis.
It’s a dusty journey with a lot of bumps and very much ‘off road’ but that’s what makes it so fun. 
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$65 per car – SKN Jeepers

Sunday
If you’re keen on history then start of the day with a tour of St Kitts colonial house Fairview Great House.
It’s a beautiful old colonial house with examples of the bath houses, original bedrooms & bathrooms, volcanic stone & brick oven and a great gift shop. It’s also possible to do rum tastings including a coconut cream and a delicious mango rum. Free WiFi.
jeep safari st kitts, jeep rental st kitts,  what to do in st kitts, st kitts guide, st kitts itinerary, 20190608_1106165661643591654942966.jpg20190608_1037516461122728648618154.jpg20190608_1106385198073209043235908.jpgdestinationservices@kantours.com

Finally after a busy week you deserve a little more beach time  so try visiting Cockleshell Bay or South Frigate Bay and soak up the sun before your flight home!


For more information please visit – 
Hope you’ve enjoyed this St Kitts Guide / St Kitts Itinerary and then it helps you plan you trip to St Kitts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Activities you’ll want to do in Antigua

Antigua is beautiful. Turquoise waters and enough beaches to visit a new one every day of the year, it’s fairly evident why lots of people will spend their days on the island soaking up the sun and swimming in the sea. If you’re staying more than a couple of days however you’ll certainly want to explore more of the island, and Antigua has a whole host of activities available. It’s a fairly adventurous island, with some thrilling activities and unusual outings to be had.

  1. Go off road – A number of rental outlets on the island offer out off road dune buggy style vehicles for you to explore the island on semi-lead tours. It’s a bumpy ride, up and down the many hills, including a lovely stop at the top to take in the sights, and the smells of the lemongrass. Rental companies requires a driving license from your home country, and this isn’t surprising as you’ll be on the roads quite a bit to get to some of the tracks, and these carts can move!It’s a fairly simple accelerate and brake system, so no changing of gears is required. They accelerate pretty fast and as you’re not fully covered up and have the wind rushing past you it really does feel like you’re travelling pretty quick. They are all fitted with roll cages and you’re simply told that if they do roll, then keep your arms and hands inside the vehicle and you’ll be fine.

    It’s probably not for the faint hearted, but for any thrill seekers it’s great fun and will have you shrieking and laughing throughout.

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  2. Visit the floating bar ‘Kon Tiki’, in Dickenson Bay. Antigua has plenty of bars but the floating bar shouldn’t be missed. A fairly new edition to the island, it’s off shore and requires a ride in the bar’s little canoe to reach it. The owners are friendly and chatty, and when I visited (and they had only just opened) they had thrown a party almost every evening so far.They serve up cold beers and spirits & mixers including the local ‘ting’. It’s a laid back place, with people dipping in and out of the water to cool off between beers. Sunset here is really beautiful too, with the bar making a lovely silhouette.
  3. Go zip lining through the trees – Antigua Rainforest zip lining tours offer an adventurous day out, with zip lines of varying lengths criss crossing through the forest. It’s a lot of fun, and the staff are all so nice which makes it even more enjoyable.They have lines starting comparably low down right up to a great long one across the canyon. You fly across strapped on to a friendly instructor which will make you feel safer stepping out, and there are some fantastic views to be had. Even the walk from line to line through the forest is lovely, although a little hot.
  4. Understand the history of the island at Betty’s Hope – Betty’s Hope was a sugarcane plantation established in 1650 when Antigua was part of the colonies. Betty’s Hope is named after the daughter of General Christopher Codrington who’s family owned it during it’s operation. It’s no longer operational but is one of only a few original mills left standing.It has been converted into an open air museum and visitor centre. It’s now a peaceful memorial, with a lot of history and some of the original train carriages left on site.
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  5. Overcome your fears at Stingray City – One of the island’s most popular sites is Stingray City, a natural sandbank a few hundred metres out from the coast that attracts tens of sting rays to the area. It takes some getting used to, having the rays swim so close to you, and you’re told to shuffle your feet rather than stepping in case you tread on one, so if you’re particularly nervous this activity may be a bit too much. The rays do sometimes take a little nibble on you, which is actually more like a slight suction, which isn’t pleasant but doesn’t hurt.

    The location itself is incredible, gloriously blue water and despite it usually being quite popular, it doesn’t feel too crowded.
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