The Farmer’s Market at Capella Marigot Bay Marina Village

farmersmarket2

The new Farmer’s Market at Capella Marigot Bay’s Marina Village is one of my new favorite events! Indulging in fresh local produce is something of a hobby of mine and I love to take full advantage of the delicious fruits and vegetables native to this stunning tropical climate. If you have yet to try a fresh St. Lucian mango or drink fresh St. Lucian coconut water directly from its source, I must insist you rectify this matter as soon as possible! 

farmersmarket7

farmersmarket1

In addition to produce from local St. Lucian farmers, the Farmer’s Market features local spices, St. Lucian pastries and preserve, and fresh island smoothies. Trust me when I say, sipping on a delicious and healthy banana mango smoothie while walking the Marina’s Boardwalk is nothing short of incredible. 

farmersmarket8

Local spices are one of my favorite ways to enjoy the taste of the Caribbean at home. One bite and you will be instantly transported back to palm trees swaying in warm Caribbean breezes. Plus, it is a great way to expand your cooking repertoire to include new flavors.

farmersmarket5

Local artists also bring arts and crafts, artisan jewelry and other items that embody the spirit of St. Lucia and the Caribbean to the Farmer’s Market each week. I love purchasing gifts for my loved ones (and for myself!). They quickly become priceless mementos, rich in memories.

farmersmarket4

The Farmer’s Market at Capella Marigot Bay’s Marina Village takes place every Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm and is curated by Executive Chef Billy Boyle and his team. It brings the best of local St. Lucian goodness and fits nicely into my resolutions for the new year of eating fresh and experiencing local cultures! I hope you will have the opportunity to experience it yourself, but in the meantime, I leave you with a delicious Caribbean smoothie recipe that happens to be my personal favorite.  

You will need:

Approximately 3 medium bananas

2 mangos

1/4 cup coconut milk (sweetened or unsweetened depending on preference)

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup ice cubes

I recommend chilling the bananas and mangos for about an hour. Once chilled, be sure to peel and slice them. Add them to the blender along with the coconut milk and honey. Blend until smooth. While the blender is still running, add the ice cubes one by one and continue blending until smooth. Serve and enjoy! Imagine yourself strolling along the Marina boardwalk watching the boats go by.

The Holiday Season in Saint Lucia

bamboobursting1

One of my favorite things about travel is experiencing the different customs that exist in cultures around the world. The holiday season is an exceptionally good time to do just that! Here at Capella Marigot Bay, we’re celebrating the holidays and ringing in the New Year with traditional St. Lucian foods, drinks and festivities. Today, I’ll be sharing my favorites with you.

Bamboo Bursting

bamboobursting1

While most people associate carols and mistletoe with the holidays, St. Lucia celebrates with a type of bamboo cannon that they craft themselves to create loud bangs and beautiful explosions of light. Accomplishing the desired effect takes precise skill and quite a bit of practice, making observation of this tradition even more exciting. Throughout the holiday season, you can hear the bamboo bursts echoing softy around the hills of the island.

A Traditional St. Lucian Christmas

If you enjoy experiencing local traditions as much as I do, you’ll love the Traditional St. Lucian Christmas. Members of the Capella Marigot Bay team tell stories passed down from their ancestors and share the island’s traditional Christmas foods and drinks such as St. Lucian Black Cake, made from rum and fruits, and the Holiday Sorrel Drink, made primarily from the beautiful, bright red Sorrel flowers.

sorrelplant

sorreldrink

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise

fireworks

Fireworks are a New Year’s staple in St. Lucia and I cannot think of a better vantage point to observe them from than on the Caribbean sea! The New Year’s Eve Midnight Cruise brings you to a location on the Northern part of the island where we could see several firework displays while we sipped champagne and a live DJ inspired our dancing spirit. Ringing in the New Year with so much energy, fun and excitement around me definitely set the tone for an incredible year and I highly recommend the experience.

 

These are my personal favorites but the holiday season in Saint Lucia includes countless activities to choose from. I highly recommend perusing the Daily Activities of the Festive Season Calendar, which you can find right here on the Capella Marigot Bay site. Your Capella Personal Assistant can arrange any of these activities and will help create a most memorable experience for you and your loved ones. ‘Til then, I wish you and yours a wonderful Holiday season filled with joy, love and just the right amount of adventure!

A Recipe For Winter In Saint Lucia

 

marigotbay copy

December is upon us and with it comes winter in the Northern Hemisphere.  But there is no such thing as winter in Saint Lucia.  In fact, the high season is just beginning. While there is no bad time to visit this year-round summer paradise, the high season is my personal favorite. With less humidity and rain, the weather permits for optimal pool, beach and adventure-going days.

I’m a big fan of travel and experiencing all seasons in a variety of places, but there’s something about Caribbean sunshine that simply can’t be beat. So I’d like to share with you my top three favorite St. Lucian activities to beat the winter blues.

Zipline In The Rain Forest

edit_MG_2268

A zipline rainforest excursion is a certain cure-all. Being surrounded by lush, green vegetation and interesting tropical plants coupled with the thrill of zipping from treetop to treetop is a great way to get your heart racing.  You’ll practically forgot that winter even exists!

Horseback Riding on the Beach

horsebackriding-onbeach

I like lounging on the beach as much as the next person, but adding the horseback riding element to a beach excursion takes it to a whole new level. Experiencing the sun, surf and sand from a whole new perspective creates such wonderful lasting memories that will keep you warm even during cold winter nights.

Cruising on the Caribbean

sunsetcruise6

My favorite activity resides on the Caribbean Sea itself. There’s something so amazing about sitting aboard a yacht or catamaran with a tropical drink in hand and watching the sun dip below sea level. For added adventure, I like to dive in for some snorkeling to experience the under-the-sea world. Other times, I enjoy simply lounging port-side and letting the rum punch work its magic.

Until we see get to see you here in St. Lucia, I’d like to share a rum punch recipe that will bring the tropics to you in the mean time.

rumpunch

Ingredients:

3 cups orange juice

3 cups pineapple juice

1 cup lime juice

a pinch of cinnamon

a pinch of nutmeg

6 shakes of angostura bitters

2 1/2 cups dark or light rum

grenadine syrup

approximately 1 1/4 cups simple syrup or to taste!

Mix all the ingredients except the grenadine syrup and the simple syrup in a pitcher. Slowly add the grenadine syrup while stirring until the color looks like a glorious sunset. I like adding the simple syrup last so I can sweeten it to my personal preference.

You can drink it right away but it’s best when refrigerated overnight to give all the flavors a chance to come out. Serve over ice, take a sip and close your eyes. You’ll be temporarily transported to palm trees swaying in the tropical breeze. Cheers!

 

The Tet Paul Hike

pitonsfromtetpaul

November is Health & Wellness Month in St. Lucia and with good reason! The island’s mix of adventure and tranquility provides an unbeatable setting for physical, mental and spiritual health. Here at Capella Marigot Bay, a 24 hour fitness center, yoga classes, spa treatments and an array of nutritious meals ensure that achieving health and wellness is always easy and fun. Even after just a couple of days here, I always feel rejuvenated!

Outdoor activities in such a pristine setting are a cornerstone of health and wellness and in St. Lucia that exists in abundance.  One of my personal favorites is the Tet Paul Nature Trail. The difficulty level is just challenging enough to make it a great cardiovascular activity while still being pleasant!

edit_MG_1264

Tet Paul is an excellent nature hike as there are plenty of plants, fruits and flowers to observe and learn about. Our guide, Jarod, was quick to point out the amazing tropical plants we were seeing along the way.

edit_MG_1261

I saw my first ever pineapple plant in person on the Tet Paul hike! We were even able to try some of the fruits that grow in the area while we were there and they were incredibly flavorful as well as nutritious.

edit_MG_1263

But of course, the main attraction is the view at the top of Tet Paul! Once you reach the end you are rewarded for your hard work with the most glorious view of St. Lucia’s Piton mountains. That alone is worth the trip and while no photo can truly do it justice, I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed.  It also happens to be the perfect spot to “Touch the Top of the Pitons” a social media phenomenon where visitors take photos of themselves touching the top of these iconic Caribbean mountains and share it online!

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 12.33.59 AM copy copy

I would love to see your “Touch the Top of the Pitons” photos so be sure to tag me @CapellaStLucia on Twitter and Instagram. ‘Til then, Happy Hiking! Even if you aren’t in St. Lucia for Health and Wellness month, I highly recommend treating yourself to some outdoor activities and of course, a great massage. You deserve it!

 

The Atlantic Rally For Cruisers

WARC15_Mauritius_Ceremony and Start_-17

If you love beautiful sailboats and the thrill of being on the sea, you are going to love everything about the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers! With Capella Marigot Bay also being a Marina, we are all very excited about this amazing nautical event that concludes right here in Saint Lucia.

Started in 1986, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers has taken place every November as a way for sailing enthusiasts to safely cross the Atlantic together.

World ARC fleet at Cocos Keeling (c) Sarah Barthelet

The Rally begins in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. During the first leg of the journey, the boats sail to Mindelo, Sao Vicente in Cape Verde. During the second leg they sail to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia! The boats typically arrive anytime between November 29th and December 3rd.

atlanticrallycruisers

Though the rally is not a race, some friendly competitive sportsmanship definitely plays a part. Handicaps are given based on factors such as the type of boat or the number of people in the crew. On December 9th, once all the boats have arrived in Rodney Bay, an awards ceremony is held and awards are given out in different categories such as “First two-manned boat to cross the finish line” or even fun titles such as “prettiest boat.”

WARC15_Mauritius_Prize Giving_-10

Over 200 boats and 1200 sailors participate in the yearly event which attracts everyone from casual sailing families with children to serious racers, from big boats to small boats and everything in between. Those who do not wish to calculate their results are not obligated to do so and can simply enjoy this fun, social and safe way to sail across the Atlantic! The ARC has created a supportive community based in friendship and a shared interest in sailing.

WARC15_Mauritius_Prize Giving_-16

The social aspects of the ARC are witnessed by all who visit Rodney Bay during this time period. The achievement of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a small sailboat is celebrated and regardless when each boat arrives, the crew is greeted with refreshments and rum punch. As the ARC says “No matter what time of day or night, the welcome party will be waiting for you!”

The popularity of the Rally has attracted the attention of so many sailors and sailing enthusiasts that a second category called the ARC+ was opened and these boats come to our very own Marigot Bay! The entire event is an exciting part of St. Lucian island life that provides a fascinating look into the world of sailing. You can even view the sailing progress of each of the boats online by clicking here. I certainly hope you will join us for the excitement either in person or at very least on social media!

Please let me know if you will be partaking in this year’s ARC so that I can follow along on Social Media.  I would love to share your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Good luck to all of the participants!

A Visit To The Rum Distillery

edit_MG_3057

Rum and the Caribbean go hand in hand. There isn’t any other drink that will recall the quintessential Caribbean island setting quite like it. St. Lucia has a rich history of rum production and boasts a wide variety of different types and flavors. When my Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistant let me know I could visit a genuine rum distillery and see how the entire process works as well as sample every variety of rum created there, I couldn’t resist!

edit_MG_3044

The creation of rum is highly connected to the organized production of sugar. The fermentation of molasses, the by-product of sugar production, is the first step to rum creation.

edit_MG_3052

At first, it appeared to me as if the molasses was boiling. I learned, however, that what I was seeing was the fermentation process in which yeast is introduced into the molasses to begin creating alcohol.

edit_MG_3056

After fermentation comes the distillation process. I was fascinated to discover that in order to create rum, the fermented molasses is sealed in a vessel that heats the liquid so the alcohol evaporates. The evaporated alcohol is then re-condensed and collected, ultimately becoming the raw rum spirit!

We also learned that each of the stills, (the primary apparatus used in the distillation process), can vary widely from one to another. Each variant can have a profound effect on the outcome of the rum. The distillation process can also yield a number of by-products that are useful in other industries.

edit_MG_3054

The raw rum spirit is often aged in barrels or infused with herbs, fruits, spices or juices to produce a specific type of flavored rum. It is also diluted with water to the specific alcoholic potency desired for its type of rum.

edit_MG_3060

Even though I was aware that many different types of rum exist, I was surprised to realize just how many and impressed that one distillery could create varieties so vastly different from one another.

edit_MG_3064

Here at the St. Lucia Distillers Group in Roseau Valley, nearly 30 different types of rum are made! We were able to sample a good portion of those which was both delicious and fun. After everything we had learned, it was even more fascinating to note the differences in taste, texture, sweetness, color and alcohol content of each!

edit_MG_3031

My personal favorite was the Nutz’n Rum, a deliciously sweet peanut flavored rum cream.

edit_MG_3035

I definitely left the distillery with a newfound appreciation for this amazing product and the wide variety of cocktails that can be created with it!

Is it any wonder that I spent some time at The Rum Cave afterwards learning how to mix some of my favorite rum cocktails?  And, in case you missed it, here’s a rum cocktail you have to try at home:  Capella Marigot Bay’s The Rum Goddess!

Enjoy!