Welcome to all things culinary St. Maarten/St. Martin island style.
The Caribbean island St. Maarten / St. Martin has been called the Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean for a long time. An entire village on the French side of the island called Grand Case was dedicated to restaurants. This village comprised of one long main street running parallel to the beach. On either side of the street were many little cottages, some of which were turned into quaint restaurants and small boutique hotels.
The old village ambiance was not lost as many small homes were still lived in. Every now and then one could catch a glimpse of the gorgeous bay and white sand beaches betweeen the buildings. Old style fishing boats nestled into the sand and domino players set up tables under the trees giving the age-old feeling of time standing still.
At one end of the village were (and still are) the Lolo’s. The Lolos comprise of a number of local rib shacks viing for the number one spot. They all have huge BBQ’s going cooking ribs and chicken, fish and lobster. A number of dishes are filled with the local sides of plantain, pasta, christophene, slaw and the local bread called Johnny cake. Condiment trays are waiting on the tables, choose the kind of hot sauce you prefer to slather over your BBQ. The smell of charcoal, the buzz of happy diners and the sound of the sea all mingle giving the visitor a unique experience.
One could wander along the road reading the menus displayed outside, deciding which resaurant was calling out to them. The food was exquisite at all of these restaurants, they all prided themselves with their excellent service.
The island recently went through the worst experience the weather could throw out there – during Hurricane Irma, (September 2017) the island suffered the loss of multiple homes, businesses and of course many watering holes and fine-dining establishments. Grand Case suffered badly. The wind blew away the rooves and the sea came flooding through leaving utter devastation covered in piles of sea sand.
One would imagine that this kind of devastation would knock the people down to the point of despair but the islander’s amazing spirit and resilience has become focused on rebuilding and, through sheer hard work, many places, including foodie establishments, are up and running. New and old restaurants are popping back up – there are many exciting new and renewed old favourite places we are dying to try out asap and bring to you restaurant reviews of old and new! Grand Case is begining to hum again with a number of beautifully renovated restaurants ready to welcome guest to once again experience fine dining or laid-back BBQ at the Lolo’s.
Many much-loved supermarkets took a bad hit during the storm. For awhile there one wondered if the food shopping emporiums would resurface – and they have! In one case, the Dutchside supermarkets, LGM/Carrefour, are now sharing space under one roof. Refurbished it is an incredible place to shop, the old products nestle with the new on shelves that reach almost to the ceiling. Super new fridges and freezers have been installed. There are delightful products and produce, many of which we have not seen before.
The many Asian food shops are making their come-back. In these stores one finds the regular and on occasion the exotic product – what is it, you may wonder, as you try to understand the description. The Frenchside supermarkets and food stores are making a come-back too, again there is a small problem with the language if one does not speak or read French.
We love eating out and we love cooking at home. Shopping is exciting, with the plethora of intriguing products from all over the world on the shelves of the island supermarkets we are eager to try out new dishes, there is an exciting time ahead of us.
Join us as we dive in head first with unbiased Restaurant reviews; culinary tours; recipes; food and flavours of the island. Caribbean cuisine, Island style!
Born and raised in Southern Africa to parents whose love of its culture and of the food laid the foundation for Luci’s life-long love affair with culinary arts.
Memories of traveling extensively through the tropics of Central and Southern Africa enjoying the diversity of ethnic African cuisines begin at three.
Luci became adept at catching fresh seafood and harvesting straight from the land. Using cast-iron pots and cooking over open fires became her preferred style of cooking.
Luci set off cruising from South Africa in the 80’s with her husband and three daughters. Venturing across the Atlantic and up the coastline of Brazil they came upon St. Maarten/St. Martin and fell in love with the beautiful Caribbean island and its diverse peoples and cultures.
The family eventually moved ashore after living onboard for many years; they have a garden large enough to grow for the table although these days this is quite hard with the iguana and monkeys that seem to think the plantings have been done especially for them.