At House of Coco HQ, we wile away our hours by talking or thinking about food and holidays. Fortunately for us Cap Maison, a boutique resort in the north of St Lucia, has combined the two.
They have introduced a new immersive gastronomy package for epicurean enthusiasts to try their hand at cooking (and eating), St Lucian-style. Guests can forage in the St Lucian rainforest for island ingredients, discover plantations, food markets, local farms and street feasts, as well as learn how to cook traditional dishes.
The gastronomy holiday includes the following:
- An edible landscape excursion,foraging in the colourful St Lucian rainforest with local expert Veronica Shingelton-Smith, learning about native plants and wildlife and how they are used in St Lucian cooking. The rainforest’s rich pickings include guava, mango and soursop, which guests will then use in a private cooking class in their villa kitchen with Cap Maison’s Executive Chef Craig Jones.
- An accompanied trip to a smallholding farmto meet with a local farmer and supplier of produce to Cap Maison’s two restaurants, The Cliff at Cap and The Naked Fisherman, followed by lunch at a traditional St Lucian restaurant in fishing village, Gros Islet.
- A tour around the vibrant Castries market, picking up ingredients and talking to market traders who showcase their wares of herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables. Guests will then go back to the kitchen and learn to cook a Caribbean dish of their choice with their market produce.
- A visit to a hot pepper plantationin the north of the island, followed by a cooking class on how to cook a traditional pepper pot – a spicy meat and vegetable stew cooked in hot pepper sauce, a melange of St Lucia flavours in one pot.
- A talk on the health benefits of island elementsfrom Matthew Hartmann, discovering how natural ingredients on island such as coconut, cacao, cassava, bananas, honey and mud from the Soufriere mud baths can benefit one’s wellbeing; this is followed by a special natural spa treatment at Spa Maison using local cocoa.
- A boat trip in a local pirogue down to the Friday night Anse-La-Raye Fish Fry, an open-air street party which sees local chefs showcasing their catch in a fish fiesta.
It is not only the food that will delight on this trip; guests can also discover the island bounty – rum. Cap Maison’s own ‘rummelier’ will teach gueststhe art of solera blending rum and they can take home a bottle of the hotel’s own house-blended spirit. As well as rum, guests can enjoy a wine tasting session at Cellar Maison to learn about wine pairings with expert sommelier, Jasper Kok.
The melting pot of colonial influences takes root in St Lucia’s creole cuisine, while the French cooking flair helps to give it that special “je ne sais quoi”, with the aesthetics of a meal paramount. This is seen in the presentation of dishes at Cap Maison’s fine-dining restaurant, The Cliff at Cap. The island’s fertile volcanic soil sustains a rich diversity of plant and animal life, enhancing the goodness of local dishes and the surrounding waters abound with seafood, which guests can experience at the resort’s beachside restaurant, The Naked Fisherman.
Cap Maison’s immersive gastronomy holiday costs from £2,500 per person for a seven-night stay in a one-bedroom villa suite, on an all-inclusive basis including all activities aforementioned (www.capmaison.com; 020 8977 6099).