Published: November 1st 2011October 26th 2011
A home in the mountains
We were fortunate to stop near Jesse’s aunt & uncle’s house in the mountains. The landscaping was beautiful.
A Taste of Trini
Eating our way around the island, what a novel approach to touring. Thanks to Jesse James, our guide and a world-class eater in his own right, we had a fabulous day. We left on our trip at 9AM and when we returned to the marina at 7PM we determined that we had tried approximately 24 new foods (give or take 1 or 2). It was a great introduction to some of the local foods while still learning lots more about this great country. The day was full of laughs, great food and all of our purchases supported local vendors. We started the day with Jesse asking who had not tasted doubles. Bob was the only “doubles” virgin in the whole bus, and Jesse was amazed. This is quite messy to eat, but definitely worth it. It is made from two fried breads that are filled with a chickpea curry dish and hot pepper sauce (similar to chana masala). This is then wrapped in wax paper. What a great way to start a morning – not sure if you’d want to go back to a dull bowl of cereal again! They do know how to spice up their
Satellite TV is everywhere
The neighbors had a satellite dish on the roof of their house. This is quite high in the mountainous area of the country.
day right from the start. Hopefully the photos will cover most of the local foods that we tried. One Trini specialty that Jesse really was desperate for us to try was barbequed pigtails. Yes, you heard that right. Quite a few of us had a sigh of relief when the vendor did not have any ready to eat. On to the next delicacy. How about a lime slushy to cool things down? That seemed to work and was a new item to some of the cruisers, believe it or not. Throughout the day Jesse seemed to stop at all the local food vendors around the island (and not surprisingly they all seemed to know him).
Not only did we eat our way around the island, but we got to see many new areas of the island as we went through the central mountain area to the Atlantic coast of the country. What a beautiful country this is. If you haven’t guessed yet we have been very impressed with Trinidad and we can now see how people can get “stuck” here and not want to leave.
We had a chance to go to one of the government run beaches, Manzanilla Beach
Inside the cocoa bean
This is the inside of the cocoa bean. The white substance is quite sticky – you can suck this off the bean if you like. Janice did not like, Bob thought it was OK.
to see the Atlantic coastline. This area is also lined with numerous palm trees as it is an area that raises coconuts. The coconut is used not only for eating and drinking, but for coconut oil which is found in numerous products like soap, shampoos and conditioners. This area is also known for growing watermelon, refreshing and sweet. Watermelon usually is planted in dry, sandy conditions but here they plant in the east of the island where it is wet. They cover the plants with coconut leaves and from what we saw and tasted it’s an extremely successful strategy.
Some of the common meats eaten here are beef, chicken, goat and lamb. Most are barbequed and everything you eat is on the bone. We also tried a few fruits. One that was memorable was the pumcity. It is marinated in garlic, chadon beni (similar in taste to cilantro) and hot sauce. As if this wasn’t strange enough for a fruit, the inside had “spikes” like bones. That was definitely a surprise for everyone. You sometimes wonder how the first person came up with thinking this was something good to eat! Bob really enjoyed eating it but agreed that the spikes
Coffee Beans fresh on the tree
This is one of many coffee plants that we saw with the beans still on the tree.
were a bit of a challenge to eat around.
One of the cruisers in the van with us asked about signs she saw advertising “cutters”. When she asked Jesse that gave him the idea for another stop. He explained that cutters is similar to having an appetizer at a bar when having a drink. We stopped for a cold one and cutters of pork. Typically cutters is some type of meat (pork, beef, etc) cooked in barbeque sauce and then “cut up” and placed on a dish with toothpicks as utensils. Hence, we added cutters to the list of local foods tried today. The previous week’s Taste of Trini trip got back to the marinas about 4PM, however, we were way past this already. On our way back to the boats we had two more stops. Remembering that we didn’t have a chance to try the barbeque pig tails, Jesse was determined that no self-respecting cruiser could leave Trinidad without trying pigtails. As a result he stopped the van in town and walked a distance to a place he knew that had them. These are one of Jesse’s favorites, but they weren’t of the group of cruisers. Many tried them
Another one of Bob's
Another one of those “Bob” photos that Bob wants to take wherever we are.
(Bob included). The most common comment was that the sauce was excellent but they were a little fatty! When you looked at them they simply looked liked cooked pieces of meat. Jesse said that was because they don’t eat the curl!!! Our last stop was for the perfect thing to end a day of eating exotic foods, homemade ice cream! The flavors ran from the common of chocolate to the unusual of pineapple cherry and coconut. Janice enjoyed the pistachio and Bob had the cherry vanilla. We were amazed at the number of flavors and how creamy the ice cream was. This individual really knows how to make ice cream. The ice cream was 8TT ($1.50) and filled a large styrofoam coffee cup. We all agreed that none of us needed any dinner and probably wouldn’t eat again until at least lunch time the next day.
This is why we love cruising so much. Not only did we learn about the local foods but we also learn more about the country and her people, had great laughs with Jesse and the other cruisers from around the world. If you ever get a chance to take a vacation somewhere special,
Jesse is always on the phone doing business. We stopped for a sample of “cutters” to have with a beer. Cutters is cut up pieces of barbequed meat – this time it was pork.
Trinidad should definitely be on your list of places to go.
There are more photos below