Monday, 11 August 2014

The Taste of Trini Tour

Whilst John was working away on the boat I decided to see a bit more of Trinidad and booked myself on the Taste of Trini Tour. This was a tour devised and led by Jesse James, a local who runs Members Only, a Maxi Taxi firm. He also helps to run the Cruisers Net in the mornings. He works very closely with the yachting community and is the Port Officer for the Ocean Cruising Club....any queries you ask Jesse and he will try to sort it.The tour takes you over to the Atlantic side of Trini then back up through the middle to the west .As you travel Jesse stops at local street vendors buying local delicacies and drinks so you can really capture the 'Taste of Trini'. The cuisine is very much a fusion of Eastern Indian and Carib which results in a unique Trini flavour in most cases. We left Powerboats at 9 o clock in the morning to return nearly twelve hours later stuffed with food and with our taste buds on sensory overload having tasted 78 different foods and drinks. This was not the record which stands at 95! I think we might of  come somewhere near this if some of the fruits had not been out of season but my stomach was telling me 78 was quite enough thank you! These were some of my favourites..

   Roast bake bread, garlic and tamarind hot sauce with salt fish ,smoke herring and Pakchoi

                                                      Barra and chana with hot pepper sauce.

                                  There is no special way to eat a double's messy but delicious! 
                                          Both these two dishes were part of our breakfast !

After travelling over to the eastern side we stopped for lunch at Manzanilla Beach. The red flags were up on the beach so no swimming so the twenty or so lifeguards who were dotted up and down the beach had nothing to do....but watch the Atlantic rollers break.

Jesse laid out our tasters for lunch ......Acra,curried potato,dhal purri,two different types of roti,fried shark,rice and three different drinks, Mauby drink, Peanut punch and Linseed and SeaMoss drink which tasted like Tapioca...not a particular favourite. I did like the Mauby which comes from the bark of a tree and has a slight licorice flavour

Whilst we were there Jesse made a pineapple chow for later consumption. This was chopped pineapple, salt, pepper, lime juice,chilli and Callaloo. I have got to say it was delicious! Something I will definitely try at home!
As we drove along the beach we came to where the River meets the Atlantic and there was an amazing swamp area.
                                                                                         The Navira Swamp

We turned inland and up into the Teak plantations and all along the side of the road people were selling their wares. This is a fertile area and outside many homes there were stalls set out with fresh produce at ridiculously cheap prices....two pounds of tomatoes 60p equivalent is just one example. Some were also selling fish and land crabs.

                                                 You can just see the land crabs tied together to the left of the shark
Trinidad is starting to grow more Cocoa and Jesse took us past a plantation where he picked a couple of pods for us to look at and taste. After cracking the pod open you suck the pods which actually tasted a lot better than I thought they would!

                                                             These cocoa pods are just not quite ripe enough yet!

Back in England I have tried to grow these air plants with very little success. I think that the atmosphere is too dry and not humid enough because they grow on trees here!

I thoroughly enjoyed my outing and this is a trip I would recommend, you have to pace yourself and really only taste the food put in front of you. Jesse makes it a fun day and he seems to enjoy it as much as us.He is a mind of information and obviously a Trini through and through! My five favourite tastes were:
Mauby Drink
Smoked Herring on roast bake bread
Roast bagan choka

I really wasn't that taken with the Cow Heel soup or the BBQ pigtail but I would not have missed the opportunity to taste them.

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