Article and photos by Elena del Valle
Lunch at Papillote Wilderness Retreat and Tropical Garden
While in Dominica, an ecotourism destination in the Caribbean, I enjoyed mostly organic meals. At the Pavilion Restaurant, the restaurant of the Jungle Bay Resort & Spa where I stayed, the meals were organic. Ingredients at the responsible tourism oriented property were sourced locally. I also liked the opportunity they offered guests to sample Dominican dishes and beverages. At breakfast, there were local tea bags and fresh cocoa tea. One day they made lemongrass tea with fresh plucked lemongrass I brought from a hike. Enjoyment of the healthy food at the poolside restaurant was enhanced by a direct view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Nearby, at the Riverside Cafe in the Citrus Creek Plantation at La Plaine (Taberi La Plaine + 1 767 446 1234,www.citruscreekplantation.com, email@example.com) I enjoyed the most flavorful and refined meal during my week long visit to the island. The Citrus Creek Plantation, a French owned luxury real estate community under development on the Taberi River near Turtle Beach, was open for lunch (dinner on request). Patricia Charpentier, a native of Normandy, France with life experience in the kitchen, cooked with mostly garden and locally grown and sourced products.
Patricia Charpentier of the Riverside Cafe
While I tasted the green mango, cytere and prune juice (plastic bottled soft drinks were banned) Hervé “RV” Nizard, the owner, described the projects that were being developed on the riverside property. I sampled the Tasting Platter of fried sweet potatoes, boiled plantains, mashed pumpkin, carambola (starfruit), ginger pork, wonderful homemade mustard salad dressing, salted codfish with lime, shredded cabbage, spicy seafood with coconut milk, green papaya and a fresh salad with zeb couresse fragrant creole leaves, and served with French red table wine.
Dessert was chocolate cake made with imported French dark chocolate from neighboring Guadeloupe and served with organic mint, bananas and cinnamon from the garden. It was uber moist and served with banana slices. I fell in love with Charpentier’s carambola and carambola and bitter orange jams. The open air garden side cafe filled with the sounds of the river and insects (not the biting kind) was a most attractive setting to dine and make the meal memorable.
Charpentier’s carambola and carambola and bitter orange jams and chocolate dessert
Lunch at Le Flambeau Restaurant
At the beachfront and informal Le Flambeau Restaurant at the Portsmouth Beach Hotel (Picard Plantation, off Robert Ross Blvd, North West Dominica, +767 445-5142, www.leflambeaudominica.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) on the northwest corner of the island I had freshwater crayfish washed down with passion fruit juice followed by coconut and guava ice cream and chocolate cake, both homemade. From my simple plastic chair and table I gazed onto a pretty quiet beach while, occasionally, stray dogs wondered in searching for leftovers.
In Roseau, I had a delicious local style lunch at the Talipot Gallery within walking distance of my hotel. The art gallery cum restaurant with a view of the Caribbean from the verandah was owned by Nancy Osler. On offer were Dominican and international dishes in the restaurant that catered to locals and visitors. The meals at the Fort Young Hotel, where I stayed, were made fresh daily with local products. The water fronting restaurant offered a lovely setting and views of the Caribbean, the southern end of the island and a partial view of the town. The smoked marlin appetizer on the dinner menu was a favorite of mine.
Anne Jno Baptiste, co-owner, Papillote Wilderness Retreat and Tropical Garden
At the 14-acre Papillote Wilderness Retreat and Tropical Garden (P. O. Box 2287, Trafalgar Falls Road, Roseau, + 767 448 2287, Fax + 767 448 2285 email@example.com ,www.papillote.dm, http://www.papillotegardens.org) in the verdant Roseau River Valley minutes from Roseau yet feeling a world away I had a locally sourced organic meal. During my midday visit I had an opportunity to meet Anne Jno Baptiste, a gracious lady and one of the owners of the property. An enthusiastic staff member guided us around the gardens in the pouring rain (with umbrellas) until my shoes were so wet they made a squishing noise when I walked. In spite of the rainy weather I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and would be pleased to return to explore the gardens in the sunshine, indulge in a hot springs dip and sample other dishes.
Do you realize how fortunate you were to be with Anne? The stories, her life, the life and once death due to David of Papilotte, the rebirth due to her and Cuthbert, her all encompassing knowledge and sense of humor…she is a rare breed indeed.