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If you're heading to the Caribbean for some winter sun, you’ll no doubt be sampling some of the islands’ finest food. And if you want to bring some of that island vibe back to your own kitchen, there are plenty of places to pick up some pointers on spicing up those cold post-holiday evenings. From boutique and high-end hotels to restaurants and home-based classes, here are five places you can get your Caribbean cook on...
Such is Antigua's beauty that you could enjoy your time there just soaking it up while doing very little. But what could be better than taking it in with views of the sea and St. John's over your first authentic home-cooked Caribbean meal? Sign up for an intimate class with Nicole's Table and get some expert guidance on West Indian curry making, seafood specialities or cooking with rum. Yum.
If you want to get your dose of sunshine on the Spice Isle, the idyllic, solar-powered boutique villas of Maca Bana in St. George’s are just the ticket. Aside from the to-die-for coastal views each apartment has a well-equipped kitchen that you'll actually want to use. Book a private lesson with one of the local chefs from the adjoining Aquarium restaurant and you can really get the most out of it. Have fun and take home some expert tips on cooking callaloo, blackened fish or ginger glazed lobster, Grenadian style.
Overlooking St. Lucia's magical twin peaks, The Pitons and with crystal waters and coral reefs below, Jade Mountain is the island's ultimate romantic getaway. Best of all, the resort has put as much into its culinary culture as its exquisite design: with a head chef who’s also the spokesman for the National Mango Board, you know you’re in good hands. The passion for food is there to be shared, and a host of unique events and workshops are arranged across each season’s calendar. 'Spices of The Caribbean' 'Cooking in Paradise' and a 'Mango Madness' festival are highlights of the upcoming year.
Cooking in Barbados is a big deal and you can pick up plenty of gastronomic tips just talking to friendly locals. If you’re staying at the gorgeous high-end Sandy Lane in St. James however, you could enrol for some bespoke expert lessons from their Culinary School. The island’s oldest hotel The Crane also offers private lessons in your own suite from their fantastic chef. If you want the real Bajan thing though, pop down to Sweet Potatoes restaurant in St. Lawrence Gap for a one, two or three-day crash course in cooking up a storm of flying fish, cou cou, salt fish cakes and souse & pudding.
Jamaica's all about the jerk and if you can't get enough of it, Port Antonio's Mocking Bird Hotel can feed you as much knowledge as flavour. With award-winning Caribbean cookery writer Rosemary Parkinson at the helm, the hotel's six day course covers the history of Jamaican seasoning, alongside lessons on local fruit and veg and making sumptuous, boozy desserts. All with field trips and beach stops thrown in.
Pick up any tips on your travels? Know of anywhere great to learn Caribbean cooking? Let us know in the comments below.
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About the author: andrewAndrew Bowman
Andrew is an occasional contributor to the Virgin Atlantic blog. He lived in the Japanese countryside for two years until he could no longer resist the pull of London's galleries, pubs and clubs. He likes to pretend he can speak Japanese and also sometimes writes about music.