7 Must-Try Items at the Tobago Blue Food Festival

As written by Laura for and published by Propa Eats Magazine.
If the drive along the Caribbean coast and through Northside Road’s misty hills doesn’t lull you into anticipation of what awaits at the Tobago Blue Food Festival, the smells that waft into your nose as you exit your car will certainly do the trick. This weekend, the Blue Food Festival marked its 19th year celebrating Tobagonians’ unique creations using the ground provision dasheen. Locals call the root vegetable “blue food” for the indigo colour it embodies while cooking.

Some patrons come to the festival with their coolers (empty to take home spoils from the culinary booths); some just come with empty stomachs and open minds. Dasheen is more than the commonly known leaves that make callalloo, but an extremely versatile root vegetable. The local cooks at the festival show off traditional and innovati

BlueFoodDasheenIceCream

ve culinary dishes to tantalize patrons’ taste buds and for competition (a.k.a. bragging rights).

As I navigated through the boothsand tables with kids in tow (it is a kid-friendly event, after all), I tasted, talked and observed to compile this list of must-trys at the Tobago Blue Food Festival, so you won’t miss them next year.

Dasheen Ice Cream

Nearly everyone named dasheen ice cream as one thing they couldn’t leave the Blue Food Festival without having. It’s creamy, a bit nutty and just plain good.

Dasheen Wine 

The wide variety of dasheen wine options indicated its popularity. Big bottles and small bottles of the sweet liquor were widely “finished” as the event progressed and in patrons’ hands on the shuttle ride back home. Who knew such a starchy product could  make such a delicate wine?

BlueFoodDasheenKhurma

Dasheen Punch 

For those looking for a softer beverage, dasheen punch offer

s a creamy sip with bits of the earthy dasheen to add some texture. Alcoholic versions are also available for those who really like a “punch” (pun intended).

Dasheen Khurma

With all the sweet treats available, my kids still selected, devoured and voted dasheen khurma as the best. The little sticks were crunchy, gingery and sugary—not to mention gluten-free, which was really the only difference between them and the sweets you’re used to enjoying.

Bush Meat with Provision 

BlueFoodIguana

If you followed the crowd, it led to you to where the wild things were. Dasheen dumplings and cut-up provision accompanied an array of stewed iguana, tattoo, rabbit, goat and, of course, Tobago’s famous crab. While dasheen took a humble backseat to the wild meat, it served as the perfect partner to sop up all the yummy sauces.

Light Dasheen Fruit Cake

There were very heavy black-cake-like versions of dasheen fruit cake but the lighter ones available offered a feathery alternative using dasheen flour. You can eat whole slice before realizing it’s done. I know… I did that. And no… I don’t regret it.

Blue Food Shop

The by-products of dasheen were just as impressive as the edible creations. And some looked good enough to eat. Seriously, there was one dasheen soap shaped like cake. Soaps, creams, oil, and candles were available for those looking for organic, locally-made home and body products.  Dasheen cake soap

So next year, when you go to the Blue Food Festival, take your sense of adventure. Be prepared for muddy feet (it’s rainy season, you know), try something new (dasheen pizza, anyone?), go on the Dasheen Farm Tour (the largest of its kind in Tobago), and look around to appreciate the beauty of the earth that provides and produces the provision. The charm of Tobago’s culinary heritage integrated into modern innovation will have you coming back for more.

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Babycakes for my baby

So today Adelaide bamboozled me. Yep … sure did. I’ve prided myself in the past on knowing when she’s faking but this morning she got me. She started to complaining that her “tummy was going in circles” when we were in the middle of breakfast. She (like her dad) can think her way into her sickbed and this has been a thing before. I figured it was the Monday-morning-don’t-want-to-go-to-school blues so I employed my usual tactic and encouraged to her continue getting ready for school. But when she told me 30 minutes later, “Mommy I’m 1000% I don’t fell good,” I second guessed my tough-love approach. So I told her she could stay home. But I DID make her pinky promise (that is the ultimate level of promise between us) that if she started to feel better that she would go to school.

Well … by 10 a.m. it was pretty apparent whatever “ailment” she had wasn’t there so I sat her down and reminded her of the pinky promise. By 10:30 a.m. we were in the car headed for her school. As I drove home, I just shook my head. I couldn’t believe she fooled me. She’s only five years old!

We also discussed why she didn’t want to go to school. It is heartwarming that my little girl wants to spend her days next to me, but it’s also heart-wrenching because she wants to so that she doesn’t have to feel the ache of separation anxiety  when we have to say goodbye for a little while.20160908_173218

So after school I busted out the Babycakes cake pop maker for my baby girl. Grandma gave this little gem to Adelaide as a Christmas gift and it has been a lot of fun. For a while my creativity was stunted and I just made plain ol’ cake pops using a box cake mix because they were easy to make with Adelaide and our decision to make them was usually spontaneous. A few weeks ago clouds lifted from my creative brain matter as I pondered the usual dinner dilemma and I thought, “Wait! I bet you can make all sorts of stuff in this thing!” And sure enough … you can. I found a ton of ideas online and have tried a few already.

Well … today we stayed simple because I was dying to try brownies in the cake pop maker! It was amazing. I used a box brownie mix and followed the directions to make cake-like brownies (I added a tiny bit more water because I like them a bit lighter) and viola! Delicious brownie balls. Some came out looking a little odd but delicious all the same. The brownie balls didn’t last the night and two-year-old Oliver definitely approved.

I recommend the Babycakes cake pop maker because, really, the options are endless with what you can do with it. It’s easy with kids who want to help make whatever you’re making, and the end product usual earns you extra cool-mom points and is just as impressive to adults.

Here are links to three of my favorite cake pop maker idea generators:

6 Things You Can Make in A Cake Pop Maker – Besides Cake by OneGoodThingByJillee

14 Things You Can Make For Dinner In A Cake Pop Maker by Diply

Tips & Recipes by Babycakes

 

 

 

A Jewel of an Experience: Davis Jewelers

Me, the watch and Mr. Hank Davis of Davis Jewelers

Me, the watch and Mr. Hank Davis of Davis Jewelers

I walked into Davis Jewelers in Louisville, Kentucky to get a tiny little hidden diamond on wedding ring fixed (actually it’s my engagement ring but I liked it so much I didn’t want to clutter it with another ring after the hubby and I got hitched). My sister had helped my husband get my ring so I actually had never been in Davis Jewelers before. Of course, I was impressed with classy-but-not-over-the-top building and the refined interior (and certainly appreciated the kids play area even though I didn’t bring along my little tikes) but it was the people that won me over.

After I left my ring with the lovely lady arranging the repair, I casually meandered over to the watches section just out of curiosity. My husband has this uber-expensive watch he laments not being able to wear because the band needs to be replaced but the cost is … well … utterly ridiculous. I wondered what the prices were on other nice timepieces. Well … as I was taking a quick peek the nicest gentleman ever approached me and asked me if he could help me with something. I did see a watch that caught my fancy so I figured why not at least see it up close. Well … the man was none other than Mr. Hank Davis himself, President & CEO.

At first I was surprised that the CEO would be assisting customers instead of holing up in an office; then I was flattered that he was the one helping me; and then I was just completely won over with his gentle professionalism, kindness and amazing knowledge of every product. The result: I walked out with a gorgeous Longines watch for my husband for Father’s Day and to reward him for endearing a rough year.

Now … I had NO INTENTION of getting anything other than a repaired wedding ring but the amazing service sold me something I didn’t even think I wanted. It is so true that personal attention and non-pushy service will win sales … I am living proof.

So … I highly recommend Davis Jewelers to anyone in the Louisville, Kentucky area not only for their flawless service but also because they are homegrown, family business. The family business started ages ago and then young Hank decided to check out the jewelry industry (I admire the courageous risk, Hank). He started modest in downtown Louisville but evolved Davis Jewelers into a respected and beloved jewelry source for fine fashion jewelry, bridal jewelry and Swiss watches. Now his daughter, Ashley, is in the business as VP and other associates seem like family, too. And the fact that Davis Jewelers is the Official Fine Jeweler of the Kentucky Derby Festival is just plain warm-fuzzy for me who gets all sentimental wherever I am in the world on the first Saturday in May.

If you can’t go in person, check out their online store at www.davisjewelers.com. I am sure their service is just as grand there.

Restaurant Review: One Nineteen West Main, LaGrange, Kentucky

Today I had lunch with a dear friend from my teenage years … Kelly Wakild White. Back then I so admired her vivacious and magnetic personality and 20 years later I still do.  That chick has not changed one bit and my esteem for her hasn’t either. She is stinkin’ hilarious and a darling.  She recently moved to Oldham County, KY from a neighboring county and so I suggested we visit one of my favorite eating spots in LaGrange: One Nineteen West Main.

One Nineteen West Main is a family-owned restaurant on the quaint Main Street section of

One Nineteen West Main's

One Nineteen West Main’s
“Haute Brown”

LaGrange. We’re talking train-running-through-the-street-mere-feet-away-from the-turn-of-the-century-buildings quaint. The restaurant’s menu is full of clever versions of local favorites like homemade kettle chips,  “Haute Brown” or “Thanksgiving Dinner on A Bun” (all fabulous, by the way) that satisfy my cravings for real comfort food. Living in the Caribbean for so long has given me a deep appreciation for food that is familiar and cozy.

The waitstaff at One Nineteen West Main is friendly and warm, suggesting their favorites dishes and offering sweet tea, lemonade or Coke products (so ya’ll know you’re in the South). And the witty menu descriptions of each dish accentuates the whole experience to make it feel like you’re in a conversation with your funny favorite next door neighbor.

Besides … who can resist the Kentucky Bacon Pie?  Creamy caramel filling blessed with pralines, chocolate chips, diced bacon (yes, really!) on a scratch-made pretzel crust with a mocha whipped cream topping! They say “think chocolate-covered pretzels or salted caramel — bacon isn’t the main flavor.” Yum!

Try out One Nineteen West Main the next time you’re in LaGrange, or make the drive for that

I couldn't resist sharing this picture of Kelly and I on Main Street LaGrange ... squinty eyes and all!

I couldn’t resist sharing this picture of Kelly and I on Main Street LaGrange … squinty eyes and all!

very purpose. Then saunter up and down Main Street. I am sure you will be as charmed as I am ever time.

http://onenineteenwestmain.com
www.discoverlagrange.org

Review: FINIS H2 Goggles

When my daughter was learning how to swim, I was told that goggles would help her progress. So I picked up some cheapie goggles at a local store. I didn’t think she would actually want to wear goggles so I didn’t want to invest much. Well … she had no problem putting on the goggles but she did have a problem keeping them on. They leaked and were uncomfortable so Adelaide was not impressed. I think she maybe lasted two minutes in them each time. So … I did a bit of research and found the ultra cute and well reviewed FINIS H2 goggles on Amazon. I ordered a pair and viola! She loved them. I mean … they were pink so I knew she would at least like how they looked. finisgoogles

The FINIS H2 goggles fit great and are comfortable. She has never had any leaking and her hair has never tangled in the straps. Other than comfort, the likelihood of the straps getting caught in her very long curly hair was a big thing for me.

We swim almost every day and these have been great. In fact, I attribute the goggles to her speedy development in underwater swimming. I am amazed when I watch her swim, jump and dive.! I highly recommend these goggles for any child. Adelaide started wearing hers when she was three years old so they are great for younger kids. They come in a variety of colors which is great for picky swimmers like mine. Plus! The price was great … just under $10 USD.