Trini Christmas Wishlist – To Taste

Trinidad and Tobago is a true diamond in the rough with a topography that retained some of the rainforests and biodiversity from its South American neighbours before the Pangea split. This southernmost twin island republic is situated just outside the hurricane belt. This means the destination has been fortunate to avoid the wrath of cataclysmic storms and hurricanes during the tyranny of the rainy season. The destination was formerly inhabited by native Amerindians; the Tainos and the Kalinagos. They would soon fall under the ‘protection’ of the Spanish colonizers. European settlers like the French, the Portugese and the Dutch also become part of the changing demographic before its final ownership and freedom from its British colonizers. India, Africa, China and the Middle East would soon call Trinidad their new home before the destination gained their independence in 1962. Today, the country is a diverse blend of cosmopolitan races and ethnicities enriched by tradition and cultural practices. It is this blended ancestral lineage that births an indescribable energy which serves as the impetus for creativity and innovation. Unmistakably, this is evident in the design of Trinidad Carnival, the fashion and creative experiences within the lingering notes of the  island's music and the delicate balance of flavour in the destination's sumptuous cuisine.

Christmas in Trinidad and Tobago is another opportunity for visitors to truly experience the warmth of the destination and the multifaceted Trini Christmas menu. Caribbean islands share similarities in the historical origins of some of the items that appear on the Trini Christmas menu. Trinidad Black Cake is a dense and moist fruitcake darkened by homemade or store bought browning. Its origins are traced to the British colonizers and their savoir faire for plum pudding. Pastelle is another tradition. It is similar to the Latin American tamale but quite different in the complexity of its preparation, pressing and wrapping process. It has several origins with stories of its arrival from the cocoa panyols (the Venezuelans who came to work on the cocoa estates) , the native Amerindians and even bearing a resemblance to a cooking technique shared by African and European settlers. The same cocoa panyols are credited for the ponche de crème/ponche ah crème. Unlike the Venezuelan’s thickly constituted ponche crema, the Trini adaptation is a thinner yet smooth and creamy libation of Trinidad rum, milk, eggs, sweetened condense milk or sugar, homegrown spices like nutmeg and a hint of lime zest. The flavour dimensions of ponche de crème is guaranteed to intrigue and excite the senses every year.

The older folks are keen on their ginger beer popularized by the Spice War and also bearing British birthrights. The ginger crop was brought to Trinidad and has survived to date. The classic ginger beer exists with its fermented starter base but Trinis have added their own twist with the addition of cinnamon spice sticks, nutmeg and aniseed. Finally, there is a Trini Christmas condiment that packs a full flavour punch but often goes underestimated and overlooked. Picalilli or chow chow is a relish of combined vegetables and sometimes fruits sharing a similar pickled taste to its British relative Picalilli. This condiment has been manufactured and packaged by Matouks and it is available at most leading supermarkets nationwide. It usually accompanies a serving of ham and hops bread, pastelles and more. The seasoning, flavouring and fusion methods of preparation and creative experimenting transforms the taste of Trini Christmas.

The gastronomy of Trini Christmas is further elevated by Trini entrepreneurs and professionals in their various culinary fields. They were forged from the birthplace of fusion culture and now they champion culinary innovations backed by patriotism, passion for the culinary arts and premium quality ingredients and high standard processes. They continue to push the limitless boundaries of their craft and stand out in their respective culinary professions.

Here are our Editor’s 6 picks for The Christmas Wish List – To Taste

Cocobel Chocolate

This architect turned chocolatier is taking her award winning chocolate making to higher heights. In addition to her chocolate creations this year Isabel Brash has released yet another alluring Trini Christmas dessert menu that is tempting everyone to treat themselves this Christmas. These gourmet delicacies save time and energy. All the hard work is already done and readily available for pick up with carefully sculpted and hand painted culinary delights. The options are so divine that there is a 100 % guarantee that each item will be a rock star to that Trini Christmas office party or that Christmas breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner party that begs for a gourmet facelift. These items are novel housewarming gifts and act as an exceptional ice breaker to the homes of the dreaded ‘in laws’ (especially if they have a sweet tooth you know you will instantly be dubbed a ‘keeper’). Cocobel’s Christmas desserts are always gone in the blink of an eye so place those orders early for pick up at Cocobel Chocolate located on #37 Fitt Street in Woodbrook Port of Spain just upstairs from The Medulla Art Gallery.

Dreamy Creamy Ice Cream Company

Craig Smith’s local family owned ice cream brand is a beloved favourite for locals and tourists. International culinary enthusiasts rave that this family owned ice cream is on par with Italy’s best gelato. Fans familiar with the regular menu can attest to Dreamy Creamy’s cheeky ice cream names, their gratuitous serving sizes and their availability in several leading supermarkets and shops nationwide. This year, Dreamy Creamy’s Trini Christmas ice cream flavours are back on the menu and they are going pretty fast. Visitors or Trini Christmas ‘bantons’ wishing to snag a cup, a cone, a liter or two must act now. This is a great addition to the Christmas menu for kids and adults alike. Conveniently located on Saddle Road Maraval, Coffee Street San Fernando and S.S. Erin Road Debe Penal, these are the best gifts for the ice cream aficionado in your life.

L’eau Pont Winery

Red hibiscus is brewed into a drink that the Caribbean has long consumed on their Christmas menu. Trinis call this red drink Sorrel and serve it ‘on the rocks’. A local winery has captured the rich full bodied flavour of the red hibiscus in a classy bottle of port wine. This perfect Christmas gift is available for direct order and pick up at selected wine shops locally. This sorrel port is almost always sold out every year for those who are too late in their Christmas shopping. It is the quintessential wine that accompanies a delectable Christmas dinner and even the right dessert pairing. For the daring home chefs, it is an accoutrement to their specially designed gourmet Christmas menu.

Tami’s Dee - lightful Ponche de Crème

The art of making Ponche de crème or Ponche ah Crème comes with a learning curve. It is okay to admit this minor defeat in the kitchen and leave this skill to the experts like Tamara from Tami’s Dee-lightful Ponche de Crème. By Trini birthright, she understands the dexterity of fusion food and beverage and its industry. In addition, to the original flavour of Ponche de crème she offers her moniker in a collection of holiday flavours for ponche de crème lovers. Her unforgettable creations are available in several sizes and for this reason they are perfect as a gift for visitors and an excellent choice to serve at the Christmas office party or Trini Christmas lime.

Gina’s Chocolates

Trinidad has award winning chocolatiers like Gina Hardy.  Gina’s Chocolates is an artisan chocolate brand with Gina at the helm. She has perfected the divine art of chocolate making to the point that the discerning food critics can distinguish, award and celebrate the difference. Visitors to the island and locals looking for that signature gift for that special someone can look no further. Gina’s Chocolates has launched fifteen of their best chocolate truffles since opening shop and they are all available in boxes of several quantities. She has also designed some fun stocking stuffers with individually wrapped chocolate coins available in a variety of flavours. This season her fine flavour chocolates include Trini Christmas fillings that will surprise and satiate the taste buds of everyone from the untrained palette to the chocolate critic to the foodie adventurer. For anyone who has a fear of missing out, orders are to be placed early for pick up before or by the allotted deadline.

Cheesecake House TT

Visitors no longer have to wait until they get to another world famous factory with this namesake to enjoy cheesecake. The culinary entrepreneur has been throwing cheesecake parties ever since she can remember in New York and Trinidad. Jineal Chichester has as much passion and flair for cheesecake as her adoring cheesecake fans. Her discipline and training as a former graduate of the University of the West Indies and a former Royal Naval Officer does not permit her to shy away from her endeavors and her creativity. Trini blood flows through her creative veins so much so that classic Trini Christmas flavours have become a staple in her innovative cheesecake cones, shakes and slices. The diaspora and visitors to Trinidad and Tobago don’t leave without visiting her food truck at Cross Crossing in San Fernando and they never fail to place their orders to pick up. Dessert lovers have already adopted Cheesecake House TT as a staple to their Trini Christmas menu.

Eid Party Planning

Trinidad and Tobago is the mecca of cultural diversity. Citizens are free to celebrate the festivities of other religious sects without facing legal or socio-political penalty. On the 22nd April 2023, Trinbagonians joins the Muslim community in celebrating Eid ul Fitr. The day of festivity is anticipated after a period of fasting, prayer and charity during the observed Holy period of Ramadan. Friends and family are invited to partake in the celebrations which include religious prayer, feasting and dressing up. Today, the festivities have come a long way with the fusion of modern day trends and tradition. Here are some incredible resources for aspiring Eid party planners.


Local fashion designer , franchise holder and managing director for Miss World Trinidad and Tobago, Charu Lochan Dass has a beautiful collection just in time for Eid celebrations. This former London College of Fashion designer is popular for her elegant and timeless design aesthetic for the discerning woman. In our mini Eid lookbook, Miss World Trinidad and Tobago, Ache Abrahams is featured wearing pieces from the collection. She is photographed by local photographer Sam & Co. Shop CLD's gorgeous kaftans and dupattas this season. Dress up and show up in CLD style this Eid!

Shop the Collection: CLD on Instagram

Visit the Website: CLD  Online

Discover More: CLD Facebook

Photo Credit: Sam & Co.

Model: Miss World Trinidad and Tobago, Ache Abrahams


Traditional sweets such as halwa, sawine, vermicelli cake and dates are common at Eid celebrations. Trinidad and Tobago's gastronomy scene has taken its love affair with fusion food to the modern dessert table. They have taken into consideration the palate of their consumers. Chefs have levelled up to bring imaginative and tastefully designed yet exceptionally divine desserts to the storefront and into the hands, homes and hearts of many.

Vanilla Bean Gourmet is a halal certified cafe offering iftar boxes, iftar meals, baklava and chocolate covered dates with an assortment of fillings such as chai, almond joy, nutella, ashta, baklava and cookies and cream. This cafe offers dine in and delivery options via WiEat and FoodDrop.

These are just some of the amazing delectable items on the menu at Vanilla Bean Gourmet. Eid party hosts and even invited guests who wish to bring a gift to the host can take the hassle out of preparation and place their orders for pick up at 1.868.223.9527

Vanilla Bean Gourmet Cafe: Instagram 

Find them on Facebook


Hosts of Eid parties may elevate the experience by adding a few styled and decorated pieces to their spaces in honour of their rich ancestral history and culture. Designs inspiration trends can be borrowed from the Spanish Moors, Morocco and other indigenous Arabic influences. Decorations with intricate floral motifs and geometry in regal hues of purple, blue, gold, teal have been popular this year.

In this curated moodboard, the styling details are crafted with paper. Hosts who are "do it yourself" queens and home decor stylists can rest easy in crafting these looks. There are an infinite amount of sites that offer tutorials and shopping lists to begin the decorating journey. Crafting also promises to be a mindful experience in the art of being present for those who wish to slow down and enjoy the creative process. Discover handmade Eid decor below.


Life Happened

Martha Stewart


The convenience of digital downloads and prints keep hosts stress free. They can opt to share their invites in print or virtually as e-vites. Here is a gift of a free download of an invite that can be used for hosts' Eid party.

This year, guests can do more to participate in the festival. A game of trivia is a novel idea that can "break the ice" or "start the party". Guests can take the opportunity to get to know their hosts better through cultural exchange.

Anyone can test their knowledge with trivia. The goal is not essentially winning. It aligns more with being open to learning more about how people can be respectful of and learn to appreciate each other.

This brings the guests and hosts together to build teamwork through trivia challenge. Inherently, it also establishes and nurtures relationships whilst fostering the true power of community.

Chubby’s Famous Grill – Trinidad’s “Must – Eat “ Street Food Tourism

The Double Stacker with Additional Toppings of Bacon and Pineapple
Photo Credit: Johann Benjamin

Street food plays a huge role in a destination’s culinary tourism. It transcends age gaps. It unites people from all socio economic, gender and racial backgrounds. Street food curates a destination’s food culture by linking a specific place with a food experience. The local street food scene faces the toughest critics who want tasty, affordable and convenient meals fast. This niche demands not only creativity, consistency and a keen eye for detail but an ascertained grasp on earning respect from the people. Johann Benjamin is one such professional who decided to bring this same “ all or nothing” attitude to his brand, Chubby’s Famous Grill. Undeniably, food tourism takes a renewed approach in Trinidad’s street side culinary food scene. The tenets of sustainability, economic remuneration and stability are closer knit to underlying themes of community empowerment and holistic development.

Chilli Cheese Fries
Photo Credit: Johann Benjamin

Chubby’s Famous Grill offers authentic culinary tourism experiences to the hearty soul food eater. This Chef turns tables as a prominent DJ in local parties. Often performing his famous DJ sets late at night into early mornings, the entertainment industry leaves one famished. Johann affectionately known as Chubby would search for street food options during these post performance hours. Unfortunately, he was always confronted with a bold and daring redundancy in choices of street food options. He felt that he could truly make a difference in the street food tourism niche. Over time, Chubby began to consider his options. Johann felt that it was only fair to set up in East Trinidad where he grew up in a heavily fostered community upbringing era and strived to evolve into all-round built individual with resilient character and morale. After some research, proper planning, and a few culinary skill acquisitions Johann opened Chubby’s Famous Grill two years ago. Today, the grill that used to be a pop up food cart is now a full-fledged food truck.

Chilli Cheese Fries with Grilled Shrimp
Photo Credit: Johann Benjamin

Families, couples and after work crews frequent this street side food stop at its convenient location obliquely opposite Chicken Hut on the Southern Main Road in Curepe. Usually, Chubby’s Famous Grill is open from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. (or until sold out). He is there on Fridays, Saturdays and mostly the night before a public holiday in Trinidad and Tobago. The service at Chubby’s Famous Grill is impeccable. The menu is always dynamic and expanding, the food tastes fresh and the quantities are more than enough for light weight foodies. Chubby buys most of his ingredients from local markets supporting the farmers in his area. He tries to bring as many homemade products to his menu. One of the reasons he decided to set up in the east (other than being from there) is the access and the availability to fresh ingredients for his business. Johann differentiated his product market and brought restaurant taste and quality to his brand, Chubby’s Famous Grill.

Sweet Chilli Barbecue Wings, Crinkle Cut Fries and Macaroni Salad
Photo Credit: Johann Benjamin

On his menu the prices start at TTD 10 and can go up to TTD 50. There are lots of items to choose from such as classic chilli dogs, classic beef burgers, sloppy joes, veggie burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and grilled shrimp sandwiches. Then there are signature items like The Monster Burger (all beef patties topped with cheese and mouth-watering meat on top), The Boogie Man (2 beef patties, minced meat and cheese topped with jumbo sausage), The Double Stacker (2 beef patties drenched in barbecue sauce topped with cheese), The Cheef Burger (all beef burger patties topped with cheese and succulent grilled chicken). Recently, he added popcorn chicken, sweet chilli barbecue wings and macaroni salad to the menu. Secret signature sauces are quite the highlight including his specialty pepper sauce and honey mustard delight. Last but not least the sides featured on his menu are onion rings, pineapple, bacon, egg, salami, fries and cheese. Drinks are also made in house and range from all natural, refreshing, thirst quenching juices like grapefruit, orange, fruit punch, mauby and in December one can find the seasonal sensation, sorrel. Johann’s health and safety standards are always on par with quality control. He does his due diligence which comforts the foodie’s mind from any dubious concerns over street food and its imminent risks. 

Popcorn Chicken and Fries
Photo Credit: Johann Benjamin

The nature of street food tourism in Trinidad is so profound that culture immersion is inevitable. Johann has learnt his mother’s cooking traditions and married that with contemporary food innovations and techniques. He passes this on to his customers. When they taste his food they immediately get the best of both worlds. It is also worth mentioning that street food honour commands an armoury of respect for the food quality and the customers, loyalty to providing the best experience for food adventurers and trust in food safety and sanitation. All of these attributes Johann possesses and more. After all he is beloved by his community for his many strides working with youth in sport and leadership. Often fortuitous to the food tourism niche is the ability of food entrepreneurs to empower and inspire others. Chubby’s Famous Grill brings persons from all walks of life together. His most loyal clients come from as far as Point Fortin. There is off road parking and al fresco dining with the scenic backdrop of the Northern mountain range amidst shady trees. Why is this place so incredible that people risk long insufferable drives to East Trinidad? (The commute is 6 hours; that’s 3 hours to Chubby’s Famous Grill in Curepe and 3 hours return trip to Point Fortin). There has to be some justification other than the facts that patrons can park, sit and enjoy street food dining on a cool breezy evening or late night before they journey home.

Barbecue Wings, Fries, Macaroni Salad and Grilled Shrimp
Photo Credit: Johann Benjamin

Whilst street side food tourism has many social enigmas its very essence is food science and technology. If we shall consult anyone on this matter it should be Nikola Tesla. He advises if one wants to know the secrets of the universe one should start thinking in terms of energy, frequency and vibration. Chubby’s Famous Grill has become quite well-known because of just that; Johann’s love for the people, the passion for what he does and his ability to fill a need for delicious, high quality and diverse street food. He harnesses the most powerful and highest energy, frequency, vibration in the universe, love. He channels that into his intentions, his thoughts and his actions coupled with his street food execution and service delivery. Innately, energy transfers from him to the food and to the foodie. Cognizant or incognizant of his holistic role in Chubby’s Famous Grill, this street side chef reverberates more light and love in a world that desperately needs it.  If there were ever a taste equivalent to describing love then this would be it. The foodies who line up every Friday and Saturday night to order any combo or side dish off Chubby’s Famous Grill menu can vouch for and identify with this feeling. The results of his hard work and tenacity oblige in his favour by guiding him to a purpose driven life where he brings love and happiness through one of his many passions, Chubby’s Famous Grill.

Chilli Cheese Hot Dog with Grilled Shrimp
Photo Credit: Johann Benjamin

Albeit, food tourism conditions have never been riper in Trinidad and Tobago for development and promotion but the power is ultimately left in the hands of the citizens, the international tourists and the food tourists. When the masses rise to the occasion and own their buying power in this capitalist destination they work to mend leakage and focus repatriation on destination Trinidad and Tobago. The decision to buy from a local small business ensures that a strong, stable and sustainable economy is built. One is left to discern that the role of food tourism and by extension street side food tourism is not only an antidote for plodding the way forward for diversification in our economy and destination. It culminates in a far from obtuse rationale for closing generational gaps and cultivating a social fabric that is so hinged on making heirloom recipes and communal fortitude cool again. Chubby’s Famous Grill is more than just an established street food tourism initiative. It serves as a striking example of decisive action to cause an effect and create a positive change in the food tourism landscape and our destination.

Chubby’s Famous Grill
Photo Credit: Johann Benjamin

Chubby’s Famous Grill can be reached at the following link and contact number below :

Instagram: chubbyfamous

Phone: 728.5043

12 by Rishi – A Culinary Tourism Adventure

12 by Rishi
“The Blessing”
Goat Cheese Tiramisu Panna Cotta with a Cracked Pepper Cassava Pone Biscotti with a Roasted Ripe Fig and Pepper Chocolate Mousse
Photo Credit: Antony Scully

Worldwide, food is fast becoming a popular motivating and defining factor for the new tourist’s final decision in travel destination choices. Culinary tourism, gastronomic tourism or food tourism is quickly ascending into the role of storyteller for any and every destination. The immersive experience of visiting specific locations for food and beverage, food festivals and participation in food activities distinguishes destinations’ cultural identities from each other. If developed and promoted effectively, this niche can serve as a sustainable model for destinations going full throttle behind culinary tourism. There is infinite potential for revenue generation with multiplier and economic trickle-down effect for communities. Overall, national policy makers and planners should strive to include clustering of industry sectors and show economic infrastructural support for small micro and medium enterprises.

12 by Rishi
“The Debe”
Gold Plated Shrimp Pholourie with Tamarind Sauce Foam
Photo Credit: Antony Scully

In Trinidad and Tobago, we have changed so many hands of ownership that our food is now a reflection of our history. It gets a bit more complex than that, as what we eat, where we eat, how we eat and why we eat are interlinked and juxtaposed to provide any outsider with a first hand intrinsic view of our people. We celebrate Christmas with an array of dishes paying homage to our Spanish influences. Similarly, Divali, Eid, Indian Arrival Day and Chinese Double Ten Anniversary are earmarked by delicacies from our ancestors from the Far Eastern and Middle Eastern countries. Strikingly, these recipes are not untouched ancient relics but modernized and innovatively curated to suit the West Indian palate which gave birth to Trinbagonian Cuisine.  Iconic and emerging chefs have risen to the occasion and challenged themselves as the game changers and champions for development and promotion of this niche tourism; culinary tourism.

12 by Rishi
“The Debe”
Pholourie Tempura Pepper Roti with a Mother in Law pickled Morai/Carrot Slaw
Woubles with Cucumber Chow Slaw
Aloo Pie Pizelli topped with Creamed Aloo Pie Filling
Photo Credit: Antony Scully

Trinidad and Tobago is keeping up with the demands of the new tourist with the supply of culinary tourism. One such professional who is shaking up the local culinary scene is Chef Rishi Ramoutar. He is a true son of the soil hailing from Arima in East Trinidad. His work compels the viewer to wonder what a walk through his creative mind would look like. One can only imagine it would be far from complacent or boring. Chef Rishi grew up in a space where his immediate environment exposed him to the seeds of hard work, entrepreneurship, customer service excellence, humility and consistency. Of course, the love for food and helping his parents in their local roti shop also sparked his culinary interest.

12 by Rishi
“Palate Cleanser”
Mother in Law Frozen Sorbet
Photo Credit: Anthony Scully

Chef Rishi saw his parents labour in love for the community and environs through their passion but the young chef was a picky eater. Often, he was found experimenting and creating his own culinary masterpieces in his makeshift home kitchen lab. However, he understood and adopted a zero wastage policy in his kitchen. Whenever there were leftovers he found a way to use them to innovate a new culinary creation. Little did he know that when your intentions are pure in heart and you are desirous of pursuing a particular path the universe listens and conspires to get you just what you asked for. Chef Rishi continued to create and share his passion for food with friends and family at events and social gatherings from beach limes to river limes just to name a few. His social circle realized his potential, talent, creativity and skill and supported his culinary quests.

12 by Rishi
“The Salad”
Ham cured Beets with Honey and Rum Whipped Goat Cheese and Burnt Garlic Powder
Photo Credit: Antony Scully

Chef Rishi’s unwavering food inquisition and innovations backed by support from his loved ones led him to enrol in Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (one of the top culinary schools in the region). There, he honed his skill and talents and grew thankful for his culinary mentors one of which includes the icon, Chef Khalid Mohammed. In due time, Chef Rishi graduated and took over his parents’ business; C & J Roti Shop otherwise known as C& J Restaurant and Bar. Notwithstanding, his culinary adventure did not stop there. The advent of social media began to bridge a gap with the overwhelming desire of domestic tourists to experience Trinidad differently. People found themselves living vicariously through Chef Rishi’s mind blowing culinary creations and explosive food fusions on various social media platforms.

12 by Rishi
Mini Lion Fish served on Callaloo Taco Shells with a Blistered Salsa (Scorpion Pepper Oil)
Photo Credit: Anthony Scully

If only there was a way to bring people together to experience such creativity and culinary expertise. In 2019, there was a major “light bulb” moment and Chef Rishi decided to bring the supper table dining experience to Trinidad and Tobago. A supper table is somewhat like a supper club where persons socially gather to dine at a specific location. It can also be referenced to Chef’s Table. The dining experience is called,”12 by Rishi”. Chef Rishi has already hosted several events for this year with his competent and experienced team. Together, they aim to host “12 by Rishi” twice per month. The supper club has been well received by food adventurers locally. This is not a surprise as the more Chef Rishi creates the more creative he becomes and the more he works in tandem with the universe to live his purpose during his time with us. Patrons who miss the event may have to join a waiting list because “12 by Rishi” seats only twelve guests. Once the event is advertised on social media it is usually booked and sold out within a few days. The cost of attending “12 by Rishi” is affordable and on par with the quality, taste, service, food diversity, attention to detail and presentation.

12 by Rishi
BBQ Shrimp and Cou Cou Creme Brulee
Photo Credit: Antony Scully

A creative dining experience such as “12 by Rishi” elevates niche tourism, in this case culinary tourism. It creates a sense of pride for nationals that this is a home grown event. Chef Rishi uses local, fresh, home-made and high quality produce that satiates the senses and makes tourists taste the difference. He buys from local farmers and suppliers lending support to sustainable best practice. When Chef Rishi shares his passion through his purpose he directly and indirectly inspires others to do the same. His work is tastefully and artfully crafted to the point that it engages learning interface through conversation over food. This instinctively provokes the mind of the food adventurer to think creatively. The food explorer discovers Chef Rishi’s concepts, his creative process of ideation to execution which includes problem solving. These food tourists are now subconsciously nurtured to apply creative thinking to their own lives to design and apply problem solving there.

12 by Rishi
Crix, Market Cheese and Kutchella Stuffed Chicken Breast “atomized” with a shot of Chardonnay
Photo Credit: Antony Scully

” 12 by Rishi”, a modern, authentic, creative and culturally sustainable initiative is a step in the right direction for culinary tourism. The event diversifies the domestic tourism product in Trinidad and Tobago. It makes the destination even more attractive. So next time domestic tourists feel the need to escape they should stay to getaway and enjoy one of the best culinary experiences this island has to offer. As our nation’s motto boasts, ” Together we as aspire, Together we achieve”, we should band together to support local and buy local because when one of us is victorious, we all share in the victory of being Trinbagonian.

12 by Rishi
“The Offering of Love”
Parsad Beignets with Cardamom Pastry Cream Powdered Yogurt and a Roasted Grape Salad and an Apple Chip
Photo Credit: Antony Scully

Avid food explorers and culinary enthusiasts can discover more about the supper club, ” 12 by Rishi” from the listed contact information below:

Instagram: chef_rishi_ramoutar

Instagram: 12_by_rishi

Facebook: Cooking With Rishi

Youtube: Cooking with Rishi

Phone #: 643.2189 or 384 – 2200

Location: C & J Roti Shop

#6 Paradise Lane, Tumpuna Road, Arima

Cocobel Chocolate

Sometimes I feel like we live in a magical place. Look at our geographic space, we are located away from the hurricane belt, the tectonic plate shifting incidents rarely affect us  and there is an abundance of chocolate. We love chocolate so much that we even use it to play mas’ during our j’ouvert celebrations at Carnival. I am not describing  the substandard sugar loaded candy bars today but the immaculate cocoa finery which takes you to heights of the northern, central and southern range combined. You figure out the math because the numbers will just drive me more insane than the eclectic skills of local architect turned chocolatier, Isobel Brash otherwise known as Cocobel.

(The building that hosts Cocobel & Medulla Art Gallery)

Photo Credit: Medulla Art Gallery

Yet again I am raving about another architect who is female and making those bold moves right here in Trinidad. Can you imagine the scope of creativity when you take an architect’s experience, knowledge and mindset to chocolate innovation?! The possibilities are endless!!! Think about the elements and principles of design fused with Isobel’s passion for Trinidad and Tobago’s culture. The results are always decadent masterpieces depicting and reflecting her architectural expertise in functionality, design and the diverse palate of local ethnic delight!

(The stairs leading to the porch of the Cocobel studio)

Cocobel translates to the meaning of Cocoa Queen and this is the brand name of Isabel’s chocolates. She is the queen who sources local cocoa beans from her brother’s estate in South Trinidad at Rancho Quemado and makes magic with them at her space on #37 Fitt Street in Woodbrook. The space is shared with The Medulla Art Gallery. (How cool is that?!  You get to discover what’s going on in the local art scene when you go chocolate shopping. Who’s says you can’t have your chocolate and eat it too!!!). Cocoa trees greet you upon entering the gates of the Cocobel premises. As you sashay up the staircase the rustling of leaves and the island breeze catches your face with sheer joy.  Craftsman furniture pieces with artisan stools and the glamorous doorway to chocolate heaven are less than a few feet away. But the porch beckons you to stay and bask in your storybook feelings. Yes, if we had to write an island fairytale this house would definitely be on the illustrator’s pages sharing a glimpse of happiness with the reader; an untamed energy so pure and perfect, hopeful yet unanimously ingenuous.

(The accent wall in the Cocobel studio)

I am not an architect but my design senses tell me that this building appears to be a mix of architectural styles. I see a bit of the Edwardian era, the less ornate Victorian era with plant inspired motifs and some stencil work . It also looks like the arts and crafts era made an impact too. I say this because of the simpler and handmade furniture pieces on the porch, the apt natural beauty of  the unpainted wood grain, wood carvings, the floors and the leather work on the upholstered chairs inside. The geometric forms on the gates , the use of metal indicate some use of art deco design.  Upon entering the studio there is sense of modernism and minimalism with a hint of Moorish style (the domed at the top of the framed windows). There are a few pieces of furniture, a sensual glass coffee table, paintings on the walls to the left, a great piano to the right end just where a staircase descends to the art gallery and an accent wall inebriated with scribblings about the Cocobel brand. In front of the accent wall is a simple crafted table bearing all the chocolate bounty for the consumer’s eyes to devour. The principles and elements of design unite in a harmony to echo throughout the exterior and interior spaces of Cocobel.

(The seating area in the Cocobel studio)


(The stairs that spiral to the Medulla Art Gallery)

A simple set up on the inside is all anyone needs to convince them that this is the real deal. There are truffles, barks, bon bons with fillings, chocolate covered cocoa and coffee beans. Isabel infuses local fruit, spices and herbs in her chocolate making. But this is no monkey business as each piece is carefully crafted leaving a  balance which is any designer/architect’s purpose when they set out on a project.  Albeit Isabel’s Cocobel is for chocolate lovers, foodie enthusiasts, dessert connoisseurs and persons who are open to trying new things. The brand is highly supportive and reflective of local culture. It is consistent with being diverse with its offering and it does not compromise on high quality production. There is little to no generation gap with Isabel’s chocolate market. It is the quintessential gift for special occasions from weddings, birthdays, anniversaries to “just because”days.  Cocobel’s brand hinges on cocoa innovation. There is consistent progressive creative thought in the brand development which is quite evident in the product lines. In April, Isobel experimented with the seasonal grapefruit bark. The tangy and sweet combination was delectable and it was made right here in Trinidad. During the Easter holidays the children and artisans in all of us were not exempt from her chocolate love affair as Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs were superbly designed and decorated for purchase.  As if these were not enough chocolate innovation look out for her Fresh Baked Fridays, a chocolate lover’s dream. The chocolate studio is transformed into a chocolate bakery with complimentary hot cocoa and lots of chocolate desserts and pastries to choose from!

(Cocobel Chocolates)

Photo Credit: Cocobel Chocolate Facebook

(Cocobel Chocolate Bars)

Photo Credit: Cocobel Chocolate Facebook

(Fresh Baked Fridays)

Photo Credit: Cocobel Chocolate Facebook

Anyone interested in discovering more about Isabel can get on to her social media pages to be updated on future sales, new products, services and the next fresh baked event.



Instagram: cocobelchocolate


Contact: (868) 622-1196

Svaada Gourmet Indian Kitchen – The Review

If you are as selective as I am with what you expose your mind, your heart, your eyes and your taste buds to the world can still be a fabulous place, especially the world of culinary adventures. I have never really been a fan of Indian cuisine but I must admit that it has been something I grew to love over the last few years. I mean I am Trinidadian and us locals, we love to add a bit of heat to our food. Yet the difference in our palette may concern itself with adding pepper rather than flavour. In these instances we burn off our tongues so much that if we eat another bite we would be torturing ourselves. Yet still some of us  do it for the “thrill” I guess. However, Indian food has these spice infusions that play twister with our taste buds but still allows us to satiate our craving and return for seconds.  I found Svaada Gourmet Indian Kitchen at One Woodbrook Place. It’s a mini trip to modern India without leaving home sweet home, Trinidad.

Svaada Gourmet Indian Kitchen Logo

Photo Credit: Svaada Indian Gourmet Kitchen Facebook Page

Svaada is the sweetest mix of modern and traditional interior design styles. The symmetrical balance in this space is impeccable. The use of natural and artificial light give birth to a warmth that beckons the “foodie” to curl up on their chair and dive into comfort. There are circle lights that rim the perimeter of the ceiling. There are incredible pendant lights that look lotus flowers which hang over the tables adorning and serving their due purpose. Rectangles and squares keep this space feeling stable, secure and the infiniteness of the circles evoke feelings of commitment, completeness with graceful, nurturing and soothing effects. The vertical lines make this kitchen appear taller. Effective horizontal lines broaden the space whilst drawing the lines of sight down to be restful and at ease for one to enjoy this cuisine experience.

The use of pops of colour amid the monochromatic colour scheme is quintessential. Red is fiery and full of love and passion. It is also a dominant colour used to stimulate the appetite. The setup of the furniture is a seating arrangement for families and groups to not only dine together but to engage in conversation more. Most of the materials used are wood, metal and glass. The surfaces are smooth and glossy as well as matte. The floor is smooth and feels like polished stone in a dark hue consistent with a dark ceiling which contrasts in texture with its matte finish.  The walls are off white and reign the bold red with the purity and innocence of this cream shade. The table tops are dark brown and match with the wooden chairs. Brown is often associated with stability and security hence its use here. The chrome and plastic chairs match up with the floor as well as the glass/steel combination of doors and windows.

An outsider’s view of the Svadda  Gourmet Indian Kitchen

Photo Credit: Svaada Indian Gourmet Kitchen Facebook

Colours, lighting fixtures, furniture is repeated throughout the space provoking an ebb and flow to be pure rhythm. The view from the glass doors and windows are the main focus points as are the kitchen and the kitchen island. Yes there is a kitchen island that happens to be a condiment station! The flavours range from sweet to tangy to spicy. They are quite intriguing and are anything but limitless. The proportion and scale to the design in this space works well the open plan concept.  Any room for negative space is avoided with proper placement of food culture photography on these walls. There is even a hot towel station (can you imagine my excitement at this little luxury?!).

Svaada’s staff members are attentive, polite and knowledgeable about their menu. The food is affordable and the wait time is not very long. Usually, one places their order and takes a seat. Then the staff wheels in your order if you are dining in and not taking out. You can have a hot towel to wipe your hands clean. Your meal will be served in traditional styled Indian wares that make a sumptuous picture for all of you “insta” foodie bloggers. I am in love with their naan bread particularly their aloo and cheese (I am pescetarian so I don’t eat meat).  Their naan is so soft and fluffy and really make you feel all warm and cosy. I have relished in their paneer as well which happens to be an exceptionally prepared dish. If you ever consider ordering from Svaada there is a complimentary bread that is served as an appetizer whilst you wait for your food (if you are Trinidadian and you are familiar with shrimp crackers it is basically the same texture except bigger without the shrimp flavour).

Chicken Tikka Masala, Chilli Paneer, Complimentary Bread, Aloo Naan, Cheese Naan

Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

Svaada Gourmet Indian Kitchen may be the closest thing we have to a modern Mumbai Café. It is not overdone. The focus is on the quality of food, customer service and managing that “soon come” factor. This means their customers  are literally in a position where they almost indefinitely crave to return to try more of this “foodie experience”. They are open from Monday to Saturday at 11 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. On occasion they are open on Sundays. Parking is on the ground floor. Dining is casual so there is no need to get bothered to be fancy unless “being extra” is your specialty (then get on with your “extra” self hunny). They accept walk in customers and they are highly recommended for groups.  Their contact number is 1.868.628.5674. Also you can write to them at You can follow them on facebook

Maria’s Bakery – Designer’s View & Foodie’s Experience



Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Have you ever heard the expression “ kid in a candy store” ? I think it perfectly describes the expression of pure bliss on anyone’s face. I believe this statement totally sums up my expression when I enter a bakery.  I remember my childhood sweetened with memories of the bakery vans speeding through the community and my many jaunts to their store front. This was way before the café concept was introduced to Trinidad.  During my college days (aka the best days of my life #sororitylife) bakeries in Trinidad were not trending as much with the evolving generation. Café concept shops  emerged and this was the beginning of an almost never ending fascination. Entrepreneurs, artisans and chefs looked on at this and I could feel some creative genius bubbling.

Christmas Menu

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Fast forward to post college years and I find Trinidad’s creative entrepreneurs taking advantage of the opportunity to merge the public’s demand for fusion concepts (makes sense as we are a fusion culture after all).  The public wants to reconnect with something reminiscent of the past but something that is designed for modern day lifestyle (and instagram). I believe this is what makes Maria’s Bakery the crème de la crème in finding their business brand’s sweet spot and making it worth their while and yours too.

Traditional “Trini” Christmas Plates

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Bake and  Saltfish Buljol

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

The Designer’s View

Please excuse me as I go on my interior design binge here (I can’t help it). Design is not just aesthetically pleasing but functional too. It is a critical success factor in my opinion as it is used to create a space that will be inhabited or experienced by one or more persons at any given time. Hence it is crucial to pay heed to design as it significantly impacts the lives of those who immerse themselves in any created place. My review is on Maria’s Bakery, the St. Augustine branch.  St. Augustine is the smallest of the branches. It is a convenient “grab and go” space. Each location carries their signature logo and look so the brand essence resonates with the customer when they do a “walk in” to any Maria’s Bakery branch. There is strategic placement of item display bins. The showcase is coordinated in a visually appealing manner and it allows easy movement of the lines of sight. I appreciate the thought given to spatial planning in this location as it relates to the customer service blueprint in terms of the customer who walks in, chooses an item, approaches the cashier, makes a purchase and departs.

Store Front of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

Back End of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

I welcome the mix of achromatic and monochromatic colour schemes as well as the pops of colour. The executed mix appeals to a warm vibe. Brown tones are masculine but not harsh as they transition and evoke feelings of strength and stability. This is seen in the menu board, the exterior signage, flooring and the cabinets.  I like the use of shades of white because whilst white is the colour of innocence and cleanliness this shade does not dare appear too clinical on walls and ceilings. The hue reflects light to make the cozy location appear a bit more spacious.

Obviously thought was given to the orientation of the building where the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Notably, the  glass doors are on the western side so the full brawn of the rising sun is not felt as much as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This  means a  cooler temperature is maintained during the daytime which is aided and abetted by air condition vents.  In a tropical climate  careful consideration to this is important so Maria’s Bakery does not  become weathered by sunlight exposure or become an oven (no pun intended).

Storage, is another design solution that minimizes the chances of  a warmer and  “boxed in” space. Sometimes too much clutter and or open storage in a space can make areas feel claustrophobic and appear even smaller. However,  Maria’s manages to strike the right balance as glass display bins and chillers keep items stored in sight  whilst opaque  cabinets manage to keep other items organized and out of sight. The artificial lighting sources are perfect  as they serve their function to see the displays, walking and working areas.  Nonetheless, there is so much natural light that comes in from the glass door and windows that  there is no need for too many additional light sources.

The view through glass doors of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

Storage Cabinets inside of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

I adore the strategic use and mix of architectural styles in this location. The minimal and modern styles of design for this space are  made more beautiful with the mountainous backdrop and surrounding views. There is great use of the elements of design like shapes and lines to project adjusted perceptions of space. The curved lines along the display showcase among other places  are organic and freeing which break up the structural aspects of the modular space.  I see balance in the vertical and horizontal lines used in store. The vertical lines make the space appear taller and the horizontal lines keep the space grounded evoking more intimate, comforting and safe vibes. I see more squares and rectangles in this location. I like the use of these geometric shapes as they stimulate feelings of trust, stability and equality.  The ceiling lights are squares. There are circles at the base of the display bins. The circle shape is feminine with engaging characteristics like love, power and energy. This shape also defines infinity and harmony which are needed in a space like this.

Display Bins, Bread Baskets and  Floor Finish of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

 Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

The finishes used in store appear more natural and give that modern, simple, authentic yet earthy vibe. The materials used seem to be  laminate, brick/stone, wood, concrete, glass and steel. This location feels like a fusion concept gourmet bakery as a sky high stone/brick finish “chimney”  alludes to that charm of a  rustic café/bakery without compromising the modern feel of minimalistic architecture. This tall projection also draws the line of sight upward. There is  ample use of reflective and matte finishes in store.  The rhythm and repetition flows throughout this space endorsing a feeling of completion. The ceilings are lighter toned which makes the space appear bigger. Even though the floor is a darker hue to the ceiling there is balance in a space that appears to recede yet advance for an intimate vibe. The flooring at Maria’s has a matte wood grain surface. There is a blend of matte and shiny surfaces on the interior at this establishment.  At the top of the display bins some woven baskets ( filled with Maria’s signature homemade bread) add texture to the smooth  surfaces of the countertops, display bins and floors. I love the way the principles and elements of design were used to create a space and make it into a created place that enhances the experience of everyone who walks into Maria’s Bakery.

The Foodie’s Experience

On another note Maria’s Bakery products are an even bigger part of design. I love their product design as each item is handcrafted with love and attention to detail. Their products comprise of sweet and savoury goods. Their offering ranges from traditional, seasonal to gourmet items. Maria’s Bakery is a great stop for bread, breakfast, lunch and snacks.  There are soups, sandwiches, pancakes, crepes and waffles.  One can enjoy items like corn soup, bake and shark as well as gourmet treats like red velvet cookies, chocolate croissants and nutella swirl cookies. This is bakery heaven, as one has in front of them, a paradise of almost infinite choices. Thankfully there is a menu on hand so your eyes can focus on that and make an informed decision rather than dart to and from all the delectable awesomeness in front of you. Also, there is a superb variety of pies, tarts, cupcakes and cakes to pair with tea, coffee and juice of your preference. Gluten free items are also available. One can find pastelles and even fruitcake during the holiday season.  Maria’s prices are reasonable considering the time, effort and creative thought put into the design of product, service and experience. Prices start at under TT$10 and increase depending on purchase. The staff is knowledgeable of the products and services that the business offers. Employees are attentive, courteous and professional. The wait time is not long and arduous.

Blueberry Crepes

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Oreo Brownies

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Currently there are three main locations for finding Maria’s Bakery; North, South and East. An additional location will be opened soon at Piarco’s International Airport. Meanwhile patrons can look to  Port of Spain at #5 Pole Carew Street in Woodbrook to find Maria’s Bakery. The telephone contact there is 223.5050. The next stop would be alongside Republic Bank’s University of the West Indies branch in St. Augustine. The final stop is at Southpark Plaza in San Fernando. The contact at the south branch is 221.2460.   Maria’s Bakery can be found online. There are website and social media channels to follow the latest buzz on what’s baking at Maria’s as well as what promotions and deals are in store for you!

Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Plate

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery



Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Find them on facebook at

Find them on their website at

Destination Chocolate is Trinidad

My dear sweet hearts how have you all been keeping?!! I trust that you all are doing well or finding  ways to be inspired to live life to the fullest!!! Anyways I am here to empower your chocolate intuition and heighten your buyer senses to be more alert to the gratifying destination of chocolate that we get to live in!!!

 International Chocolate Day was celebrated this month with a chocolate exhibition at The University of the West Indies’s St. Augustine Campus. The event included a two day expo hosted by The Cocoa Research Centre. This year marks the fifth year that they are having this event.  This initiation intended to stimulate public awareness, pride, support for the local cocoa and chocolate products. It served as an opportunity to attract investment and capitalize on this venture to direct collaboration, strategic thinking and decision making in a way forward to develop this niche market as a form of economic diversification for the country. The International Chocolate Day celebrations in Trinidad did not only include this event but a culmination of other events scattered over the country. I was fortunate to attend one out of the many. There were persons from cocoa research units, cocoa gene banks, some owners from the estates where the cocoa is grown and supplied to the vendors as well as local chocolatiers. Yes chocolatiers!!!! These are the persons who make the chocolate right here at their homes in Trinidad.

img-20160930-wa0003Gina’s Chocolate Truffles

img-20160930-wa0002House of Arendel

Some chocolates were priced higher than others. Some were wrapped in gourmet luxury packages whilst others were simple. Nonetheless, the energy of these creative people in the room was so electrifying.  Some entrepreneurs in fashion and beauty sold cocoa pod accessories as well as cocoa infused body scrubs, cocoa butters and other spa items. These cocoa products were unique. You see the cocoa grown on each estate variable. Several growth and development factors in agriculture and the immediate environment affect the smell, taste and look of the cocoa crop. Hence when chocolatiers get their cocoa beans they are already flavoured with blends that are aromatic, spicy and even fruity. Obviously the chocolatiers add their other ingredients to make their bean to bar or bean to truffle more delectable and exquisite.

img-20160930-wa0008J.B Chocolates


Cocobel Chocolate

The first time I interacted with a chocolatier was about six years ago at The Shoppes of Rose Hall in Montego Bay Jamaica when an Indian boutique owner had advertised her collaboration with a chocolatier for the mall’s annual Halloween event. I was so intrigued that the home chef chocolatier business was a “thing”. The second time I dealt with a chocolatier he was the head pastry chef at Sandals Resorts. He expressed his interest to visit  Trinidad because he heard about our high quality and distinctly flavourful cocoa beans. Of course as an advocate for all things local I gave him some contacts for The University of the West Indies’s cocoa and agriculture unit. ( Interestingly enough my final year thesis was on agrotourism in the community of Brasso  Seco in Trinidad.) So when I returned to Trinidad I visited the research unit myself and as years passed I finally made the trek to the Brasso Seco community to visit their cocoa estate and Dr. Kelly Warren (yes the U.S. researcher who fell in love with the community and decided to make it her home). She is definitely a mover and shaker for agrotourism in that community. Eventually my life would cross paths with the lovely Gillian Goddard of Suneaters Organics and Soular. She is one of the chief advocates for the cocoa industry and the owner of several organic agriculture startup companies. So my excitement and interest in creative entrepreneurs continued to escalate.

bsBrasso Seco Cocoa House

Photo Credit :

soularSoular Cocoa Nibs

Photo Credit:

Needless to say I am by no means a “sugar rush” fan as I try to maintain my diet as much as possible. However, I do indulge in artisan chocolate with higher cocoa percentage to sugar content. I choose the higher cocoa content because of the nutritional benefits of cocoa consumption. The cocoa bean can be broken down into its nutritional components of iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, copper, selenium, potassium and zinc. The value added advantage of using cocoa include but are certainly not limited to a reduction in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, constipation, bronchial asthma and in some instances cancer. It is great for healing bruises and cuts. It improves skin, brain and heart health. Cocoa is rich in copper so it aids anyone suffering from such deficiency. Last but not least cocoa is abundant in flavanoids, antioxidants and antidepressants which help cleans and enhance anyone’s mood.

img-20160930-wa0006Exotic Mountain Pride

So next time you are about to bite into your local chocolate bar  or make some cocoa tea or get a cocoa body wrap or pedicure remember how blessed you beautiful people are to get your hands on  these precious treasures right here in destination chocolate.

I bet you all will be making up for missing out on  International Chocolate Day.

These fabulous gems are only a phone call away so get your orders in early before the Christmas rush.

Start eating your way to a happier and healthier you!

Take care my luveys


Let’s Go Trinidad and Tobago










Popeye said what?!

I finally understand Popeye’s infatuation with spinach when I fell in love with the most adorable baby spinach leaves two years ago. (Of course, I grew up hearing Popeye and others blab about how fabulous spinach is for one’s health but I was young and never took them on seriously). Anyways, this spurred my interest at a time when I was being introduced to the low fodmap diet. Nevertheless, I went into recipe research mode. I also began to include it in my diet and enlist this super food in my recovery diary.  I believe in food care versus pharmaceutical care. This means I prefer the farmacy versus the pharmacy on any given day. However, this is solely my opinion. In some instances advanced medical care is needed and the only functional treatment for some illnesses are from the pharmaceutical industry. Nonetheless, I highly recommend a super food diet for anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. My mantra is based on personal experience and it still states that healthy eating equals a healthy body and mind. You can see for yourself the nutritional breakdown for spinach below.


Spinach – The Breakdown

Spinach is made up of protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, C, K, beta-carotene, chlorophyll and folate. It is also high in fiber and water content. Spinach also contains alpha lipoic acid which is an antioxidant . Spinach helps to manage diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity. Its green properties help prevent cancer. It lowers the risk of asthma. A clean green diet helps lower blood pressure levels and the green leafy spinach helps to do just that. It increases bone health with its calcium absorption properties. It reduces constipation by helping to regulate bowel movements. Spinach has vitamin properties to nourish hair and skin health naturally. Basically, these finds suggest infinite benefits for a healthier body and mind.


My Spinach Recipes

Traditional Trinidad and Tobago cuisine includes spinach. Local recipes are available everywhere. There are different kinds of spinach in our local environment. Most people affectionately call it “bhagi”. They eat it with their sada roti for breakfast or dinner. At other times they eat it with dhal and rice. Spinach is also prepackaged at the supermarket with other vegetables for the chef who wants to “bubble a pot” of callaloo. In most homes the callaloo soup is plated with provisions, dumplings, macaroni pie or white rice and a side of cooked crabs, pig tail  or even salted cod . I cook some of these recipes at times but I love gourmet so much that I always try to up the ante in the kitchen (I love to get creative).

Spinach Salad

This salad is great for breakfast, brunch and lunch. You can add what you like and break some rules or bend them as these recipes are always being innovated in my kitchen.


  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/8 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/8 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 apple


  1. Wash spinach leaves and drain off excess water
  2. Add the drained leaves to a plate
  3. Wash and drain off excess water from cranberries and blueberries
  4. Sprinkle the berries over the spinach
  5. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the spinach
  6. Chop the walnuts and sprinkle them over the spinach
  7. Thinly slice the half apple
  8. Add the sliced apple to the plated spinach


  • You can add cooked chicken if you eat meat ( I don’t eat meat so I always omit the chicken).
  • You can also leave off the nuts if you are allergic to them.



Spinach Potato Pie


  • 6 potatoes
  • 3 cups of baby spinach
  • 3 red pimentos
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cups cheese
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup milk


  1. Wash, peel and wash potatoes again
  2. Cube them and add them to a pot of boiling water
  3. Cover and allow to cook on lowest heat
  4. Grease a baking tray
  5. Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. Wash the spinach, drain off excess water and chop roughly
  7. Wash and chop pimentos
  8. Wash and chop celery stalks finely
  9. Heat a skillet at the lowest temperature on your stove
  10. Add the tablespoon of oil
  11. Allow the oil to get a little heated
  12. Add the chopped celery and pimentos
  13. Stir occasionally for about one minute
  14. Add the drained and chopped spinach to the skillet
  15. Toss the spinach in the oil with the celery and pimentos
  16. Cover the skillet with a lid and allow to cook for three minutes (tossing occasionally)
  17. The spinach should not stick to pan or get burnt
  18. It is ready when the majority of it has shrunk and appears cooked and dark green
  19. Test the potatoes with a fork as they should be ready after half hour or forty five minutes of boiling
  20. Drain off excess water from boiled potatoes
  21. Add boiled potatoes to a bowl and smash them
  22. Add two cups cheese, the milk and mash them together
  23. Add the corn and cooked spinach to the potato mash
  24. Continue mixing and mashing the new mixture
  25. Add this new mixture to the baking tray and spread evenly
  26. Sprinkle leftover cheese over the surface of the spinach pie
  27. Bake for half hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit or until golden brown on bottom and top layer of the pie. (I used a glass dish so I could easily tell when the pie started to become golden brown)


  • If you are lactose intolerant then you can use coconut milk and cashew cheese.
  • You can serve this with some lentils and fish or chicken or whatever tickles your fancy.


I hope these spinach recipes keep you hearty,  happy and healthy!








Simply Decadence Ltd – A Premier Gourmet Cafe

I guess you can say I have a “thing” for cafes.  I am not too sure why but I believe it has something to do with my love for mini escapades into a world of soulful delicacies and old world charm (perhaps too much Breakfast at Tiffany’s ha ha). I am such a café fanatic that the minute I see or get whim that a new café is being launched it is inevitable that the café will be on my “must visit soon” list.  I usually visit the south land ever so often every month. Every time I notice a few changes to the scene.  Over the last few months I would see this purple and gold sign with the words Simply Decadence Ltd. Immediately, my thoughts were “oh wow a dessert café in Point Fortin finally someone did it!”  Obviously, this place made it on my list and I eventually got to stop by and get the “inside scoop” (no pun intended).

sd(Photo credit: Simply Decadence Ltd. Facebook Page)


 Simply Decadence Ltd.


#18 Adventure Road Point Fortin (Next to Colfire)


Gourmet Food and Treats (savory and sweet)


Catering for all occasions

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Coffee

Contact Information



When I visited the café I chatted with one of the owners, Karon Felmine. I found out that the business is family owned. They have been in the catering industry for years prior to opening the cafe.  This café was one of Karon’s dreams since 2012. In July 2016 there was an opportunity to realize this dream when the perfect spot became available. Karon and her family took advantage of the opportunity and today the community of Point Fortin and environs can enjoy being part of the dream.

Café Hours

Tuesdays to Wednesdays breakfast from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Thursdays it is open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays it is open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Sundays it is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The design aesthetic of Simply Decadence Ltd is kept simple with hues of blue, cream, grey and brown. Plant centrepieces adorn  wood tables. Some candles replace the plants on the table that serves as the focal point for the lounge seating area. The lounge area heightens the rustic vibe with its basket weave elements and beige cushions. The lighting is not too bright or too dim for anyone to catch up on some reading whilst having their coffee. The design  layout strikes a balance between an earthy and a modern ambience with a daytime city skyline backdrop on one of the walls. There is also television and wifi. The café area is clean and well maintained.


Lounge Area

(Photo Credit: David Wears)

Patrons can choose from continental breakfast on mornings. At other times there are local selections of Bees ice cream flavours, punches, hot drinks, smoothies, blended coffees, sandwiches, savory appetizers and decadent desserts. Karon says that they try to offer something different  from the regular menu that patrons can get anywhere else. While I was at the café peanut ice creams with toppings and a chocolate cupcake were the items purchased from the menu by the persons in my pax. They thoroughly enjoyed their orders!


(Photo Credit: David Wears)


(Photo Credit: David Wears)


(Photo Credit: David Wears)

I am excited to see the development and progress yet to come for Karon and her family with this new venture. The hospitality is overwhelming and the staff is so friendly. My guests and I were complete strangers to Karon (since we had not met her before) yet we were treated like family. I will continue to recommend Simply Decadence Ltd to many persons who wish to walk in and get away from the city bustle, to celebrate a special occasion, to enjoy quality and affordable gourmet delights, to choose Simply Decadence Ltd as a potential caterer and to list them as a prime option for foreigners and locals visiting Point Fortin.

Congratulations Karon


Best Wishes