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





For the Love of Sushi

Since the Japanese cuisine had been introduced to Trinidad and Tobago some odd years ago the commercialization of the sushi fetish has become a growing phenomenon. I remember the days when there was only one place I would go to get my sushi fix namely, More Vino More Sushi. Now I can pick up my sushi pack (More Vino’s commercial pack) branded as Sumo Sushi at the supermarket. There are reviews of fine sushi at Hyatt’s Sushi Bar, Sushi Express, Kaizen Sushi, Samurai Restaurant and Tao Sushi to name a few. Sushi is on most Asian and Japanese restaurant menus today. It can be found at convenience stores such as selected Superpharm outlets.  Also The University of the West Indies embraced a sushi outlet this year to its St. Augustine campus.

sushi-making-hands(Making Sushi –

Sushi etiquette is still the topic for debate at the sushi table. I have heard one story about eating the pickled ginger first to cleanse the palate then using the wasabi and soy sauce to dress the sushi rolls and pick them up with chopsticks. However after considerable reading I discovered another story vouching that there is no need to add dressing to the sushi or pick up the rolls with chopsticks as these rolls were traditionally eaten ‘naked’ and using bare hands. I have seen persons use both ways and even some using the knife and fork at the table  (once available) to eat their sushi rolls.

20160201_151057 (Sriracha Shrimp – Sumo Sushi)

The quality of sushi is always important as failure to eat the freshest and the best prepared sushi can lead to many illnesses and possibly disease. An unfortunate experience with sushi can leave you regretful and resilient to never eat sushi again. Some rolls may include crab meat and other shell fish so it is very important to read the labels on your sushi packs and the details on your menu. Also if you are not sure about something ask your server before consumption leads to your detriment. Once sushi rolls are bought they must be consumed before the next day. Sushi rolls must also be stored properly in a refrigerator or chiller as warmer temperatures can lead to spoilage. These are necessary health and safety precautions as the overall quality of the sushi roll will decline leaving the roll susceptible to bacterial growth and a higher probability of infection for the consumer.

maracas-roll(Maracas Roll – More Vino)

Nonetheless, I am still an avid fan of this delightful delicacy. I am more selective and cautious with my purchase, storage and consumption time for sushi. These days I am quite fond of cooked sushi and I still use chopsticks. In my opinion all of the cooked rolls taste better ‘naked’. I do understand the need to ‘dress up‘ some of the raw sushi rolls as they are an acquired taste. Furthermore, I have been using chopsticks since I was ten years old so eating sushi rolls with chopsticks is more of a preference for me. I also see no problem with persons using their bare hands since they paid a hefty price for their sushi and they should be able to enjoy it rather than be embarrassed by their limited chopstick skills and the plopping of sushi rolls all over the dining table.

IMG-20160810-WA0002 (Dancing Eel – Samurai Restaurant)


Long Live Sushi!


Let’s Go Trinidad and Tobago

No Room for Cultural Appropriation – The Hakka Express

When discussions of food takes place Trinbagonian people in particular become quite passionate. It is such a touchy subject (no pun intended). People often get quite intimate to describe their love affair with their favourite food, their detrimental journey fasting from it, their lack of behavior when gorging on their delectable treats. Some people get so extreme you can immediately visualize them as movie character Smeagol to Gollum hoarding their food and screeching, “my precious”. Jeez people take it down a notch! Okay I am just kidding it is your life to live after all and not mine! But do not  take for granted your luck to be born in a multicultural nation, Trinidad and Tobago. There are so many variations of ethnic food in this country yet little to zero discrimination or offense taken from preparation, cooking or consumption in comparison to other nations. This is why I say there is no room for cultural appropriation but cultural appreciation for Hakka as even this type of food can be embraced in the safest haven for culture in the Caribbean and possibly the world.

hakka outside

(Photo Credit: Hakka Facebook)

My first experience with Hakka cuisine took place a few months ago at The Shoppes of Maraval branch. Now if you are familiar with The Shoppes of Maraval you will understand how challenging it is to choose somewhere to dine as there are so many options and so little parking at peak “hungry man/woman” hours. Nonetheless, The Hakka Express is fairly new there so if you are one of those persons who likes to try new cuisine you may more than likely be motivated to try Hakka unless you are pulled down by the centre of gravity to buy your same old lunch time special. Perhaps you are more like me and leave The Shoppes of Maraval with purchases from Hakka and another food outlet.


(Photo Credit: Hakka Facebook )

Regardless, I chose Hakka because I fell for their history of origin story. It is said that over a hundred years ago a tribe of Chinese persons called the Hakka people travelled to Calcutta, India and settled in a village called Tangra. It was there that the fusion of traditional Chinese cuisine, Indian spices and Indian ingredients began to take place and the Hakka food was born. The graphic design for the Hakka Express logo is electrifying and bold boasting of the strength of the people, the warmth of their service and the fiery blends of their gastronomy that hit your palate with a tasty yet feisty kick. I chose spicy noodles, deep fried chili eggplant and peppery shrimp (not the actual names of the food ). The service was impeccable and the prices were reasonable if you decide to go with a two portion combo or any of the combos. However, if you are feeling to splash the cash a bit more then you will discover that the entire menu is your playground to do just that. Overall, The Hakka Express maintained a clean, friendly and safe ambience great for their target market of walk ins with kids, families, couples and friends. Usually, they are open every day from 11 a.m.

hakka food

(Photo Credit: Hakka Facebook)


(Photo Credit: S3Mini ) (Noodles, Eggplant and Shrimp)


(Photo Credit: S3Mini) (Hakka Express Take Away Box)

If you would like to find out more about The Hakka Express see below.



Barbecue at Bumpy’s

Unavoidably, I feel as though Trinidadians and by extension Caribbean people love to indulge in barbecued meals. This can be at home, at a friend’s house, at a fund raiser, at a friend of a friend’s house, after work barbecue pit stop and the list goes on. Some of them even go to the river or to the beach where they can barbecue their meats on their portable grills. I am not too sure if people barbecue because  they get to bond over doing things together through team  building skills like the preparation of the barbecue. Perhaps the fact that almost every barbecue event turns into a party of some sort (the tendency to throw a party is in their Trini DNA). I am thinking they are probably fond of the effortless preparation and wait time for meal completion. It is not as time consuming in comparison to  gourmet meals in my kitchen with attention to every detail and plating. My thoughts are also collected around the idea that our very ancestors, the native Amerindians also barbecued meats probably not in the luxurious way that we do it. They did not have the advancements in food and technology that we have today but they enjoyed that barbecue and coincidence or not so do we!


I say all of this to bring to your attention the number of barbecue pit stops in Trinidad and Tobago. I am not sorry but I have stopped counting. Now I just go, “Oh.. look a new place just opened” … (comment about the marketing and the brand identity ) …. which  brings my story to a few weekends ago when I was in South Trinidad. I was going over to see a friend. I offered to get her something to eat. Of course her response was “.. barbecue” and she pointed me in the direction of “Bumpy’s Barbeque”. Bumpy’s recently opened and they are located at Twin Walls, South Trunk Road La Romaine and via the Southern Main Road at Grant’s Road Junction in Rousillac. Their brand identity was visible via road signage and product packaging which were  attractive to the eye and precise on content marketing. They specialize in barbecued chicken, lamb and fish. This is great as persons observing fast from meat this Lent can choose from their fish options and not feel left out. Their combo of barbecued chicken, fries, mini bread roll and salad starts at TTD $45.00.  I had my people sample the chicken since I do not eat meat and I trust their judgement as they have consumed barbecued meats from all over the world. So my taste testers approved of the meal and the quantity too. The portions in each combo were enough for two servings for each of them.


Now about their service; Bumpy’s staff is very attentive, polite and productive. I hope they keep it that way. I cannot stress enough the importance of customer service to any business especially the food industry and one that has just started too.  It definitely compliments a good product and does wonders for the brand when it all fits together. It seems like the service reminder from Mahatma Ghandi stuck on their wall is definitely helping to accomplish this. The quote is so appropriately positioned. Staff and customer are reminded that both parties have a role to play in customer service. I was able to find the quote online so take a read for yourself below!


Overall, I can definitely say that I may make another purchase at Bumpy’s in the future. The influences for my buyer behaviour would most likely be the price, service, cleanliness, quality and quantity. Bumpy’s gets the 3 star approval from me since they are just starting and I wait to see them grow more (just so you know no one ever gets 5 stars with me unless I see zero room for improvement. I always believe there is room for evolution and positive change). So if you are ever in South Trinidad and you are “hangry” or you are making a “food run” or you just love barbecue and you cannot contain yourself feel free to check them out!!!