Dear Epic Readers,
I hope this post finds you well. As promised, here is the third issue in my Travel Tuesdays series. So grab a pirate’s punch and let’s hoist off on an epic adventure to St. Kitts.
Located in the Leeward Islands, St. Kitts and its sister island Nevis are two beautiful jewels in the Caribbean. St. Kitts was originally settled by the Kalinago people, who named the island "Liamuiga," which means fertile land on account of its rich volcanic soil. St. Kitts has since then been settled by the Spanish, Huguenots, English and French. It is an independent Commonwealth realm and Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state.
If you are trying to figure out the ideal time to visit St. Kitts, a very special treat will be waiting for you if you go between December 18th and January 3rd. During that time you will be able to visit their annual Carnival and join the party, or as the locals say, "jump-up in de band".
We arrived in St. Kitts on a cloudy day that quickly became sunny and bright. While waiting for our tour group to assemble, I meandered my way over to one of the locals and we had a wonderful conversation about her view of modern St. Kitts. She shared that the changing social landscape of the island was creating a clear division in St. Kitts between the haves and the have nots. I thought this was too bad since they have many academic opportunities for post secondary graduates, such as the International University of Nursing, the International University of the Health Sciences, the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College. If only young Kittitians had more intentional opportunites to access that education, maybe that systemic divide would eventually diminish. It was a refreshing and honest take on island life that I have definitely heard before from other natives of smaller islands but I was still fascinated to get her take on it. All too soon, I had to say goodbye and hurry off to join my group.
We were herded into a van and ambled on our way past a few of the universities mentioned above, to the Fairview Great House & Botanical Garden. When we arrived there we were greeted by a beautiful Kittitian woman in traditional garb who gave us a guided tour around the great house and later on throughout the botanical gardens. She was very well versed in the history of the Fairview and had a great knowledge of the traditional plants and their nutritional and medicinal usages. We were also able to sit in a cooking demonstration with their head chef. My only disappointment was that I had anticipated participating in the cooking of the traditional Kittitian dishes but instead had to observe as the chef lectured and cooked.
Now if you are curious about the historical Fairview great house, it was once the residence of a French military commander before becaming home to various significant families such as the Mannings, humanitarian and New England lawyer John Gardiner, abolitionist lawyer James Stephen, and the great grandfather of the reknowned English Novelist Virginia Woolf. Later on the Lam family ran one of the island’s first full service hotels, “Fairview Inn”, which was known for its parties, especially the New Years Ball. Mr. Kishu Chandiramani purchased it in 2008 and restored it to its former glory.
Now that you have some background, let’s check out some pictures of the Fairview great house and its surrounding botanical gardens in the vlog below. I am also including a recipe that I was given for ‘Creole fish in a tomato broth’. To all my foodie friends…bon appetit!
From the beautiful island of St. Croix
Char a.k.a Epic Mom
Creole Fish in a Tomato Broth
1 Fish Fillet of your choice
½ cup diced tomatoes
½ cup diced green bell peppers
½ cup chopped onions
½ clove garlic
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig parsley
1 cup tomato juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 cup water
Cajun seasoning to taste
Method: In a hot pan add olive oil and unsalted butter. Lightly sauté onions, garlic, and green bell peppers till golden brown. Add brown sugar, Cajun seasoning, tomato juice, water and lime juice. Bring to a boil and let simmer. Submerge fish fillet in pot and reduce the liquid by half to intensify flavor. This should take 10-15 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of Fairview cooking class.