الخميس، 24 سبتمبر، 2015

Coocoo for coconuts: Delicious Caribbean recipes

After sandy beaches and sunny skies, stately coconut palm trees are about as iconic as it gets in the Caribbean. With less fat than whole milk, fewer calories than orange juice and no cholesterol, coconut water from the prized nuts is a healthy refresher. Coconut milk is a flavorful add-on in cocktails, rums, desserts and stews. As it’s full of natural sugars, salts and vitamins, savvy marketers are jumping on the coconut energy drink bandwagon. The oil is divine in massages, the cream replenishes the skin softening wrinkles in the process and the long roots of the tree weave their way through the ground to offset erosion along the shorelines. Locals use the leaves and bark for rainproof roofing. In a pinch, coconut water can even be used as the universal donor as it’s nearly identical to human blood plasma. Snag a spot on a hammock strung between two swaying coconut palms and check out our list of the best coconut-inspired confections in the Caribbean.
Anguilla
Deliciously simple, the golden brown crescents are packed with fresh coconut harvested at the resort with added pinches of brown sugar, cinnamon, anise and nutmeg. (Photo: Melanie Reffes)
As coconut-y as it gets, flaky turnovers at the fantastically fabulous Viceroy Anguilla are the main attractions at the seaside breakfast buffet.  Deliciously simple, the golden brown crescents are packed with fresh coconut harvested at the resort with added pinches of brown sugar, cinnamon, anise and nutmeg. Pastry Chef Jimmy at the Aleta restaurant does his recipe proud, baking 100 turnovers a day with nary a leftover to be found. More coconut-inspired goodies can be found at the Sunset Lounge, where Bartender Shervin shows off his ‘Painkiller’s Pina Colada’ made with Coco Lopez coconut puree. For the ultimate sweet treat, the ‘Chocolate and Coconut Sugar Scrub’ at The Spa is too good to miss. Delightfully aromatic, the coconut and sugar mixture exfoliates from top to bottom and with a generous layer of raw chocolate body mousse to seal deal, skin feels brand new. “Our coconut-inspired treatment," smiles spa supervisor Tristan Hazel "is so full of antioxidants and vitamins that you'll feel like a teenager again."
Jamaica
For diehard coconut-heads, a delectable array of traditional favorites from coconut drops and macaroons to the addictive sugary Jamaican 'grater cakes' and pudding to-die-for is made fresh daily. (Photo: coconutindustryboardjm.org)
You've got to figure an island that has a Coconut Industry Board is serious about the big nuts that grow on the big trees. In the capital city of Kingston, under the guidance of the Coconut Industry Control Act and monitored by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Coconut Industry Board regulates the production, sale and exportation of products made from Jamaica's homegrown coconuts. Open to the public also on Waterloo Road, the Board's aptly named Coconut Shop is chock full of goodies like chilled coconut water in gallon jugs and smaller bottles for travelers, packages of the sweet white flesh called coconut jelly, extra virgin coconut oil and grated coconut in bags ready to take home. For diehard coconut-heads, a delectable array of traditional favorites from coconut drops and macaroons to the addictive sugary Jamaican 'grater cakes' and pudding to-die-for is made fresh daily.  The Coconut Industry Board’s Coconut Shop is open from 9.30 am to 5:30 pm Mondays to Saturdays.
Bermuda
Inspired by Indian pastry chef Krishna Gudla and executive chef Gerry Adams, the edible art on a plate marries the flavors of the east with the tastes of the Caribbean. (Photo: Alex Masters)
New on the menu at Rosewood Tucker’s Point overlooking Castle Harbor in Hamilton Parish, ‘Eastern Promise’ is light and summery and exquisitely crafted with coconut mousse, green tea cake, pomegranate jelly, dragon fruit sorbet, mangoes and sesame chips. Inspired by Indian pastry chef Krishna Gudla and executive chef Gerry Adams, the edible art on a plate marries the flavors of the east with the tastes of the Caribbean. As delicious to look at is it is to devour, the USD$14.00 dessert that salutes the tree of the tropics is served at The Point Restaurant and Terrace.
US Virgin Islands
For a pure coconut body experience, 'Coconut Body Scrub' starts with a coconut sugar scrub made with fresh sugar cane crystals and cold-pressed virgin coconut oil that gently buffs and polishes the skin. (Photo: Ritz Carlton St Thomas)
With the coconut getting top billing, scrubs at Ritz-Carlton Spa in St. Thomas are as indulgent as they are therapeutic. Adding a rejuvenating blend of bamboo and powdered seashells, Bamboo Coconut Signature Body Scrub is pleasantly aromatic with a whiff of lemongrass and sunburn-soothing aloe. For a pure coconut body experience, 'Coconut Body Scrub' starts with a coconut sugar scrub made with fresh sugar cane crystals and cold-pressed virgin coconut oil that gently buffs and polishes the skin. A hot coconut oil hair and scalp treatment seals the deal for the sweetest scrub under the Virgin Islands' sunny skies.
Cayman Islands
Keeping with the theme, breakfast at nearby Coconut Joe’s is a family affair with Chef Vincent Logan’s delectable coconut French toast. (Photo: Chef Vincent Logan)
In Rum Point on the north coast, Coconut Beach Villa is named for the graceful palms guarding the sandy beach. Family-friendly, the five-bedroom villa has a kids table in the kitchen, a purple swing built for two, hammock on the beach, cribs for the wee ones and a freshwater pool with a wraparound deck and barbecue. The weekly rates for up to twelve people run USD $4,970.00 through December 20.  Keeping with the theme, breakfast at Coconut Joe’s is a family affair with Chef Vincent Logan’s delectable coconut French toast. Open-air under a century-old Poinciana tree across from Comfort Suites on West End Road in Grand Cayman, the people-watching spot is big on portions and low on prices. Check out Friday nights for lively DJ’s, island favs like coconut shrimp and Happy Hour munchies on the house.
Aruba 
Served frozen with rum, vodka, Blue Curacao liqueur, pineapple juice and oh yes, coconut cream, the lively libation can get much headier if you ask the bartender to add a splash of coconut rum. (Photo: Hyatt Regency Aruba)
Named for the scaly critter that roams the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Aruba on Palm Beach, ‘The Green Iguana’ is a coconut-creamy cocktail popular at the Palms Beach Bar. Served frozen with rum, vodka, Blue Curacao liqueur, pineapple juice and oh yes, coconut cream, the lively libation can get much headier if you ask the bartender to add a splash of coconut rum. Cooking and pouring until midnight, the bar on the boardwalk is ideal for sunset watching, treating the gang to a second round of the reptile-inspired cocktails and a shareable bowl of Bubbling Crab Dip with Dutch Gouda and a platter of chicken-stuffed arepas or South American corn pockets topped with guacamole and tomato relish.
St. Martin
A mainstay at the market in Marigot, St. Martin, Felix Artsen is fondly dubbed ‘The Coconut Man’ and has been hacking and slicing fresh coconuts for thirsty tourists for more than a decade. (Photo: Melanie Reffes)
A mainstay at the market in Marigot; capital city on the French side of the dual-country island, Felix Artsen is fondly dubbed ‘The Coconut Man’ and has been hacking and slicing fresh coconuts for thirsty tourists for more than a decade. Along with his son Jermaine, the Coconut Man is not only an uplifting, friendly face after an exhausting afternoon of shopping, he’s also creative with recipes like the coconut and sugar cane juice combo that he says boosts energy and cools the body. Meeting and greeting tourists every day at his stand on the perimeter of the market, Coconut Man is delighted to chat up visitors about everything from island politics and how best to haggle with the market vendors to the medicinal benefits of his beloved coconuts.
Puerto Rico
Start with Bacardi coconut rum, add a dollop of coconut cream ,splash of coconut water and the ubiquitous mint leaf or two and it’s nirvana in a glass for fans of the tropics. (Photo: El Conquistador, Waldorf Astoria Resort)
It’s a jackpot for coconut connoisseurs with every sip of a ‘Palomino Adventure' at El Conquistador, Waldorf Astoria Resort in Fajardo on the east coast of the island. Start with Bacardi coconut rum, add a dollop of coconut cream ,splash of coconut water and the ubiquitous mint leaf or two and it’s nirvana in a glass for fans of the tropics. Harvested from the coconut palms that grow on the resort's private Palomino Island (named after a pair of Palomino horses call the island home), the cocktail is a tasty marriage between a mojito and a pina colada. You can find the sassy sipper at Iguana's Café and Mino’s Bar.
Turks & Caicos
The stand-out scrub called ‘Kookoo for Coconuts' aims to please with hydrating coconut oil and sea salts for baby-bottom-smooth skin and the antioxidant properties of kiwi for a healthy glow. (Photo: The Sands at Grace Bay)
Peak elegance on Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, The Sands at Grace Bay's Spa Tropique is crazy for coconuts. You'll find them in body polishes, scrubs and packages that may keep you in the spa all day. The stand-out scrub called ‘Kookoo for Coconuts' aims to please with hydrating coconut oil and sea salts for baby-bottom-smooth skin and the antioxidant properties of kiwi for a healthy glow. With sweet suites and the island-popular beachfront Hemingway’s restaurant, 114-room resort is primetime for relaxation devotees with the add-on ‘Spoiled Rotten’ package that includes the coconut-y rubdown, scented aromatherapy massage, seaweed facial, mani and pedi.
Grenada 
Marrying a traditional dessert recipe with her own culinary flair, Chef Martha’s version of chocolate cake has been making menu magic for nearly 10 years and shows no signs of slowing down. (Photo: Spice Island Beach Resort)
Grenada isn't known as the Spice Island for nothing. With a bounty of the island's national treasures in her kitchen, Chef Marsha Mitchell at the Spice Island Beach Resort is an artist with coconuts, chocolate and a basket of fragrant spices. Her two-layer sponge cake is a sugary dream of coconut mousse infused with a splash of Clark’s Court rum, island-grown ginger, nutmeg and vanilla. Decadent on a bed of dark chocolate made from the cocoa beans that grow in the hills and topped with Chantilly cream, the dessert to-die-for is crowned with shaved toasted coconut, a summery fruit wedge and a jaunty mint sprig. Marrying a traditional dessert recipe with her own culinary flair, Chef Martha’s version of chocolate cake has been making menu magic for nearly 10 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

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