Travelling to another country with any sort of dietary restriction can be a challenge, but going on a retreat with Meghan meant that I knew I would be taken care of 100%. I could probably go on about every single meal that I ate at Balanbouche, because Tania and Laila (who I went to nutrition school with!) took the most amazing care with every meal that we ate, but instead I’m going to give you the highlights.
Warning: Expect to feel hungry, curious and envious by the end of this post.
Green smoothies that just kept getting greener
Meghan definitely introduced me to the joy that is the green smoothie, and Tania made sure we got our daily dose of greens nearly every morning. The smoothies all week were delicious and filled with unexpected combinations of fresh organic greens and herbs from the nearby farm, coconut, aloe, garlic and many surprises. This incarnation included greens, parsley, cilantro, garlic, avocado and oj. Wonderfully refreshing and the perfect start to our brunches.
Fresh tropical fruit, picked less than 50 meters away
Our mornings always began with wonderful tea and fresh fruit. Bananas, papaya, coconuts, citrus and mangoes that put any fruit that I’ve eaten in Canada to shame. The mangoes were quite possibly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth. Whenever we walked to the nearby beach I would enlist a tall person to pick starfruit for me, which had the most amazing combination of sweet and sour. I could have probably just been a fruitarian all week and have been the happiest girl on the planet.
Okra spinach soup
Have you ever made okra at home? I sure haven’t. I had nothing against this often neglected southern vegetable, I’ve just never really thought much about it nor have I had an epiphanies on what the heck to do with it. This soup changed my mind and I really need to give okra some more love. It was brilliant, made creamy with coconut milk (as many things were) and enhanced with garlic and some simple herbs. Oh so delicious. Going to make and tweak Meghan’s version in the future and show my love for okra…
Laila’s cocoa pancakes
Laila still owes me the recipe for these (hint, hint) but I know that she used a mixture of buckwheat, brown rice and legume flours. Some might be sceptical of a gluten free vegan pancake, but these little guys were out of this world. Paired with a cacao sauce and mango sauce (pureed mango with lime), I couldn’t get enough!! I’m running out of words for delicious, but these absolutely were. Can’t wait to make them at home for an extra special breakfast treat.
Prior to St. Lucia I don’t think I had ever heard of cassava, but little did I know I had been eating it for quite some time as tapioca. It’s a root vegetable and in St. Lucia it is often made into this amazing bread that is kind of like naan. It was all kinds of awesome. Tania also made it into a pizza crust for us one day, and it may have been the best gluten free pizza I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to make this and blow other people’s minds with its awesome flavour and texture.
Green banana salad
Similar to potato salad, but much more delicious and not as heavy with green bananas replacing the potatoes and coconut milk adding creaminess. Totally changed my opinion of bananas and reminded me that they don’t just have to be a sweet fruit!
It’s no secret that I love tea… so it was kind of heaven to experience wonderful, fresh teas from many locally grown ingredients including hibiscus, lemongrass, turmeric, ginger and cacao. Every tea was such a delight, and I brought back a couple cacao sticks so I can make it at home to remind me of St. Lucia.
Cacao Seed Truffles
Cacao, almond butter, chia, maple syrup, vanilla and rum – do I really need to say much more? Bonus points for the presentation in the cacao pods.
Special mention go to: the banana flambé, the spiralized cristophine, the wonderful porridges, the vibrant salads, the plaintain sushi, the chilled cucumber soup and anything seamoss related. Oh. So. Good.
The food at the estate continually blew me away and I’m glad that I’m not committed to picking just one or two favourites! While the objective of the trip was for my soul to be nourished, my tummy was definitely nourished as well! More to come on some of the amazing superfoods that we enjoyed whilst on the island!
If you’re looking for some more travel food porn, be sure to check out Lisa’s blog post discussing the best of the best amid her travels through India, Bali, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii
What’s the best meal or food you’ve experienced while travelling?