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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Journey up the Coast - A Taste of Belize Takes to the Road

Posted: October 15, 2010
by: Mark Stine

We checked out the farmers market as our last event in Punta Gorda (PG to
locals in the know) and discovered a colorful array of fresh, locally
grown produce. They even had a unique " baby in a box" display, which I
guess was an easy way for mom to keep an eye on him and out of harm's way.


All of the vendors were friendly and in addition to the produce, some also
offered balls of dried cacao and coffee (hand picked and roasted) for
sale. I opted for the fresh coffee and planned on having some savory
strong coffee when I got back to Las Vegas. It was nice to interact with
the local residents and purchasing their locally grown products helps
their economy, a much better experience than some cloistered all inclusive
vacation where you gain no sense of the community.

Pictured Above: Zenovia


When I first flew into the Toledo area of southern Belize on Monday, it
looked like an isolated outpost along a coastal jungle frontier. This is
misleading- once you hit the ground and start exploring, you discover
there is a wonderful modern highway system that reaches all the way from
the capital in Belize City down to Punta Gorda. A drive in a rental car
taking only 4 hours to make the trip and plans are underway to even extend
the highway into neighboring Guatemala

Since our time had come to an end in Punta Gorda, we were about to get a
chance to check out the highway, as our group was headed up the coast
several hours by car to the beach resort community known as Placencia. A
scenic drive with mountains to the west, covered with lush jungle
vegetation made for an enjoyable ride, with guide Bruno (see blog # two )
suggesting a pit stop  for refreshments.

A new twist on bottled water in Belize is bottled coconut water. I had
been told to look  for fresh green coconuts with the top slashed off and a
straw so you could enjoy them fresh from the husk...but this was a new
twist. If you make it here..I suggest you try it! Since the whole purpose
of Taste of Belize is to try everything locally produced, embracing the
concept has brought some positive surprises. The coconut water is
light..refreshing with a unique flavor that is hard to describe. Lighter
tasting than coconut meat, it readily quenches thirst.

Wish our plastic bottles had been the real thing!

Just a little background on our traveling group...Morgan works for the PR
firm handling the Taste of Belize media /bloggers trip and is based in
Milwaukee, Larraine is with the Belize Tourism Bureau (BTB) living with
her family in Belize City and the other writer with our group is Julie,
who works for Matador magazine and has a fascinating history and
background of her own....which we will explore in another blog.

Bruno got us as far as the Robert Cove Inn in Placenia where we said our
goodbyes...with fond memories of Bruno's jaguar and " jumping viper" snake
stories. Best way to reach Bruno if you  make it to Belize and need a
talented and caring educator/ guide is through his web site at
www.suncreeklodge.com  You won't be disappointed, we certainly weren't. So
Bruno..danke schoen!

Definitely not Bohemian..The Inn at Robert's Gove is a comfortably deluxe
resort with three ocean front pools....two which are infinity
styled,along with a very welcoming staff. eased us into the beachy
atmosphere. Shortly after checking in we headed out for some Burgers
island style - with open sided dining and "suggestively named drinks"  As
if this wasn't enough we wondered down through the town and found an ice
cream shop and along the way Morgan got island fever (well actually more
like peninsula fever)and popped a hibiscus flower behind her ear.


Pictured Above: Morgan

Placencia is in a state of rapid growth...but we still managed to find
some simple yet colorful buildings to add to the island atmosphere.


On the way back, we explored another lodging opportunity - Turtle Inn -
Francis Ford Coppola Presents, part of the famous movie director's
expanding empire focused on wine, food and adventure!  The property was
stunning  and I have included a few shots to give you a taste of the
grounds. We had the good fortune to meet Serena - Vice President- resorts.
She gave us a tour of the property in addition to an arranged tasting with
the chef!


The tasting included signature cocktails  we sampled down on the beach
along with selected appetizers and entrees served in the open air dining
room. This was no simple tasting -it ended up being a rather elaborate
affair. There is so much to report about the unique offerings we
experienced, with fresh ingredients from the onsite private kitchen garden
and interview with the chef , that it will all be featured in an upcoming
blog when I get back from Belize. If you can't wait for the featured focus
on Turtle Inn - and the dining and resort delights, then here is the link
to this unique resort  in Placencia, Belize. http://www.coppolaresorts.com/turtleinn 


In fact, I will do selected features on Juli..who runs the chocolate shop
in Punta Gorda and Marian from Marian's Bayview restaurant also in PG.
Each of these meetings provided fun background and history of the area
and I think they deserve the focus. So keep up with the travel blogs from
Belize and an ongoing series of stories starting next week as we get up
close and somewhat personal with the exciting people who contribute to
the unique tastes of Belize.

Look for some history over the next few days too...I hear that drumming
and hot peppers are in store. And the big news for me is Julie and I were
selected as "surprise guest judges" for Saturday's Taste of Belize Chef
showdown, where the top ten chef's in Belize compete for top honors...and
I am honored to be a part of it.


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