Food and Adventures from The U.S. Virgin Islands
Though I would agree that it hasn’t been as cold as it normally is this time of year in the East Coast, it has been cold long enough for me to start longing for some sand between my toes and warm ocean water at my feet. So it’s no surprise that when the tourism team for U.S. Virgin Islands invited me for a taste of the U.S.V.I., I jumped at the chance.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is made up of three principal islands – St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, each beautiful and unique in their own way. English is the primary spoken language, but Spanish and Creole are also heard throughout the three islands. Many locals speak in a distinct dialect, as a result of the French, Danish and Spanish influence on the destination.
Visitors wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the bigger islands are encouraged to visit the charmingly historic and peaceful Water Island; often referred to as the ―4th Virgin. Located just a half-mile south of Charlotte Amalie and easily accessible (10- minute ferry ride), Water Island is a peaceful, quiet retreat that’s ideal for a quick getaway.
The U.S. Virgin Islands offers year-round warm temperatures with averages of 77°F (25°C) in winter and 82°F (28°C) in summer.
Pretty nice, huh?
Granted, I didn’t get a taste of the islands in the actual islands themselves, but at this point I am happy to experience any bit of it however I can. On this special evening it would be surrounded by many of my food blogging friends as we worked together to make traditional U.S.V.I dishes while drinking tropical cocktails.
It may sound a tad dangerous to drink and handle a knife, but we were under the watchful eye and guidance of Chef Theo Gumbs, a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands and one of the Caribbean’s most accomplished chefs. He serves as a Culinary Ambassador for the destination creating signature dishes that embellishes the culture. He is also a two-time winner of the Local Chef, Top Chef, and Iron Chef Competition. Chef Theo creates and distributes an array of his very own spices and hot sauces, some of which we tasted that evening and I guarantee hot sauce and spice lovers would enjoy.
Needless to say, we were in good hands. Our dishes, which consisted of broiled king fish, okra fungi, salted cod fish cakes with creole remoulade dipping sauce, finished off with drunk spiced banana with a citrus rum sauce for dessert, were incredible.
Traditional music from the U.S. Virgin Islands played in the background as we cooked and enjoyed our feast. Between the flavorful food, the great company, and the endless glasses of cocktails I definitely got a taste of the islands and a deep desire to visit.
I have personally never been to the U.S. Virgin Islands and felt it would be cruel to give you this wonderful visual without any concrete real life experience on the islands to back it up. So I reached out to my lovely family travel community of writers and bloggers and asked them to share their experiences with us here. I have linked the tales of their adventures in this fabulous destination and I hope it entices your sense of tropical adventures as well!
Thank you to the U.S. Virgin Islands team for a wonderful evening and for bringing the flavors of your home to our cold NYC for us to enjoy. Thank you to Chef Theo for sharing your craft, your food, and your smile and company with us. And, thanks to my peers and friends in the family travel blogging community for sharing your adventures!