It’s morning, 11:20am in fact. I’m downtown Nassau, on the corner or George and King St. admiring a wonderful display of colonial style architecture. While the admiration is something I do often, a leisure walk through downtown Nassau is unfortunately not. Dusted with the heavy traffic of tourists and the “urban stroller” I am upmost a local in the mindset that I am only in town as needed, meaning when I have very little choice. I hear the voice of our tour-guide Alanna calling me to join her and a group of six in front of Christ Church Cathedral, her call marking the start of today’s Bites of Nassau – Tru Bahamian Food Tour. A tour which Alanna goes on to explain was established with the vision to connect visitors with the most authentic cuisine the island has to offer – not to mention the fascinating entrepreneurs, chefs, artisans and business owners who prepare and preserve our Bahamian foods and traditions. With the receipt of my Eat.Drink.Discover. activity sheet, one that maps out seven distinct tasting locations and is complete with redeemable coupons, I have very little doubt I am in for quite the experience.
We start by walking east towards Trinity Place – a quaint and narrow alleyway – home to Bahamian Cookin’ our first tasting location; here surrounded by decor that gives a nod to Bahamian lifestyle and its traditions I find myself drenched in colour. It can be seen in the Junkanoo pieces scattered throughout the restaurant and the curtains that hang in the form of Androsia – a fabric produced on Andros, the largest island among the archipelago. Leaving, my palate savouring a salty aftermath, I glance to Trinity Methodist Church and think how wonderful an Island “I DO” location this is, the scene of many church weddings. Returning west, Alanna points out Balcony House, an 18th century home built in traditional loyalist style with an open-air verandah and louvered shutters – more notably known to be the oldest wooden structure in Nassau. Walking through the doors of our second tasting location, a hint of spice in the air, I spot plates overflowing with Jamaican jerk chicken and think I am in for a “kick” – not the literal kind but nonetheless not a thought to be underestimated. Taking my first bite I am surprised not to hear Food Network’s Emeril Lagasse yelling “Bam! Bam! Bam!” or “Kick it up a notch!” coming from the kitchen. Alas it is Jamaican head-chef Kiron Kerr who flashes a grin, he is also clearly not to be underestimated. Walking on to our third tasting location we pass Christ Church Cathedral, with it’s long list of note worthy characteristics I am most surprised to learn that protected within the church’s locally quarried line-stone walls there is a pipe organ, one of the only three in the world. Continuing southwest to historic West Hill Street my eyes lay upon a picturesque street that evokes strong sentiments of the “old Bahamas”. Here time has stood still, especially as Graycliff – a property that dates bake to the 1700s – flanks much of south side of the street. With Graycliff’s recent addition of a chocolate factory I realize we are in for a sweet treat, one handcrafted by none other than Chef Erika Dupree Davis, Bravo Top Chef Just Desserts contestant and the first African American woman to run her own chocolate factory. Biting in to a guava filled white chocolate square I come to the conclusion that this hand-painted chocolate is worthy of defining the term “sinful-bite”.
Arriving to Van Breugel’s Bistro & Bar – tasting location number 4 – I decide the sweet is all the more sweeter when garnished with the savory as our next stop offers such a complimentary follow-up in the form of a Coconut Curry Conch Chowder. Seated in a former private residence built in the 19th century, I dip my spoon in to the classic Bahamian favourite that has a thai-euro spin to it, the medley of flavours playing along my tastebuds. Leading us to Bay Street Alanna let’s us know that the next three tasting locations will be in quick succession, matching the hustle and bustle of Nassau’s main thoroughfare. Upon entering Pure Caribbean – tasting location number 5 – the outside world all but slips away as I go on a sensory escape with every inhale of the finest tea blends that imbibe the island spirit – with names such a “Briland Passion” and “Island Peach” how could they not? Refreshed after every last sip we continue on to tasting location number 6, the second to last stop. Walking up the steps of Greek restaurant Athena Cafe I quietly wonder to myself how did the Greeks find themselves in The Bahamas? It is not surprising to learn that like many, the Greeks came to sponge the Great Bahama Bank – thought to be one of the best beds in the world – and like many when the sponging blight hit in 1840 they had to resort to other trades – needless to say making mouth watering traditional Greek salad is a trade that won’t go out of business. Alanna leads us to our last stop Tortuga Rum Cake Company, I question whether I can stomach another bite – pun intended. However, when I hear we’ll be sampling the original Tortuga Golden Rum Cake my mouth waters and only is it then that I can say this tour was good until the very last bite.
So good in fact that Experiencers, we have an exclusive offer just for you.
Be sure to add this to your Island Itinerary when visiting mainland Nassau – New Providence or staying on Paradise Island.