Every bite of ceviche is an explosion of flavor upon the palate. That is, every bite of Chef Victor Cleonares’ ceviche is! To summarize If you’re less familiar with the dish, ceviche is a recipe originating in Latin America and the Caribbean. It combines raw fish and seafood marinated in some form of citrus juice and garnished with ingredients such as onions, cilantro, avocado, and more.
Not only is Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort breathtakingly beautiful, but it’s an island famous for having delicious cuisine!
Serenely situated on 2,000 acres of Caribbean island paradise on Curacao, lies Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. The resort is widely known for its breathtaking surroundings and a never-ending array of amenities and activities.
When it comes to the island of Curacao and cocktails, the story begins with a certain blue liqueur. A blue liqueur that isn’t originally blue in color, but we’ll get to that later.
There’s just something about Caribbean islands and cocktails, right? It must have to do with the vacation vibes in such destinations, and the delightfully warm and sunny weather year-round.
Yes, that’s exactly it. The natural climate of Curacao, and the Caribbean in general is conducive to growing the produce needed for the iconic cocktail alcohols many of us have come to know and love.
Some folks travel to explore new landscapes, others to lay out on a tropical beach, and for a great many of us – the cuisine! For all the foodie travelers out there, let us recommend a destination that is a hidden foodie gem. A destination that features a treasure trove of cuisine flavors and influences. Any guesses?
The Caribbean island of Curacao.
Congratulations! You’ve booked your stay at one of the most spectacular and luxurious resorts in the Caribbean. We can’t wait to meet you and help you go into full-on vacation mode! Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort offers an immense amount of things to do, and not do, but you probably already knew that!
To ensure you get the most out of your stay with us, we’ve designed an example itinerary of how to spend four days at our resort. Of course, you can do everything on the itinerary, a few things, or none at all – completely up to you! But if you love to plan, then this guide might help you determine which activities you want to when! You might also discover activities that you didn’t realize were offered at the resort. Without further ado, check out our 4-day vacation bliss at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort:
These four example days are full days, not the days of travel and departure.
Do you fancy yourself as a chocoholic? Do you live, breathe and dream chocolate? Even if we don’t all think about chocolate all the time, it’s safe to say that the sweet treat holds a special place in our hearts and bellies.
Chocolate transcends mere sugar, for many, it’s an experience, a way to celebrate, show affection, continue traditions, bond with our children, and much more. At its core, chocolate is love.
And having a little more love sprinkled in here and there can only be a good thing, right? It is the month of love (and chocolate) after all. In honor of the iconic brown sugary goodness, here are 5 unique and exciting ways to cook with chocolate. Oh yes, chocolate need not be reserved only as a dessert or treat, there are ample ways to include it in your cooking! Check it out.
Hidden, far far away on the beautiful, idyllic, and exotic island of Curacao lies one of the greatest chocolatier and pastry chefs to ever exist.
Ok, some of that is an exaggeration. Curacao isn’t all that far away, but it is in the Caribbean. Wouter Tjeertes isn’t hidden, but he really is a sugar genius.
In honor of this sugar-loving month, we decided to take a moment to introduce everyone to Wouter and his mouth-watering creations. His official title is Executive Pastry Chef, the position he holds at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, a luxury resort on Curacao.
Wouter is a mere 37 years old, originally from a small town in the Netherlands called Wormer, just north of Amsterdam. According to Wouter, the region he’s from is the largest cocoa harbor in the world, and as a result, he grew up smelling chocolate as he rode his bicycle home. Talk about idyllic! He now resides on Curacao and is happily married with two sons. We asked him quite a few questions to get to know who he is, what he does, and what he has in store for the future.
There are nearly endless reasons visiting the Caribbean is a magnificent experience. Pristine beaches, sparkling blue waters and rum punch for days are a few that stand out.
Often overlooked, but equally spectacular, is the cuisine. Nothing beats ending a snorkeling adventure with a bliss inducing lunch. Or, treating your taste buds to their own indulgence after a relaxing spa treatment.
Few islands in the Caribbean are as diverse and rich in culture as Curaçao, one of the ABC islands in the Southern Caribbean, a mere 40 miles north of Venezuela.
Here at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, we are grateful to have Curacao born, European trained and immensely talented, Chef Heinrich Hortencia, as our Chef de Cuisine at Shore, our oceanfront fine-dining restaurant.
Chances are when you visit Curaçao, you’ll want to explore the culinary scene as thoroughly as possible, so we’ve asked Heinrich to let us in on some of his favorite dining establishments.
So, aside Santa Barbara’s wide variety of dining options, here are Chef Hortencia’s recommendations for delectable cuisine to enjoy throughout your trip. Enjoy!
1) Restaurant & Cafe Gouverneur de Rouville: Beautiful historic building, with awesome scenery of St. Anna Bay harbor and the Unesco World Heritage site – Capital Willemstad. They feature a diverse menu and offer excellent service. Heinrich’s wife suggests trying the Cuban style banana soup.
2) Zest Mediterranean at Jan Thiel: An incredible beach lounge vibe will really put you in the Caribbean mood. The chef has a very unique style and they have fantastic food.
3) Restaurant Komedor Krioyo at Landhuis Dokterstuin: Great, authentic local food. Very basic, but also very delicious!
4) Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant: This is an excellent luxury restaurant. Heinrich says this is, “his style of food.” Features very well thought-out food. Expensive, but well worth it.
5) Restaurant Kome: Just great food, and will make a great night out.
6) Landhouse Klein St. Martha: Absolutely enchanting view. Fantastic service. Uncomplicated and delicious food. All around excellent experience.
Hopefully you enjoy your experience at these restaurants just as much as Heinrich and his wife do!
For further suggestions and insight for your Curaçao trip don’t hesitate to reach out to the Santa Barbara team! We are more than happy to guide you through the ins and outs of our beautiful island!
Beyond seeing the sights, exploring the nature, and learning the history of a given destination, the truest way to understand its culture is through its cuisine.
Each bite of local fare is like taking a step closer to the truth – to the essence of a place.
Cuisine holds the cultures history, drama, secrets of the landscape, and the hardships and happinesses of its people.
When traveling, tasting local and authentic food is one of the most exciting and delicious activities to partake in!
Certain countries and regions are home to more than one type or style of cuisine, and the idyllic Caribbean island of Curaçao is one such place.
Curaçao has an immense amount of historical chapters, and has played host to a plethora of cultures over the past few decades. As such, the cuisine is varied as they come, with plenty of delightful treats and fascinating dishes to explore.
There’s much to learn and experience when it comes to Curaçao cuisine, and we’ll try and give you a breakdown of what to try and where it might have come from originally.
Much of The Cuisine Hails From African Origins
The bulk of the island cuisine is comprised of African-turned-Caribbean style. This is due to the large percentage of African-descended islanders, whose ancestors arrived on the island anywhere from the 1600s to today. This style of food is what you will find most commonly, and it’s absolutely delicious! We suggest trying…
- Kabritu – Stewed goat doused in a semi-sweet brown sauce.
- Stoba – The word for stew, there are many stews, all of which are worth tasting.
- Karko – Thin slices of Conch, typically prepared in a generous amount of garlic and butter.
- Funchi – The Curaçaoan version of polenta, made out of cornmeal, seasoned with butter and salt.
- Tutu – Similar to Funchi, but also includes mashed black-eyed peas.
The Dutch Influence
Being a member of the Netherlands Antilles, Curaçao is heavily influenced by the Dutch in many ways, including: architecture, culture, and cuisine. Some of the Dutch inspired dishes are…
- Bitterbal – Sausage meat molded into balls, coated with breadcrumbs, and then fried.
- Keshi Yena – Essentially a stuffed cheese casserole. Definitely one of the most popular dishes, Keshi Yena is typically made out of Gouda, and then stuffed with spiced chicken, onions, olives, capers, and tomatoes. Now to be clear – Keshi Yena is what the African’s on Curaçao created from the leftover parts of the wheels of cheese the Dutch loved to eat. So it’s a combination of Dutch and African influence.
Check Out the South American Influence
Curaçao’s cuisine is has been greatly influenced by South America over the years due to its close proximity to Venezuela – Curaçao is a mere 40 miles north. Much of the island’s produce and other goods are imported from Venezuela. Definitely check out the…
- Floating Market – This is the place to make your freshly caught seafood purchases. Merchants from Venezuela and Colombia arrive by boat to the island where they sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Technically the stalls are on land, but the boats filled with goods are right behind the stall, giving it the look of a floating market.
- Red Snapper – This is one of the most common fish, and though how it’s prepared may vary, much of the actual fish comes from Venezuelan fisherman who journey to Curaçao to sell their catch.
The Best Place to Try it All…
You can spend your Curaçao vacation hopping from one fancy restaurant to the next, but to really try authentic cuisine, it’s all about the simple, local run, joints.
- Plasa Bieu – The Old Market, Plasa Bieu is the place to try it all. You can find any of the aforementioned dishes, plus many more. Yvonne’s is definitely the place to try if you have to choose. Keep in mind this market is only open for lunch, and can get very crowded! So get there early, and plan to stay a while, we promise you’ll enjoy yourselves.
After all the delicious cuisine, you just might find yourself in need of some quality R&R. Thankfully Curaçao is a Caribbean island offering plenty of luxurious resorts and spectacular beaches to experience. For your luxury accommodation needs, seek out Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curaçao’s premier resort. Our team at the resort will also be happy to point you in the direction of the most authentic cuisine around, and offer any other advice or local insight needed! We hope you have a fabulous getaway. Bon Voyage!
Which came first – Curaçao island or Curaçao liqueur? Trick question of course, but then again, Curaçao is a mysterious liqueur.
When it comes down to it the real deal is to be able to drink a Curaçao cocktail while relaxing on the magnificent Caribbean island of Curaçao.
Yes, that is the life.
Ok, back to business, let’s clear up some of the general confusion surrounding the enigmatic liqueur.
Fact – Curaçao came from a failed attempt of the Spanish to cultivate Valencia oranges on the island.
Fact – Curaçao is naturally colorless.
Fact – Most people associate Curaçao with the color blue.
Fact – Curaçao is made from the oil of dried orange peels, and is then mixed with secret ingredients such as certain local herbs. The oranges are peeled with wooden knives, and then the peels are left to dry.
It all started in the beginning of the 16th century, shortly after the Spanish discovered a little slice of paradise just 40 miles north of the Venezuelan coast.
Eventually those industrious Spaniards decided to develop Curaçao agriculturally, and being from Spain, they began to plant Valencia oranges.
Valencia’s may grow abundantly in Spain, but they sure didn’t thrive under the sizzling sun and arid climate of Curaçao.
After no success was found, the Spanish abandoned the project, and the Valencias were left alone to grow wild and free. Apparently not even the infamous Curaçaoan goats would touch the things.
Quite some time later, it was discovered that the peels of the orange, once dried by the sun, contain etheric oils that make them fragrant.
No longer the Valencia Orange, as it had a bit of time to evolve and transform, this new orange was dubbed the “Citrus Aurantium Currassuviensis.”
Since that’s a mouth full, the locals named it “Laraha.”
So, Why is it Blue?
Great question. Humans love to make things colorful, and once dye was invented, Curaçao got dyed blue somewhere down the line, and it just stuck!
In fact, Curaçao sans coloring doesn’t have too much color to it, but the coloring doesn’t affect the taste, so typically distillers give it a little color!
Blue, green, red, orange, and clear are the typical colors Curaçao is found to have. The sweet taste and pretty colors are usually why the liqueur is used in fruity tropical cocktails.
Where to Try
Of course, Curaçao can be purchased at grocery stores, or you can taste it in cocktails at any given bar or restaurant (usually), but the best place of all to taste is, of course, Curaçao island!
We recommend heading to Curacao Liqueur Factory, which is run by the family Senior & Co., and produces the ancient liqueur in the famous Landhuis Chobolobo – essentially an old plantation surrounded by the natural beauty of the island. The factory offers free tours at Landhuis which includes a complimentary tasting of the fine liqueur!
Naturally you don’t have to travel all the way to Curaçao to taste Curaçao liqueur, but we highly recommend doing so as a gift to yourself! For the utmost in luxury and convenience, book your stay at the beautiful Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. The friendly team at Santa Barbara can help you arrange your tour at the Factory, along with provide recommendations for anything and everything else you desire to see or do throughout your stay!
Bon Voyage and Cheers!