Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dasheene Moments or Lucian Food Porn





Dasheen plants, also called taro, cocoyam or eddo, grow all over the Caribbean region. A starchy tuber that tastes more flavorful than a potato, dasheen is a staple in most Caribbean diets. The Ladera Resort is located on the hills of a former dasheen plantation, which is how its noted restaurant got its name. If you can't manage to stay at the lovely Ladera, eating at Dasheene is a must. Overlooking the twin-peaked, Piton mountains and surrounded by the Caribbean sea with lush vegetation and flowers everywhere, Dasheene is worth the view alone.


The food however, is the real star attraction. Renowned Executive Chef Orlando Satchell describes his nouvelle Caribbean cuisine as not overly spicy, well-seasoned, with English and French influences. He also calls it sex on a plate, which is exactly how I think of it. The colors, flavors and spices meld together to create the most tantalizing spectacles that it looks like food porn. London-born with Jamaican heritage, Orlando focuses on placing Caribbean cuisine on the international map, using local produce and island flair. I started with the watermelon and heart of palm salad above. A basil dressing gave the sweet melon a pleasant kick.



The fruit gazpacho featured tomato, watermelon and papaya. I sipped it down and it swirled spicy and sweet together for a refreshing and surprising taste.


My main course was St. Lucia cocoa Mahi Mahi. The fillet was pan-seared and dusted with cocoa powder and topped with a dasheen chip. Pumpkin flavored rice, fruit salsa and an assortment of grilled local squash (cho cho,calabaza) accompanied the dish. I can't even describe the flavors except to call them heavenly.



Of course, my favorite part of any meal is dessert and Orlando did not hold anything back. The trio of island fruits were arranged to resemble the Pitons. The first was passion fruit mousse in a passion fruit shell, next was papaya parfait formed into a mountain-like wedge and next was cocoa brulee. Each dessert would have been delicious all by themselves but all three together made them unforgettable.


Drinks are an important part of a Caribbean meal because of the heat. I started with Ladera Punch, which mixes fruit juices with lemongrass, ginger and grated pineapple skin. I thought I'd never get enough of that drink until Orlando revealed Seventh Heaven to end the meal. A locally made ginger liqueur, the lightly sweet and spicy libation forced me to relish every Dasheene moment even more.

12 comments:

marina villatoro said...

Good God, this is amazing looking. I would be in food heaven here!
I've never been to this Island, there are so many, I can't even remember which one I've been too. Oh yeah, bahamas, and st. martin, plus all the ones off of honduras and belize.

yet no food looked like that:)

Ebony Intuition said...

The food looks amazing.

Pa Ibou said...

I have never been to Caribbean but one day I will go there.

A Cuban In London said...

I think food porn is the most appropriate name for it. Funny that I once considered naming my section of food and music, 'musical food porn' but was afraid blogger took my blog down or that some readers found ti offensive. I loved your post and loved those photos. We don't seem to have that plant in Cuba, methinks.

Greetings from London.

PS: Cuban hip hop tonight on my blog from 11:59pm GMT onwards :-).

Fly Girl said...

Marina, no, I don't think the food would look like this on other islands. Orlando is the only James Beard accredited chef in the Caribbean, which means he's up there with the international top chefs.

Ebony, Oh, it was!

Pa, I hope you get there soon too. You'll be amazed by the strong African links.

Cubano, Why am I not surprised that a scorpio was going to name his blog after porn? Ann I will be all over your blog for Cuban hip hop!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

What delightful dishes. I can't begin to believe how tasty they must be.

finola said...

Hey, it's always fun to see my island featured and the food is well worth featuring!

just a note - eddo, (real)taro and dashene while all related are quite different too. All delicious, that's for sure!

Well worth a visit to St. Lucia...not only is the view from Ladera spectacular, good eats and drinks...go book your holiday!

Fly Girl said...

Jean-Luc, Oh you wouldn't believe!

Finola, thanks for dropping by. Actually taro, eddo and dasheen are names used for the same veggie on some islands. It depends on where you are!

YaleDiv said...

I am leaving for Ladera on Friday, and this made me even more excited! Thanks for the lovely pictures.

The Bookaholic said...

Absolutely yummy!

Yvonne said...

Oh, my goodness that food looks delicious.

jen laceda said...

I'm so jealous at your Dasheene experience. I love dasheen leaves--we have a dish in the Philippines called Laing wherein we cook dasheen leaves in coconut milk!