Category Archives: Divi Carina Bay

Getting “Chili” With It In St. Croix

On August 11, it will be Chili on the Beach in St. Croix.

Many travelers to St. Croix know that Divi Carina Bay Resort plays host every year to the glamorous and delicious Taste of St. Croix, an epicurean evening featuring the island’s best restaurants.  When August comes around, the mood changes a bit, the temperature rises and the Divi beachfront is the place to chow down some chili at the United Way Chili Cookoff.

You might be thinking that the Caribbean is all about conch chowder, pina coladas and rum, but chili is what will pack them onto the beach on Sunday, August 11, from 11am until 9pm. Chili plus live bands, dancing, games for children and adults and a knee-slapping good time. It’s all for a good cause and a chance to decide who is number #1 in chili on the island of St. Croix– be it beef, chicken, turkey, pork or a vegetarian version.

St. Croix’s chili champion goes on to compete in November at the International Chili Championship in Terlingua, Texas–the granddaddy of all chili cookoffs.  The St. Croix winner receives airfare, entrance fee to the chili cook-off and a RV for the four-day celebration of chili.

Last year, the event drew 1300 people to the Divi beachfront. Admission is free. Attendees pay for the chili samples, each sample raising funds for several worthwhile causes.  If you want to be a part of it, the June Summer Deal at Divi Carina Bay includes a free night for either a four-night or five-night stay through August 31st.  Now, that is a great recipe:  chili, charity and a vacation special.

Divi Resorts Gives a Hats Off & Discount to Our Military

Did you know that Divi Resorts provides a 20% discount off its best-published nightly rates for the US, UK and Canadian military?  You bet.  We urge you to tell any veteran, disabled, reservist or active military person.  Our military personnel deserve our special consideration, along with a little rest and relaxation in the beautiful Caribbean.  The discount is available all year long at eight Divi Resorts, including those on Barbados, Bonaire, St. Croix, St. Maarten and select properties on Aruba.

While feasting at a BBQ this weekend or getting together with friends at a beach “up north,” spread the word.  Wouldn’t this be another good way to say “thank you?” Share the link for the Divi Military Special.  The discount can be booked anytime!

And, if you have the chance, join in a parade.  But wherever you are, when the clock strikes 3pm, observe the National Moment of Remembrance in silence and reflection for those who have perished during military service.

If you live near St. Louis, you can attend the 63rd annual “Good Turn,” at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, where local Boys Scouts and Cub Scouts decorate 189,000 grave-sites.  What a proud tradition, now in its 63rd year.  The cemetery has served as a burial landscape for soldiers since the Civil War.

And, is there a more stirring sight than seeing Arlington National Cemetery decorated with American flags at 250,000 grave-sites?  The flags are planted there by the 3rd U.S. Infantry, which also maintains a vigil to ensure each flag remains standing throughout the weekend.

Decoration Day is the original name of this day of tribute, when people used flowers to decorate the graves of those who fought and died in the Civil War.  A surviving general of this “rebellion,” as the general himself, John A. Logan, referred to the war, suggested back in 1868, that May 30th be a day of honor.   More than a century and many world conflicts later, the tribute has expanded to include all men and women who served in the US military.

The day of honor evolved to be called Memorial Day and as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday as well as a three-day weekend.

It’s worth noting that the late senator of Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, introduced a bill in 1989 to move the holiday back to the fixed date as a way to stress the true meaning of the day.  He reintroduced the bill in every Congress until his death last year.

Let’s be thankful for our three-day weekends, holiday BBQs and Caribbean vacations and remember on this Memorial Day those who have perished in service to their country.

Chowder Down

Chowder isn’t just for New England.  And, it isn’t just for winter.   Wherever there is a sea, there’s chowder in some form or another. Whether on the coast of the Atlantic, Pacific or the Caribbean Sea, chowder chefs blend the flavors and bounty of both land and sea.   Chowder, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  Well, that’s going to be a challenge, as there are endless variations on the chowder theme, enough to have a competition.

This past year’s Taste of St. Croix featured impressive and, I might add, the always delicious, kitchen concoctions from over 50 restaurateurs, caterers and professional chefs.  Among the categories of the culinary competition was “soup/stew,” which always draws a number of creative interpretations of chowder.  Last year’s prizewinners had hinted at the possibilities of the palate-pleasing nature of chowder with pumpkin seafood and Crucian conch versions.

Chowder has always been a part of the weekly Seafood Fest at Divi Carina Bay for good reason: It’s a crowd pleaser all year long.   You never know until the first taste whether it’s wahoo, mahi or snapper that went from the boat into the pot that day. Carina Bay’s Executive Chef Thomas is determined to win the soup/stew category of the 2013 Taste of St. Croix with the Divi Signature Seafood Chowder.  If he wins, he won’t have to go far – the Taste is staged right outside his kitchen on the Divi beachfront.  As always, the competition is keen.  All the soups are tasty.  Who wants the recipe?

There were six other “best” categories in the Taste of St. Croix: appetizer, entrée, dessert, beverage, local fare, presentation and vegetarian.  And while judges were behind closed doors sampling, assessing and ranking entries, 1500 guests outside on the Divi beachfront were sampling the same.  No worries, there are always plenty to go around.  And, by the way, last year the St. Croix Central High School afterschool cooking class won best vegetarian dish.  That certainly bodes well for St. Croix’s culinary future.

In addition to Thomas and his staff, 40 other Divi Carina Bay personnel were hard at work with 114 volunteers to help make the Taste a sensational event this past year.  It’s a very big party and one you shouldn’t miss next year.  Same time. Same place. It’s a great night to chow-der down.

Eat. Play. Love.

The Taste of St. Croix, set for April 18th, turns thirteen this year!  What began as a modest one-night celebration of local restaurants now has grown into a week-long food festival, called the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience.  It is now the largest culinary event in the Caribbean.

And, that’s a fact that makes Katherine Pugliese mighty proud.  Pugliese, proprietor of eat@canebay restaurant, together with Kelly Odum staged the first Taste of St. Croix in 2001, at Divi Carina Bay Resort.  Now, the Thursday evening event – the highlight of the Food & Wine Experience and the social event of the island’s social calendar – draws over 1500 people and stretches nearly the length of the Divi beachfront.  Speaking about last year’s event, Pugliese said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen St. Croix look so beautiful and so happy…”

Eat.  Play.  Beach.  Music.  A little wine.  A little rum. What’s not to love?

Did you set your clock on Sunday…for Taste of St. Croix?

Yes, you need to set your clock.  In just 5 days, tickets go on sale for the Taste of St. Croix, the annual food extravaganza that draws about 1500 people to the beachfront of the Divi Carina Bay Resort for a night of sampling, sipping and music.  The event is always a sell-out, so if there’s any hope of snaring a ticket, you will have to set your clock.  On March 23 at 3:00pm is when Taste of St. Croix tickets go on sale online at http://www.stxfoodandwine.com/buy-tickets/.

This year’s Taste of St. Croix is Thursday, April 19th.  About sixty of the island’s best chefs, bakers, chocolatiers and caterers leave their kitchens and set up stands on the Divi Carina Bay’s beachfront, offering samplings of their specialties under the stars. While guests sample and sip – wineries, breweries and rum distilleries also participate – a panel of renowned celebrity chefs from the States are hard at work determining prize-winning entries.

The Taste of St. Croix is the centerpiece to the six-day St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, which includes other food oriented activities such as Cuisine on the Green, a tasty golf outing, a tasting “crawl” through historic Christiansted, and a sunset jazz BBQ on the pier in Fredriksted.  It’s a great way to experience the local food scene and the island’s scenery itself.  For the full schedule of events, visit http://www.stcroixfoodandwine.com/.

Set your calendar and your clock.  April in St. Croix is sunny and warm.  It’s also delicious and philanthropic.  Tickets benefit the St. Croix Foundation.

Yum…Who’s In The Mood For Food?

The St. Croix Food & Wine Experience isn’t until April, but we just can’t wait to talk about food until then.  We found Tanisha Bailey-Roka, an attorney by day and a “countess” by night.  She’s the Crucian Contessa, a name given to her by her friends and homage to Tanisha’s favorite celebrity chef:  Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  (Who sadly is not one of the celebrity chefs judging this year’s Taste of St. Croix at Divi Carina Bay, April 18th.)  Tanisha likes to cook food and, even better, she loves to share it.  So last year, she started The Crucian Contessa blog, full of recipes she cooks up for friends.

Well, count yourself among them.  Let’s try her Passion Fruit Mimosa.  Yum!  Easy, delicious, colorful — it’s a taste of the islands in a glass.  (I’m sure there are some vitamins in there, too.)

Tanisha says that St. Croix definitely influences what she creates, but she has such a curiosity about food that she doesn’t limit her culinary explorations to the island.  “Food is fascinating, whether it originates around the corner or around the world,” she says.

More recipes to come.  Soon Tanisha will share with us what she will be instructing budding chefs during the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience children’s cooking classes.

For a complete schedule of the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience and to purchase tickets for any of the events, including the Taste of St. Croix, held on the beachfront of the Divi Carina Bay Resort, go to http://www.stcroixfoodandwine.com/events

And, for another treat:  Divi has One Sweet Deal (a free night with a five night stay, plus Cruzan Rum Sampler & coupon book — all valued at $1000.)