Eco-Chic and Fabulous Food at Petit St. Vincent

When you’re relaxing on a private island such as Petit St. Vincent days are spent enjoying the beach, indulging in spa treatments, dipping your toes in the water and of course, eating! General Manager, Matt Semark, began his career in hospitality as a chef meaning the importance of good food made with fresh, local ingredients is always going to be emphasised.  Having been recognised by National Geographic as a leader in sustainability, eco-friendly practices are also at the heart of the daily running of the island and inform several aspects of the foodie day.

Is there any better way to start your day than breakfast in your room? Admiring the view from the clifftop at cottage one as I did or with your feet in the sand at the beach front cottages. Simply order your breakfast the night before via the flagpole system and your butler will deliver it the next day, driving up to your cottage in his faithful Mini Moke to set it up. 
And it’s not just breakfast, any meal can be taken in your room so that you can enjoy the perfect privacy that your secluded cottage affords.

The Main Restaurant and Bar also serves food all day in the most beautiful setting – but spoiler alert there’s no location in Petit St. Vincent Private Island that isn’t absolutely stunning.  
Curving around the hillside, there’s plenty of pretty spots to choose from to enjoy your meal. And all meals and non-alcoholic drinks are included in the room rate so make sure you get your three courses in!

Head indoors to avoid any tropical storms.

Or opt for one of the beautifully carved wooden tables on the terrace.

My favourite spot was up in the treetops, surrounds by cacti and with a view of the palm trees swaying in the breeze. 
Just be aware of any feathered friends that may steal your French toast!

You won’t find any cold breakfast buffets here, all food is ordered from an à la carte menu and made freshly. 
I had fruit every morning – because what’s an exotic holiday without mango?

But eggs benedict, pancakes and waffles were on the menu – as well as healthier options such as porridge and dried fruits. A cold glass of water is a must for me at breakfast and a desalination plant processes ocean water, supplying the island with safe fresh water to use and drink from the tap. Water is available in reusable glass bottles rather than wasteful plastic.

By night the Main Restaurant is all about fine dining and romance.

I’d highly recommend stopping at the bar first with it’s beautiful terracotta hanging lights and ordering one of the rum cocktails or a glass of wine from the vast selection. 
The atmosphere at the Main Restaurant combines the intimacy and luxury of fine dining with the laid back Caribbean vibes of the island. Suit and tie aren’t required and guests can come as they are for some really good food!

Unfortunately romantic light and intimacy doesn’t lend itself to beautiful photography but we loved the food on the daily changing menu at the Main Restaurant. I had fresh locally caught fish every day (think ceviche, grilled snapper and tuna) but other luxurious dishes were on the menu such as cheese soufflé, foie gras, beef carpaccio, New Zealand lamb and Black Angus beef. Fruit and vegetables were rather special too, many are grown in the resort’s own kitchen garden and dishes are kept authentic with the inclusion of Caribbean ingredients such as breadfruit, yam, calaloo, dasheen, yam and plantain.

Delicious desserts of home made cheese cakes, banana ice cream and sweet treats infused with rum finished us off nicely every night but meals were still light and we weren’t left rolling back to our cottages.

Also located in the Main Restaurant is the all important wine cellar which houses a collection of over 4,500 fine wines and champagnes – pretty good for a small island! PSV hosts week long visits from vinters to showcase their wine and other produce for the oeonphilic guests as part of their event programme.

Speaking of which events are popular at Petit St. Vincent and hospitable general manager Matt Semark holds weekly cocktails and canapés to get to know the guests; other culinary events are held throughout the year. Whilst staying on the island, I attended a rum tasting session and as someone that knows little about the drink, I soon found myself educated in the ways of the local beverage. Nearby Barbados is considered the birthplace of rum and the Mount Gay distillery, founded in 1703 is believed to produce the oldest rum in the world – it’s a popular choice at Petit St. Vincent.

A visiting rum expert explained that rum is actually made from the byproducts of sugar cane such as molasses and the majority of the world’s rum production happens right here in the Caribbean and Latin America.

We sampled several different grades of rum and I learnt that light rums are used in cocktails (pass me the pina colada or a mojito!) and dark rums are drunk neat.
As well as being the drink of choice, it also has huge cultural significance in the West Indies.
I also learnt that rum and chocolate are a match made in heaven (I mean I could pair chocolate with anything…) and we paired rich dark chocolate with the heady flavours of smoky rum. I learnt that it’s the aged rum with caramel undertones that pairs particularly well with milk chocolate.

Our favourite place to go at lunch time was the resort’s Beach Restaurant and Bar – what better way to feel the Caribbean vibes than dining with your feet in the sand? 
Beautiful hand carved tables blend naturally with the barefoot luxury, rustic vibes of Petit St. Vincent. 
Sitting under thatched roofs or shady palms, everything is organic and nothing seems out of place. 
And there’s a set of sun loungers and relaxed sofas if you just want to kick back with a burger and a beer and watch the sea with a book in hand. You won’t be sitting on your phone here as the wifi doesn’t extend down to the beach.

If you come in season there’s even a live lobster pool where you can select your own and have it freshly grilled for you. 
Our favourite table was this big glass one right on the water’s edge…

And a bottle of Whispering Angel rosé from Provence was our daily tipple.

I love plantain chips and admittedly a plate full were often ordered more than once a day!
Deep fried conch was something I’d never tried before but I absolutely fell in love with it. Again we had it for a starter every day!

The freshly made tuna ceviche served with plaintain chips was the perfect light dish for a hot day. 
As were delicious wraps with local ingredients with the choice of fish, chicken or vegetarian. 
Chicken and beef satays and tomato bruschetta made great sharing nibbles for the table.
While water melon salad with feta was a deliciously juicy accompaniment to our main courses. 
And I always think pizza on holiday is a must! There’s several to choose from but we opted for the PSV special which is a twist on a Hawaiian with pepperoni, olives and pineapple.
Oh and try the chocolate brownie and / or the home made ice creams and sorbets too!

Named after PSV’s most senior member of staff, Goatie’s Bar was our favourite places on the island for cocktails. Goatie himself is known as the grandfather of PSV and has been on the island since 1966 when there wasn’t even electricity – I didn’t get to meet him but I can only imagine the stories he could tell about life on the island.

Cocktails at PSV are prize-winning and are like tasting sunshine in a glass. My tipple of choice was Natalie’s Summer Breeze with Mount Gay Rum, Triple sec, Galliano, lime and orange juice topped with sparkling wine!

The Banana Cow with Mount Gay Rum, banana, bitters, coconut cream, milk and nutmeg is a popular choice but you can’t visit PSV without tasting the pina colada at least once. 
And a frozen daiquiri in mango, banana or papaya makes the perfect sundowner.

Whilst we were there, we were treated to the hotel’s weekly barbecue where we were serenaded by a Caribbean steel band. 
Fresh beef, pork ribs and fish were on the grill as well as a choose-your-own selection of salad and side dishes…
And an epic dessert buffet which we were *almost* too full for. But who can actually say no to homemade chocolate brownies and marshmallows on sticks? If you don’t want to leave your cottage, the staff can hand deliver a selection of the spread right your door.

As a dedicated foodie, it always excites me to see straight to the source and at PSV there’s an ever evolving farm to fork concept and organic kitchen garden. With very little travelling, many of the ingredients are as local and fresh as can be and there are plans to see the garden expand even further. With leftovers from the restaurant, as well as cut grass and seaweed go into the compost so very little is wasted on the island.

There are even over two hundred chickens in the garden, laying eggs for breakfast and keeping the kitchen in stock to make important dishes such as cake and ice cream. Children can even come and help to collect the eggs from the coop where they happily wander around freely.

It may be a small but Petit St. Vincent Private Island is big on choice when it comes to food and the quality is exceptional.

Rates at Petit St. Vincent start from $1,100 (£841) per room per night, based on two sharing a one bedroom cottage. Includes three meals daily, all non-alcoholic beverages, the use of non-motorised water sports and all facilities at the resort. For further information, visit www.petitstvincent.com | +1 (954) 963 7401 | info@petitstvincent.com or contact your local travel agent

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I was a guest of Petit St. Vincent Private Island as part of a press trip.

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