If you’re looking for a great way to avoid the tourist traps of any island and really want to experience the country’s culture, history and cuisine, take a food tour. It’s what I did in Nassau, The Bahamas with Tru Bahamian Food Tours. In three and a half hours I learned a bit of history, saw great architecture and, of course, ate some of the best food The Bahamas has to offer. Ranked as the number one thing to do in The Bahamas on TripAdvisor, once you’ve experienced it, there is no doubt as to why. Tru Bahamian Food Tours offers not only a culinary taste of The Bahamas, but also a history lesson, with talks of Pirates, Al Capone, The Duke of Windsor with a little bit of Jay-Z and Beyonce thrown in for extra flavour.
Our tour guide Alex, a young recent English Lit college graduate from the island of Grand Bahama, with a huge smile balanced perfectly atop her tiny frame, met our group of eight at the site of the historic Christ Church Cathedral in Downtown Nassau. Once familiarities and general housekeeping were out of the way, we started our tour.
Our first stop, the Bahamian Cookin’ Restaurant. Run by three generations of women, the restaurant serves classic Bahamian cuisine and we enjoyed wonderful Conch Fritters and a traditional Bahamian dish of peas ‘n rice, steamed chicken, baked macaroni, coleslaw and fried plantains and a cold glass of “switcha” (limeade). A mouthful, both literally and figuratively! Fortunately, they were small servings, but I did wonder if I’d be able to make it through the rest of the tour!
Our next stop was actually right outside Bahamian Cookin’ at the oldest residential building in New Providence, Balcony House. The house was built back in 1790’s and is now a Museum. We then continued on to Graycliff Chocolatier. Graycliff, is not only a chocolate shop, but also a hotel, a five star restaurant and cigar company. After giving us the history of the beautiful grounds, it was time to taste the amazingly beautiful chocolate creations! We tasted a White Chocolate Key Lime Pie and a Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel. Both were delicious, but my favourite was the Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel – Oh-Em-Gee!! Died and went to chocolate heaven and came back for seconds!
Reluctantly, I continued the tour. We made our way to Van Bruegels, a European-style bistro that served my favourite tasting for the day – a Coconut Curry Conch Chowder. The Owner, Chef Freddy Van Bruegel spent many years in Thailand and it is evident in this spicy take on traditional Conch Chowder.
Continuing on to Bay Street, Downtown Nassau’s main street, through a side corridor, we enter Pure Caribbean, a great place to buy a variety of souvenirs, from Bahamian art to a mixture of teas, spices and a large assortment of hot pepper sauces all made in the Caribbean.
Back on to Bay Street, our next stop was Athena Café, the place to get authentic Greek cuisine on the island. Greeks arrived in the Bahamas in the 1860’s during the sponging era and have been an important facet of the Bahamian community ever since. We enjoyed a Greek salad with lettuce from the owner’s garden.
Our last stop on the tour was Tortuga Rum Cakes. Tortuga offers a variety of rum cakes with flavours such as pineapple, chocolate, coconut, banana and key lime. Here, we had a chance to sample their Original Rum Cake. It was a moist and tasty mouthful that left me wanting more.
In a very quick 3-1/2 hours we had eaten our way around Downtown Nassau and ended the afternoon well-fed and and more appreciative of Bahamian culture and history. Alex, our tour guide, was friendly and engaging and made sure that we all enjoyed ourselves. This was my first food tour experience, but certainly won’t be my last. Kudos to Tru Bahamian Food Tours for allowing me to Explore, Enjoy and Eat The Caribbean!