At Barbados Food & Rum Festival, a renowned chef shared her secrets for creative, sustainable food (as well as the treat she can't travel without!)
"The smell of happiness is, for me, frying plantain in Barbados."
Shelina Permalloo is a British-Mauritian chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author specializing in Mauritian cuisine. She's known worldwide as the first woman of colour to win BBC's MasterChef competition in 2012, but when I met her, she was thrilled to simply be an attendee of the Barbados Food & Rum Festival (just like me!)
Permalloo first visited Barbados after finishing university (she reports: "There were 16 of us... and the island knew when we arrived!") That initial trip made some lasting impressions, as the large group quickly made friends with locals, got invited home for homemade dinners, and provided the future chef with an abiding love of Barbadian (Bajan) cuisine.
During the Food & Rum Festival's Chef Classics event (an intimate series of cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs), Chef Shelina shared her thoughts on elevating traditional comfort food, embracing sustainable ingredients, and the special treats she can't live without when she travels.
There's no travel treat I love quite like a fancy coffee. But would fate keep me away from the decadent delights in Victoria-By-The-Sea?
Have you ever had one of those travel moments when you really, really want to visit a place but it seems that fate is determined to keep you away?
That's how I've felt about Island Chocolates in the small Prince Edward Island village of Victoria-By-The-Sea for YEARS now! I had the shop (and, specifically, their chocolate-infused "factory coffee") since 2021. That autumn, Ryan and I rolled into town in the middle of a brutal rainstorm and we couldn't find the shop. This is clearly a reflection on how road-weary we were, as the shop is on MAIN STREET. We must have been a bit loopy in order to miss it. As such, our only moment of triumph from that visit was finding public washrooms. No chocolate for us.
I had a second chance in 2022 when I was visiting PEI with friends. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner in Victoria-By-The-Sea before taking a leisurely walk up to Island Chocolates... except that it was closed! Once again, it was our fault. We didn't look up the hours and it's not surprising that they'd be closed after supper time.
Would my luck change in 2023? Well....
The Hawk on Cape Sable Island is Nova Scotia's southernmost point and home to its most unusual beach.
When you go as far south as you possibly can in Nova Scotia and the pavement ends, you’ll find yourself at a quiet beach known locally as “The Hawk.” This isn’t your average Maritime beach with soft sand and smooth pebbles. The shores here are filled with thousands of fossilized tree stumps.
The Hawk (most likely named after a schooner washed ashore in the 1800s) is located on Cape Sable Island. No, that’s not the same place as Sable Island, famously home to wild horses. Cape Sable Island sits between Yarmouth and Shelburne and is the southernmost part of the province. There isn’t much in the way of horses in the area, but birds are a different story. Bird watchers love this beach, and The Hawk is part of the Cape Sable Important Bird Area.
However, the wildest thing of all are the fossilized tree stumps, part of a 1500-year-old drowned forest.
The Cup and Saucer Trail on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, is a beloved spot for adventure. But how would an anti-adventurist like me fair on this hiking route?
I have a rule when it comes to hiking. I have to be able to complete the route while holding a travel mug, full of a delicious latte. If you're going to trudge through the forest, you might as well do with a tasty hot beverage in hand, right? And having a hot drink to balance means you're avoiding anything too arduous. However, while on a press trip to Manitoulin Island, located just outside Sudbury in northern Ontario, I broke that rule all in the name of, well... I'm not sure exactly. Adventure? That doesn't sound like me. Being a bold, brave travel writer? Welllll.......
Like many anti-adventurist excursions, I had several moments of doubt along the way, but I'm ultimately happy that I did it. Here's what it was like to hike the Cup and Saucer Trail - in the rain!
In the cozy, colourful seaside town of Shelburne, you can connect with arts, crafts, culture, and cuisine.
I know a thing or two about having adventures in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. After all, this is where I had my infamous "anti-adventurist" moment when I attempted axe throwing! (You can read all about it here - thankfully, nothing was hurt but my pride). However, there are plenty of much cozier, low-key, micro-adventures to enjoy in this pretty seaside community, with no weapons, tools, or farm implements required! If you're lucky enough to find yourself in southern Nova Scotia, here are some of the treats you can enjoy.
When you visit the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, winter blues melt away.
There's magic in the air in Key West.
In the United State's southernmost city, you'll find a tropical paradise at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Inside this tropical greenhouse beautiful little birds, two sassy flamingos, gorgeous jungle plants, and butterflies - hundreds and hundreds of them, representing about 50 to 60 species from around the world - are just waiting to say hello. Once you step inside, I feel confident that you'll agree with my assessment. It's pure magic.
The best things to do in Zürich West: All the fun, funky, and frugal things to do in Zürich's trendiest neighbourhood.
The Yonex Badminton Halle in Zürich West is home to cheap beer, fierce gameplay, and a FABULOUS Dolly Parton cardboard cutout mascot. In many ways, it’s a most unusual site to stumble across in the heart of Europe’s financial capital. But it’s also emblematic of Zürich West’s remarkable transformation from what was once primarily an industrial site to the fun, funky neighbourhood it is today. I’ve had the chance to explore the neighbourhood with a private guide who lives there and I can attest to what an amazing travel destination it is.
My favourite cozy things to do in Yarmouth include watching artists work by the seashore, visiting a lovely cafe, and shivering over ghost stories.
The small town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, seems purpose-built for coziness. Between the delightful views of the harbour, the fresh seafood served in local restaurants, and the area's strong cultural connections, you have a recipe for a snug visit and amazing travel memories. I had visited the area before as many people do, during a short stop after taking the ferry over from Maine. I had never spent significant time in the region until this summer when I attended a conference in Yarmouth. It was the perfect way to check out the community's homiest spots and I'm happy to share my favourite cozy things to do in Yarmouth so your visit can be equally as nice.
If you want to explore Georges Island National Historic Site, here's how you can do it on your own, with a tour, and even with a picnic! Plus: What to expect on the ferry.
Once upon a time, Halifax, Nova Scotia, wasn't just known as a lively city for music, travel, and seaside fun. It was first and foremost a military port. Halifax was on the frontlines of defending Canada from foreign attack. It's a role that thankfully never had to be enforced but for centuries the city has been soaked in military preparations. Now one of Halifax's oldest fortifications, Georges Island National Historic Site is open to the public and I was fortunate to explore it myself.
Georges Island sits in the middle of Halifax Harbour. You can see it from almost any point in the city - I had superb views from my room at the Westin Nova Scotian- but visitors were prohibited until 2020. My friends and family jumped at the chance to visit when the Parks Canada site opened during the pandemic and their reviews were GLOWING. Locals absolutely love this destination and they're extremely proud of their city's history. As they should be!
The main attraction on Georges Island is Fort Charlotte. Fortifications here date to 1750 and include an underground tunnel system. While Georges Island has never been attacked, Fort Charlotte and the surrounding area has been used for important military operations over the centuries. Two thousand French soldiers were imprisoned here during the Seven Years War and an estimated 1,660 Acadian civilians were detained during the Expulsion. During the American Revolution, privateers were held prisoner in Fort Charlotte and, during World War II, an anti-aircraft was stationed there.
Visiting today is decidedly peaceful experience and a wonderful way to get to know Halifax better. Here's what to expect and how you can explore Georges Island National Historic Site.
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