Experiencing Haitian cuisine and culture with Mennen’m La Tours: Gabby in Haiti

 

In my Previous Post, you’ve learned about Gabby a designer from New York on a culinary journey, who I’ve had the pleasure to welcome to my home country Haiti for Mennen’m La Tour.The journey first started at Bo Village where Gabby received a typical Haitian hat with a tiny Barbancourt rum bottle and a little Haitian souvenir. We served her some local fruits, then it was time to leave around 3PM to pick up two other girls who would be traveling with her.

The ride to the Nippes department was longer than usual as there was a lot of traffic in the capital city on that day but at 8:30 PM the girls finally arrived at Dine’s house, our host for the trip. They were welcomed with some good food: Fried plantains, Salad, rice and fried beef croquettes. It did not take long for everybody to lay down and rest as we were all tired from the long ride.

The next day, as the rooster sang, we all woke up refreshed and energized for breakfast.

First, they all went to the river for the morning bath. The fresh and cold water was all it took to get them excited about their motorbike ride to the waterfall planned after breakfast.

The meal was served by the river on green banana leaves. Fresh fruits, bread, eggs, cheese… they were ready for a feast.

The ladies enjoyed their meal as Simone, our cook, thought them how to prepare coffee the haitian way. It was an interesting learning experience for all of them as they watched the fresh coffee powder melt as the hot water fell in the grèp (Haitian creole way of saying Grep) used to strain the coffee.
It was soon time to leave on the back of motorcycles to the Saut du Baril waterfall.

Sitting behind the driver, the ladies enjoyed the view: Miles of water just flowing between mountains while the air blew on their faces and the road got sometimes bumpy.

At the waterfall, they enjoyed fresh mangoes while bathing in the magical waters.

On their way back, they stopped at Fabienne’s house, a local of the area who often prepares fresh coffee for our hikers. The ladies got to ask Fabienne’s mom  some questions and take pictures of the modest and cozy house. Before jumping on the motorbikes to go back to Dine’s house, they could not resist the smell of hot, street patties, called pat kòde. This patty filled with salt cod chicken, a boiled egg, hot dogs and sauce was just what they needed after challenging their bodies to reach the waterfall.

At Dine’s some pasta with  was waiting for them! The non stop eating had definitely started at this point. Some labapen (chestnuts) was also served as well as some kremas, a Haitian drink.

After the feast, Gabby and Wilmar jumped on a car with the driver to go get the masseuse. It was a perfect excuse for them to take pictures of the view of the Port of Miragoane, which they had missed the day before because of the darkness.

A massage was waiting for them by the river. The ladies were in heaven. What better way to relax the muscles after such a busy day.

As the night settled in, It was time for a candle light diner animated by a live Twoubadou band.

 

The next morning, after breakfast, a surprise was waiting for the ladies. By the river, Simone, our cook was waiting for them for a Beny, the traditional Haitian bath given with leaves and sour oranges soaked in hot or warm salty water. The leaves that often have different therapeutic properties are used to treat inflammation, soreness, muscle stiffness and stress. In the Haitian tradition, the bath is given by someone who rubs the leaves on your body, specially in the places where you feel pain and stiffness. The goal is to feel relaxed and good. The ladies were so fascinated by this experience and said it was nothing like what they had experienced before. No need to say I was delighted to introduce them to this tradition.

It was then the start of a fun day where the ladies got the participate in a Haitian cooking class! A table was set up in the garden for the ladies to cut, mash and shred. All the tolls were there waiting for them to have fun with them. On the menu: Kalalou (Okra), Fried plantains and sweet potatoes, Accra (typical Haitian appetizer made with fried malanga) and some more salad. The ladies had so much fun as they tested their skills in the garden before following Simone to the kitchen and frying and filming.

On Monday morning, it was time for a road trip to Grand Goave (cloder to the capital) where they would take the boat for a day at Balanier beach, Haiti’s little paradise!

Hope you enjoyed reading this post as I tried to fit everything in just a few words and pictures. What did you think of their journey? Panning on visiting Haiti soon? Comment below for the chance of winning a free trip with Mennen’m La Tours.

Until next time for more adventures!

xoxo

A travel lover

 

 

Taking a New Yorker around Port-au-Prince city: Explore Haiti with me. Day 1

Last week, I got the pleasure to welcome Gabby to Haiti. Gabby is a designer I met in New York last year before flying to Vietnam! Not only is she one of the most stylish people I have met but she is also on a journey to be become a chef! I am honestly not sure she can get cooler than this. At a little starbucks cafe, my friend Shelcy, who is a Fashion vlogger set up the meeting. I remember our day being so busy that day as we had so much to do and so little time before the flight. But Shelcy insisted “You HAVE to meet Gabby”. Because I work in cultural and social tourism in Haiti, and that Gabby was just starting a cultural project where she wanted to gather people around food and history, Shelcy figured we could absolutely do a collab. It did not take long for Gabby and I to connected. It was a quick, natural, meant to be moment where we both felt like we had known each other for the longest time. I learned more about her passion for culinary arts and she learned more about the cultural tours I organize in Haiti. We exchanged numbers with the usual “We have to see each other again!!!”but you never really know if you’ll really see someone again as you each go your own way.

A few weeks ago, as I was posting some pictures of my trip to Jacmel on my Instagram travel page, Gabby reached out to me saying how amazing my pictures of Haiti looked. Then she asked if she needed any shots before flying. I guess I did not know how serious she was until she sent me her flight itinerary! And this was the start of a journey filled with adventures, discoveries, food, nature and laughter on this island of mine. I got to take her on a tour with my company and I will tell you all about this excursion. But for now, here is what we did on our first day!

First stop was Place Saint Pierre where we probably bought every souvenir we probably could! Gabby got a chance to meet some Haitian artists and learn more about our artisanat. From the paintings, the bags made with coconuts, the sandals, the jewelry, Gabby was in awe, not able to say No to any vendor. There was so much to see that even I had to buy something!

Next stop was the fruit market

The colors were so vibrant we knew everything had to be healthy! As a foodie, Gabby was in heaven and wanted to learn more about our fruits and veggies and ways to eat them. She was in heaven when we included a Haitian cooking class in the tour activities!

It was then time for a trip to the mountains …

Gabby was fascinated by Haiti’s majestic scenes. As the air got cooler, we rolled the windows down to feel the wind and enjoy the views. We stopped for some street food, then the magic began as we discovered an abandoned looking alley. There was nothing pretty about it but it was attractive. Its weird, how something so ugly can also be so beautiful but only to certain people’s eyes. I guess these are the ones God created with an artsy spirit. So we started walking in that alley and stopped in front on colorful walls with paint falling off. There was dirt on the floor and it was hard to imagine people lived there. But as we kept walking, a delicious smell started floating in the air. I saw a little window on an orange little house. “Boulanjri kay ti machann”. I saw 3 men taking bread out of an old oven. Man it smelled gooood. So we bought bread. 6 pieces for 20 gourdes,  not even 50 US cents. And it was absolutely amazing. I love falling deeper in love with Haïti.

We then stopped at a fort called fort Jacques for some histotry and pictures. Unfortunately it was closed for renovations but Gabby got to catch some nice views.

The day was full of activities but oh so worth it!

I cannot wait to share what we did on tour!

Until next time

XOXO

A travel lo lover.

Experiencing the Art Walk in Reno,Nevada

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I am a big fan of mural art. For some reason, I don’t really enjoy museums. I’ve always had this crazy idea that art can’t be contained between walls, that it needs to be a part of our every day life, incorporated in things we see and touch, to remind us that life itself should be filled with wonder! Here in Reno  Nevada, they are strong advocates of everything artsy. I think this is one of the top reasons I love the city so much. Continue reading “Experiencing the Art Walk in Reno,Nevada”

My journey hiking from Ti Muska to Seguin

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The past week-end was full of adventures! And you know I never say No to adventures.

We hiked 4 hours and a half through the mountains! Leaving Ti Muska, we started walking and little did we know, it would be so hard but all worth it! We saw beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, little wood houses and had good conversations. It rained on the way. So going through the mud, we kept walking, got wet, taking 10 minutes breaks after each hour. It seemed like we would never make it.

The beginning was rough! But the scenery was magical. The red dirt roads created a beautiful contrast with the greenness of the mountains. The air was cool and the sunlight, appearing from time to time kept us warm. The noises of the mountains kept us company. As we admired the majestic views, we realized that the world, the real world belonged to the crazies. Continue reading “My journey hiking from Ti Muska to Seguin”

Let’s not lose our community spirit

Hi guys! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that you welcomed the New Year with a positive mind and open arms! I wish you a lot of patience for all of your plans and projects and I wish that this year, you may be open to the wonderful things that life has to offer even if they are different from what you had expected.

Let’s face it, we all need to disconnect sometimes. Whether it is to empty our minds or simply learn something new, it is important to getaway and make our agendas a little lighter for a few days. Last week, I spent two days in Artibonite, Haiti’s main rice-growing area. A part of my job is to insure the well-being of volunteers working on some projects here in Haiti and last week Continue reading “Let’s not lose our community spirit”

Fall in Montréal

As a picture lover, I have to say that fall was my favourite season to take pictures in Montréal. While summer is my all times favourite time of the year, I have to say that Fall is the most beautiful from a behind the camera perspective. As much as I am happy to be living in the caribbean again, I must admit that during the fall season, I wanted to jump on a plane and go to Montreal for a few days just to capture the colours.  Continue reading “Fall in Montréal”

6 things I’ve learned from my family vacations

DSC_1658In 2011, I had reached the age where most teenagers don’t want to go on family vacations. They rather go away with friends so they can party their lives away or stay with their boy-friend/girlfriend most of the family don’t know about. I was 17 years old. However, something made my reality slightly different. I was already living away from home in my own apartment! Yes you read it right. I was not legal yet when I had to put my big girl pants on and be responsible for my actions IN A COUNTRY AWAY FROM HOME. So instead of going away for summer, I actually went back home! I am so grateful for this turn my life took at that period. I was dealing with many things back then like sickness, heart-ache and more but that summer…turned out to be the best summer of my life. I found healing, love and peace. But most importantly, I’ve learned to value family. Since my family and I used to go away during summer when I was younger, my father decided that since I was actually coming home for summer now, we should discover our beautiful island…Haïti. Little did I know, this would turn out to be the best decision ever. This is when I started to truly discover what it means to go on a family trip. Since then, the tradition lives on! Every summer, we go on at least 1 trip together! The YAYs of going away in family are so great that they make you forget about the NAYs in the blank of an eye. Continue reading “6 things I’ve learned from my family vacations”

Balanier : Haïti’s little paradise

Before going to the core of the subject I want to clarify something. The place everybody thought was called Bananier is actually called Balanier ! Yes I know… I was surprised too. Now whether you are a local, an expat or simply a tourist visiting Haïti, I am sure you are looking for an exotic, natural experience. Am I right or am I right? First of all I am excited at the idea tat my blog can help you an any way in your research process. Hopefully, you will have a fun time thanks to my advices.

Here is the guide to a one of a kind experience: Continue reading “Balanier : Haïti’s little paradise”

A day at Lozandye : Experience Haïti

You might remember my post A corner of paradise .  If not, I advise you go check it out. This little peace of heaven stayed stuck in my memory. As a beach lover, I spend a lot of time seeking for white sand and clear waters where I can forget about responsibilities and simply float. Maybe I should say that the beach is where I actually fulfill my biggest responsibility “Enjoy this life to the fullest”

Continue reading “A day at Lozandye : Experience Haïti”