Farm to table eating - Trini style
Just a few hundred feet from the historical Lopinot home lies an unprecedented richness of food, flora and fauna. Mariposa Gardens is a way to connect with the natural environment and enjoy some of the unique flavours that only the Caribbean can produce.
This cafe/bed and breakfast is surrounded by vibrant topical plants and has a balcony that overlooks beautiful curated gardens. You can enjoy your meal virtually surrounded by several species of hummingbirds that are attracted to the many bird feeders on the picturesque verandah. Almost 2/3 of all of the island’s varieties can be seen right there on the verandah. They were so engrossed in their feeding frenzy that humans are virtually ignored. I was able to get quite close to them and observe their delicate bodies dancing and darting about. I’m not an ornithologist, so I could only appreciate the fantastic variety of hues — rich emerald greens, deep blues and rustic browns. Their dances were so captivating that it almost distracted me from my meal. Speak of which…
The family which owns the cafe and estate leverages the rich natural resources of the valley to produce culinary jazz
The food there is fantastic! A true farm to table experience. The family which owns the cafe and estate leverages the rich natural resources of the valley to produce culinary jazz. Almost everything comes from the estate or surrounding farms — tilapia from their ponds, yard fowls (think free range organic chicken), plantain, fruits and of course cocoa just to name a few.
In an effort to promote the quality of the internationally famous Trinitario cocoa beans, Mariposa creates unexpected but delicious food combinations. We tried the pumpkin soup infused with cocoa, plantain fritters with five finger (starfruit) chutney and a side of thick, rich chocolate sauce. Drinks consisted of several fruit fusions, pommecythere (golden apple) and passion fruit for Joanne, sorrel and lemon with soursop leaf for me. For dessert — cocoa infused ponche a creme bread pudding. But they tantalised us with other offerings such as cocoa rice, cocoa peas, cocoa pork, pomerac (otaheite) or avocado (!) ice-cream and a host of things I couldn’t remember. It all changes based on what is currently available (and therefore fresh!). We intend to eventually try them all.
Mariposa also does tours. There is a “bean to bar” tour that gives you a tour of the facility showing how the cocoa is made. As usual there are tastings and you get a chance to purchase some of the rich chocolate bars which range from 50,70,80 and 90% in darkness. They also facilitate tours of some of the surrounding cave formations for those who really want to get adventurous. Mariposa is a definite must see. I recommend you make reservations in advance so you get to at the very least experience their awesome verandah. You can get more info from their website right here. This is a definite ‘must do’ in my opinion, whether you live here or are just on holiday. It’s become one of my little retreats and I’m sure it will be yours too.