By Clarissa Buch
A new year equals more vacation days! As we start 2018, challenge yourself with finding new and exciting ways to spend your days off. According to a recent survey by Booking.com, an increased number of travelers are in search of new food and drink experiences to try in 2018. If this sounds like you, say no more!
Warm-weather destinations, like Mexico and Jamaica, are centered around beaches, water sports, and lots of unique local cuisine. Even if you're staying in an all-inclusive resort, which typically offers a range of international foods, there are still ways to get a taste of some local flavor.
During your next Caribbean vacation, use this list of five must-try items to savor, from Jamaican patties and jerk chicken, to Mexican wine, Jamaican beer, and a medley of authentic desserts and treats.
Sweet Desserts. The best way to get acquainted with regions across the Caribbean and Mexico is to savor some of their most distinct flavor and texture combinations. With Antonio Bachour at the helm of Palace Resorts’ pastry program, cuisine at these all-inclusive properties in Mexico and Jamaica includes a selection of artistically-driven gourmet desserts.
Then we have Churros, one of the most popular Mexican sweets, in which hand-held pieces of dough are deep-fried and smothered in sugar and cinnamon. And why not pair it with a cup of Mayan Coffee? Comparable to Irish coffee, Mayan coffee is traditionally made by blending an exotic liqueur called Xtabentún with a dark java brew. But if you're in Jamaica, try a gizzada, filled with a spiced and sweetened coconut cream.
Patties and Jerk Chicken. When in Ocho Rios, venture onto Main Street in the center of town to try a Jamaican Patty. It's one of the most popular street foods and features a flaky shell and a warm meaty center. If you're still hungry, opt for jerk chicken. It can be found in just about every restaurant, including Ocho Rios Jerk Centre.
Mexican Wine. Many are surprised to find out that Mexico is home to the longest-running winery in all of the Americas, Casa Madero in Valle de Parras, which has produced hundreds of varietals since 1597. And interestingly, about 95 percent of the wine produced in Mexico is consumed within its borders. During dinner, scan the menu for well-known offerings like Duetto, Casa Grande Selección Barricas or Gran Ricardo, priced between $100 and $150.
Jamaican Beer. Start with Red Stripe, the king of Jamaican brews with varieties like Red Stripe Light, Red Stripe Bold, and two flavored Red Stripe variants, Ginger and Apple. It's brewed in Kingston at the Desnoes & Geddes brewery, which also produces other beers like Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. Jamaica is one of the few places in the world that locally brews Ireland’s most famous export, using imported Irish wort with a few home-grown ingredients. Dragon Stout is Jamaica's oldest beer and is often described as a slightly sweeter version of Guinness. Heineken, also brewed in Kingston, is sometimes referred to as a Jamaican beer thanks to its local production and popularity on the island. At many high-end resorts, like Moon Palace Jamaica in Ocho Rios, favored options include Red Stripe and Heineken.
Certified Angus Beef. What is it about traveling that gives vacationers an insatiable hankering for a taste of home? It happens to all of us. Luckily, if you're a guest at Palace Resorts, you've got nothing to worry about. When a craving strikes, track down some Certified Angus Beef (CAB). Try a prime cut of CAB steak or a high-quality juicy burger.