Last night we told you about the Flavours of Belize Cookbook.
Well, that was just a tease - the launch was held last night in grand style at the Biltmore.
Janelle Chanona was a part of the party and she has this report:
Janelle Chanona Reporting
Foodies will tell you, to truly know a place, you've got to try the local cuisines. And now, the recipes for traditional favorites, traditional local delicacies, and exotic gourmet creations can travel with you in Belize's first, locally produced, hardcover cookbook.
Tanya McNab - Publisher, Flavors of Belize, the Cookbook
"Well, we said that we would create a little cookbook. We took it the whole 9 yards, and we tried to go above and beyond to try to make as special as it could be for Belize and about Belize. As you know, we used to have Romac's Supermarket, and Romac's started a cooking show during the holidays. It used to continue through the year, and it was called the Romac's cook-house. And it's from that show that we really got our first set of recipes. Now, a lot of them have changed, and a lot of them have evolved from that first listing."
To bring the recipes to life, McNab and a crew of professional photographers invaded kitchens across the country.
"The cook book represents History; it represents culture; exotic cuisines; and everything that surrounds that. We hope that it will put Belize on the map to some certain extent, and that it will encourage some food tourism for Belize, as well as raising the bar, and trying to have product out there that is of world-class standards. We intend to sell the book in the United States, and so, we wanted to be able to compete with other books of similar nature."
Flavors of Belize is all about food, but it's not just a cookbook. It also contains snapshots of the country's stunning landscape.
Simone Rubi - Food Blogger
"A lot of people travel just for a beach, or an experience like that, but I think that the smart travelers now - because of the internet, they can access all the photographs and stuff through that way, but to really travel smartly, it's by being conscious of what you're eating there. I think that a lot of people now really look to food as the true way to experience the culture."
Laura Esquivel Frampton - Director, Belize Tourism Board
"A book like this could be an important tool for us even when we go on our international visits, to show off to our travel agents, our wholesalers, and even our consumers, an added value to visiting Belize, and that is experiencing our culture through our food."
Flavors of Belize, the Cookbook, was officially launched this week in Belize City, at the Belize Biltmore Plaza.
Chef Jennie Staine - Elvis's Kitchen
"I'm making mango shrimp ceviche and coconut curry shrimp. The coconut curry is an original recipe of mine, and it all has to do with the background of being and islander, and using a lot of coconut."
Chef Dustin Bowen - Riverside Tavern
"We're basically doing a Caribbean fusion with some American cuisines, so. An American-Caribbean fusion is what we call it. We're also coming up with new dishes every so-often. We try to use local, indigenous ingredients, make them very creative, and serve them in different ways."
Chef Rob Pronk - Chef Rob's Gourmet Cafe, Hopkins
"Belize is blessed with so many beautiful ingredients. We have the fish and lobster which comes directly from the ocean. We have our greens growing in the jungle. We have beautiful vegetables. We have beef which is excellent. We have pork - all the basic products are available, plus a lot much more. So that makes a place very nice to work."
Karen Bevans - Guest
"I tried the tuna ceviche. It was great; it reminds me of real Belizean-style, except that we normally use conch to make ceviche. So, when I tried the tuna ceviche I thought, 'Wow, it's a little bit different, but still, ceviche is ceviche for me. I love it."
Lucien Chung - Guest
"I tried various dishes. I particularly liked pan-friend snapper; that was good. I'll see if I can go back and get some more."
Jacqueline Roe - Guest
"I love cooking, and I think, for me, it's using the Belizean ingredients, using everything that is home-grown here. You don't have to rely on imported products. You can get - I have mango trees in my yard; I can pick them, and I can cook with them."
Juan-Carlos Cuellar - Guest
"Recently, I have been dabbling around in the kitchen, and Belizean cuisines have always been an interest of mine. Most certainly, I'd buy this book. Just tasting some of the flavors that are here, they bring me back home."
Katherine Taylor - Food Blogger
"I get so inspired by new uses for ingredients every time I travel, especially what we're doing here, to really immerse myself in the culture here, and to try all the different foods. And then, to have a cookbook to go home with, is totally ideal. I wish I had a cookbook for every country I visited, but I'm so excited to go home and put my own spin on what I've been trying here."
"Right now, we've launched the book only in country because we want this to be a book that Belizeans are proud of, but at the same time, it is our hope that the book is shared across the world. We hope that it's not just something that's kept at home, and it's not just for somebody who is a Belizean, or a Belizean living abroad. We hope that it is something anybody who loves food and great food; they should be able to enjoy our book."
Flavors of Belize, the Cookbook, is now available from local retailers, or via the website, www.flavorsofbelize.com .
The book is available now wherever books are sold for 78 Belize dollars.