The Tru Bahamian Food Tour is a great way to get to know The Bahamas.
I owe it to a fellow blogger who commented that the Tru Bahamian Food Tour is one of the best in Nassau. The Bites of Nassau Tour is a food tasting and a cultural walking tour...which is brilliant. How else could one better understand The Bahamas than through its food? Moreover, the heart of downtown Nassau, which is rich in hues and history, is best explored on foot.
Our tour guide Murray, highly knowledgeable and personable, led us on this educational journey, sometimes taking us back in time as he related the stories behind local delicacies and colorful edifices. Occasionally, he pointed out plants endemic to The Bahamas islands and cited their medicinal benefits. Murray made us feel like he was welcoming us to his home and even introduced us to some of the business owners.
The information overload from this 4-hour cultural and culinary immersion would be impossible to transcribe. So for this blogpost, I'm doing something different by sharing the interesting things that caught my eye during the tour.
While walking the streets of downtown Nassau, you'll witness a color explosion that will be imprinted indelibly in your memory. Come walk with me via this travelogue and I'll show you what I mean.
The designated meeting place is Christ Church Cathedral, one of the most prominent landmarks in Nassau. Our tour guide encouraged the earlybirds to take a peek inside this lovely church while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.
In front of the Pirates of Nassau Museum where we were briefed prior to the walking tour.
Stop 1: Bahamian Cookin' - authentic Bahamian cuisine
This is THE place for traditional Bahamian cuisine.
Inside Bahamian Cookin' Restaurant where our group had our first Tru Bahamian food tasting experience.
This colorful art piece was on the wall behind our table. It reminded me of a piñata because of the papier-mâché material. It was likely used to decorate a float during a Junkanoo festival.
Conch fritters: A must-try in The Bahamas. The correct pronunciation of conch is "konk" (rhymes with "honk")
Sampler plate with steamed chicken, peas n' rice, mac n' cheese, cole slaw, and plantains
Note on the Steamed Chicken: Don't be fooled by its name. It's prepared much like a stew with a tomato-based sauce. But because it's been braised, the chicken is utterly tender and packed with flavor. Murray explains that in the past, chicken here had to be steamed twice in order to make it edible. It's so good, I wanted more than just a taste. I'll have to go back there and bring my husband so he can try it too.
The bar inside Bahamian Cookin' Restaurant and Bar
Another eye-catching framed art at the bar.
See the drink on the bottom right corner of the photo above? That's the local lemonade called Switcha, prepared with key limes and sugar cane. We were treated to this drink on our way to the next stop. Refreshing and tangy, it was the perfect treat on a late afternoon.
The historic Balcony House, now a museum, is the oldest residential building in The Bahamas (about two centuries old).
Stop 2: Talking Stick Bar & Restaurant
Towne Hotel, a 46-room hotel on a three-story building, houses The Talking Stick Bar & Restaurant. This Bed & Breakfast place is bursting with visual delight.
The central attraction of the hotel lobby is Max, the adorable blue macaw.
This colorful lamp is just one of the lobby's eclectic decorative pieces.
While I sipped on Planters Punch (a classic rum punch), I feasted on all the eye candy around me
On our way up to the rooftop, we were greeted by "The Jazz Singers" -- created by local artist Antonius Roberts.
Among other things, the Talking Stick Bar & Restaurant exhibits the owner's collection of talking sticks.
This vibrant mural is impossible to miss while walking towards Heritage Village.
This way to Heritage Village. You could easily spend an entire day here.
Stop 3: Graycliff Chocolatier Discovering Graycliff is like unearthing a hidden treasure. The entire property (consisting of hotel, restaurant, humidor, churrascaria, pizzeria, wine cellar, and chocolate factory) plus the history behind it are all fascinating. Graycliff has evolved from the 1700s Pirate era, to the 1860s American Civil War, to the 1920s Prohibition era (think Al Capone), to what it is today after Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli purchased the estate in 1973.
Just one of the dining rooms at Graycliff restaurant.
The stunning pool inside the expansive Graycliff mansion.
The Graycliff Chocolatier, Chocolate Factory & Boutique, is where you can buy elegantly hand-crafted chocolates.
Our guide Murray explaining the chocolate-making process before giving us samples of the exquisite chocolate treats.
Stop 4: The Drawbridge by Graycliff - a Gelateria & Patisserie
Here is where we stopped for a gelato break.
Stop 5: Athena Cafe & Bar - This place opens up to a jewelry store and a winding staircase takes you to the restaurant on the upper level.
The main dining room of the Greek restaurant, Athena Cafe & Bar.
We sat around the bar where we sampled their tasty conch chowder (like Manhattan clam chowder) and their authentic Greek salad. My wandering eyes caught sight of the top shelf with some "interesting" items on full display. Opa! I'll let you find that for yourself when you take this tour. ;-)
The bar top at Athena Cafe where we had Conch Chowder (a la Manhattan Chowder) and authentic Greek Salad.
Stop 6: Tortuga Rum Cakes
The rum-infused cake contains only 1% alcohol. Tasting it might make you think different, though.
Our affable and gracious guide, Murray Sweeting. A tru Bahamian himself, he loves history, food, and meeting people.
I can't believe I waited so long to take this food tasting tour. All the stops, which are highly rated on TripAdvisor, are places that I've driven past so many times. These treasures were just around the corner waiting for me to find them.
If you're ever in Nassau with time to explore the town, make sure to join this engaging activity. I highly recommend it. The walking tour takes place rain or shine. But worry not, Murray comes equipped with rain ponchos should you need them. Wear comfy shoes, bring a curious appetite, and remember to keep those eyes peeled!
Joining the statue of Christopher Columbus in taking in the fantastic view of the Nassau Harbor from the Government House.
Learn more about their tours by visiting their website here: Tru Bahamian Food Tours