|Gunter, the chef, baker and purveyor of fine foods at Mathieu’s deli.|
Who knew that less than one week after moving into our ocean front villa at Laru Beya that we’d be going to a local party? Yep, that’s us, social butterflies.
An element of our ability to travel the world is wrapped up in our combined enjoyment of meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, ultimately making new friends.
After our first friends, Kari and Stu from Canada left Friday morning off to visit another island and then head home, we’d planned dinner Friday night with our favorite newlywed couple, Pam and Jerry, who’d invited us to join us.
Last night was their last night in Placencia and they too were heading off to another resort in Belize for the remainder of their honeymoon.
|The marina at Habanero’s/Mathieu’s.|
Early in the afternoon Pam, a long time resident of Belize and a US citizen, came dashing over to our veranda as we lounged after a long walk on the beach. Her enthusiasm along with the bounce in her step, led us to anticipate she had something exciting to tell us.
“We’re invited to a party!” she blurted.
“We?” I questioned hoping that the invitation did indeed include us.
“Yes,” she babbled, “all of us are invited to a wine and cheese party across the street at Mathieu, a quaint bakery attached to Habanero, our close and favorite Tuesday night Mexican buffet spot.
“Its at 4:00 pm. Would you like to go with us?” she questioned with eyebrows raised.
|More boats at the marina.|
Tom and I looked at each other for a moment reverting to our “old selves” thinking of a reason “why not?” But our “new selves” chimed in simultaneously,
“Yes, we’d love to! We’ll look for you there at 4:00 pm sharp!”
Pam smiled wide. We’re going to a party!
Planning to attend the party for a few hours returning to our respective villas to get ready for the evening and drive the five mile distance to De Tatch, a local eatery consisting of multiple little huts on the beach and one large thatch hut, known for its traditional Belizean food and juicy imported steaks (I prefer the local grass fed meat).
Arriving promptly at 3:55, we grabbed a rattan table for four with comfy padded chairs, seeing few people. Tom and I looked at each other surely thinking the same thing, “Where are all the guests? Not much of a party.” No wine, no cheese was in sight.
Within minutes, we found Pam and Jerry, happy to find us. We all reveled in how thoughtful promptness is, as we gathered around the table, looking around the sparse area.
In a flurry of activity, the Belizean way, the area filled with locals, expats, tourists and us, leaving us feeling excited and included in what proved to be a delightful experience as you can see from the attached photos.
|Cheese being served at the party. Ian Anderson, the cheese maker, manufacturing cheese made in Belize, is the gentleman serving cheese.|
Frosty lasses of fresh squeezed pineapple juice was poured all around. (None for me. No sugar here. No problem.) The imported red and white wine flowed freely and the food…much more than cheese.
Servers passed trays of appetizers including many locally grown fruit, hand carved imported deli meats, Bruschetta made with locally grown tomatoes piled atop breads made right there at the Matthieu Deli plus a wide array of the most amazing cheeses actually made right here in Belize at the resort, owned by Ian Anderson, featured in the photo above.
|Breads served a appetizer table. Drool worthy.|
The cheese making factory is located in Ian’s resort, Caves Branch in Cayo District. Its by far the best cheese we’ve ever eaten. The proceeds from the sales goes to an organization for the betterment of Belizean children. What an amazing operation.
Tom tried a few small slices of the amazing breads, as he has from time to time when we’ve dined out recently with no adverse effects, when eaten in moderation. None for me.
|Our newlywed friends, Pam and Jerry, as the area fills with party-goers.|
Gunter, the chef, baker and cheese purveyor, a charming salt and pepper haired man from Germany was busy making platter after platter of his delectable delights. The servers were darting in and out of the congested gatherings of party goers with platters in hand, serving generous portions.
The cheese was to die for. Immediately after tasting four or five of the cheeses, I dashed off to the counter in the deli, credit card in hand hoping to purchase a few of our favorites.
|Tom calls me a “food voyeur.” So true!|
Alas, in the Belizean way, they didn’t have any to sell. This truly was a party! It wasn’t a promotion to sell cheese. I drilled Gunther, “When can we come back and buy some of these cheese?”
“Come back tomorrow,” he proudly stated, “It should be here tomorrow.”
This morning when the maid arrived to clean our villa, (love having a maid twice a week), Tom and I walked over to the deli, hoping to find the cheeses in stock.
With limited options at the grocery store, it will be a treat to snack on a variety of cheeses as dessert which I learned to enjoy after dinner aboard the Celebrity Century cruise ship.
|Tom, wrapped up in lively animated conversation!|
Alas, most of the cheeses we loved were available and we happily spent US $72.00 for a variety. The blue cheese hadn’t arrived yet giving us a good excuse to meander to the deli (a seven minute walk) again in the next few days.
While there this morning, we chatted with Gunter and Ian, both of whom were more than willing to visit with us. Ian invited us to his cheese factory in Cayo District, an hour and a half hour drive from here. This definitely is an option for the near future when we’ll rent a vehicle for a few days.
After the party, we headed back to our villa, changed for the evening and met Pam and Jerry by the pool for a 10 minute drive to the village for dinner. Already full from cheese, I couldn’t imagine having dinner until I saw grilled conch on the menu. Since arriving in Belize I’d longed for conch but, each time it appeared on a menu it was batter fried, not for me.
Tom ordered the imported rib eye steak, seasoned well but, thin and tough. My conch, chewy as anticipated, was delicious. Seated in the large thatched hut with literally no breeze, the no-see-ums were feasting on us. Shortly after eating our long overdue dinners and many rounds of interesting conversation, we headed back to LaruBeya.
Saying goodbye to Pam and Jerry, knowing we won’t see them again, left us a little sad. All of our new friends were gone. But, today is another day. The pool will start calling us in a few hours for our hour of sun and fun. Without a doubt, in the next few days we’ll make new friends and begin once again.
This, my friends, is the intended nature of our new lives “wafting through our world wide travels with ease, joy and simplicity.”
Splurging on dining out this past week plus the cost of the cheese, put us over on our budget by $30. Thus, we’ve decided to dine in tonight and tomorrow roasting the two free range organic chickens we’d purchased on Wednesday.
Right now the two chickens are marinating in the refrigerator. With a small piece of cabbage left along with our ample supply if huge whole organic carrots, I’ll make a batch of coleslaw (sugar free, of course), roasted garlic and roasted carrots to accompany our diinner.
Homemade food sounds especially good right now. For dessert, we’ll enjoy a platter of the Belizean made cheeses. Thanks Ian. Thanks Gunter. We’ll surely see you again!
Be warm. Be well wherever you may be.