Vacations mean different things to different people. Some long for hard partying, quiet companionship, travel, museums, tours, learning, drinking, eating, and generally doing something new and different. For me, it’s a little bit of some of those things, but first and foremost, having not taken a real, dedicated vacation in over five years, what I needed most on my recent, delicious break, was rest and relaxation.
On the advice of a Swedish friend, who has visited many Club Med resorts, I semi-reluctantly embarked on a trek down to a Club Med in Turks & Caicos called “Turquoise”. My mind didn’t like the notion of “club” anything. Instead, it embraced the notion of tranquility, but I didn’t want to feel like I was on a desert island, either. And, the promise of sea breezes, turquoise-toned water, lots of tennis, reading and eating good healthy food seemed too hard to resist. I even nursed a fantasty vision of a sexy, French stud sporting white capris strolling down a sandy white beach heading towards me while wearing a dangerous, sultry smile.
What “Turquoise” ended up delivering was all of what I was seeking (well, minus the French man in capris, but there were French Canadians speaking the beautiful French language at every turn) and more. Spright mornings of tennis morphed into lazy afternoons of reading by the pool or the exquisite beach, and in-between all of these stretches of lazy time, there was time to savor the beautiful food.
The food (and the beautiful bread) is what surprised me most of all. This resort houses (at capacity) 500 guests, not counting the extensive staff. Chef de Cuisine Herve Lotz, a native of Strasbourg, France, is responsible for feeding all of them and keeping them very, very happy. No small task, some might call it Herculean even, when you consider what I learned to be the very high standards of Club Med regulars.
Every morning, he gathered his crew for a “tete a tete” for that day’s multiple meal production planning session. He was there most nights until long after the last meal had been eaten. Day in, day out, this man and his team create a spectacularly diverse menu of high quality food, which is even more amazing when you consider the relative remoteness of the island and the inherent difficulties that presents in even getting produce & products to the kitchen.
Breakfast included a hot buffet of waffles, pancakes, grits, eggs, sausage, made-to-order omelets, assorted yogurts, an entire table of fresh sliced fruit, meats, cheeses, and more. Lunch was especially impressive with beautifully plated dishes, salads, stews, soups, gorgeous fresh fish (especially the grouper), burgers, roasted meats, and a beautiful array of sweet treats, pastries and custards. Dinner was more of the same, except on an even greater scale. But, all three meals showcased what ultimately steals the food show at Club Med – the outrageously beautiful bread.
Baguettes, soft country breads, croissants, coconut bread, dark chocolate bread and the ultimate star, the one that had everyone (including me!) raving – the white chocolate bread. Soft, flaky and pliable all at once, it’s studded all over with nuggets of mellow white chocolate. The taste effect falls somewhere between bread and dessert. One bite is all it takes to fall in love with the stuff.
All bread-making at Turquoise is overseen by Boulanger Raphael-Guarionez Baldonado. Bravo to him and his entire staff! They make bread – any bread – so delicious it doesn’t even require butter. I was unable to get the recipe for the white chocolate bread from Chef Baldonado, but I called the corporate offices in Miami after I returned home. They provided the link to the You Tube video listed below which tells you exactly how to make it at home.
I would have had all of this to you sooner, but it took me a few days to get back my real-life stress legs, I was so high on relaxation after getting home. That’s what I call a vacation.
Club Med Turquoise
British West Indies
Turks & Caicos