Belizean Cooking 101: Fun, Food, History, Cocktails, You Can Cook!

Last week I was SO excited to receive this invitation.

Belizean Cooking 101.  Cooking Class!  What a FANTASTIC IDEA.

To learn how to cook some of the delicious and multi-cultural dishes of Belize.  To listen to some history of how people arrived from Africa, the Caribbean islands, from Europe, from India, from Mexico, from El Salvador and Guatemala, how their cuisines and ingredients mixed and melded with those of the native Maya peoples to make something delicious and often unexpected.  BELIZEAN FOOD!

Ceviche and tamales and conch fritters and cassava bread and stew chicken and Chinese fried chicken with ketchup and rice & beans and boil up…

But let me back up…

When I first planned a trip to Belize in 2006, I never even thought of the food.  I was thinking beach and sun and cocktails…not culture.

I fell in love with Ambergris Caye, moved here the very next year and realized quickly that Belize has a very distinct and special situation.  A true melting pot of people from all over the world.  And the food reflects that.

Here is “my take” on Belizean cuisine in 2016.  And I’ve learned so much since – mostly by eating, traveling and asking a million questions.  And eating.

But cooking class!  Run by the folks who bring us the AWESOME Belize Food Tours (if you haven’t been – you MUST).

They do things with such style and great attention to detail.  Belizeans showcasing Belizean food – sharing their passion and love and knowledge.

Let me show you the pictures of their new studio right on Front Street San Pedro. And their very first cooking class.  (All pics in this post taken during the class)   For ALL the details, see their website so you too can Eat Like A Local.

We sat down around the beautiful counter and were offered fresh watermelon, ginger lime juice…orange juice, beer, panty rippers, water…

Lovely Miss Fara brings her Garifuna knowledge from Southern Belize – and a bit of Punta dancing.

We donned the CUTEST aprons…

Mine was a bit dirty after all the cooking we did.  A handful of media reps and bloggers.  This lesson was as much about taking photos as it was about cooking and eating.

We started with dessert – something from the south of Belize – a sweet potato pound.

Making fresh coconut milk – which is a staple in most Belizean cultures but especially in the south.  It is what makes coconut rice and rice & beans so moist and delicious.


Once you taste this homemade stuff, you will never want to use the can or powder again.  SO GOOD.You are hands on through out the whole class.  And tasting EVERYTHING.  From the red recado spice that flavors stew chicken, panades and more to the masa you are going to knead, season and press to make the salbutes.

My own personal masa ball with salt, recado and baking powder.

The results were delicious – and brought us all over the country.

Just adding sliced onion to lime and orange juice with some oregano, black pepper and salt makes a sauce/pickle that you’ll want to eat with EVERYTHING.

All of us with our own cutting boards…

I am so excited about this venture.  I honestly can not recommend it enough.  These guys really know what makes Belize special and they are so excited to share it with you.

I made this panade.  And I could do it again at home.  SERIOUSLY!

Cooking, lots of eating and drinking (including a rum tasting for those who want to taste ALL the native rums of Belize), music, laughing…just fun.

This cracks me up on this coconut rum.  This curvy little bottle is called “Fluffy Gial”.

Fluffy:  huggable…plump.

And BONUS!  They are selling the AMAZING shirts from IDSeven.  If you haven’t ordered your “YOU HAD ME AT FRY JACKS” shirt yet…you can pick one up at your cooking class.

AND…if you were thinking “What is a sweet potato pound?”  It’s a baked pudding of sorts.  With lots of fresh grated ginger and nutmeg.  Warm from the over at the end of the class…with a dollop of (perhaps not so traditional) fresh whipped cream?  It’s…DELICIOUS.

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