Five Things Going On In My Life: From The Re-Opening of the Camp to Black Cake

Good morning Sunshine!  It’s a gorgeous morning on Ambergris Caye – cool and crispy (for Belize!)…the perfect time to talk about the holidays.  But first!  Some exciting news that’s been brewing…

Great news about the camp

In the late summer, Jeff and I made a super tough decision about “the camp” – Cayo Frances Farm & Fly.   He guest blogged on Oct 12th – listing the camp for sale.

Jeff got countless emails, has spent hours on Zoom calls and…we are excited to announce the following.  THE CAMP WILL RE-OPEN in 2021!

Here is Jeff’s post from Instagram a few days ago:

Camp update!

2020 sure has put to the test the optimist in all of us (save for our dog Frannie, who is optimistic about everything, even her 4 for 10,000 batting average at catching lizards.)

That said, we have some great news to share… certainly some fodder for optimism and excitement. Pandemic be damned, the camp stands to open back up in 2021 better than ever.
We’ve cast aside the notion of selling the property… it’s too special, we love it too much. Rather, we’re working with a handful of past guests, camp enthusiasts, and industry friends to raise some much-needed capital. We’ve also cajoled out friend Matt to come down and tag team operations. Our plan for the new year is to spend a couple months doing renovations, then open back up in the late winter/early spring.

We could not be more excited to get back to our camp routine… And hope to see you all down here soon.


Christmas comes to San Pedro

Some picture snow as a critical back drop to all Christmas decorations…to the season as a whole.  But I will argue, that you do NOT need wet mittens or cold toes to get in the Christmas spirit.

I present my case with this picture that I took yesterday at Portofino Resort.

Porfofino Christmas Tree

And this one from Polo’s Golf Carts.

Golf Cart Tire Snowman

And I’ll throw in this picture from Tuto Belize – their tree last year.  Have you seen something more beautiful?

I’ll take some more pictures in town because it is a GORGEOUS DAY!

Cold Front!

We’ve had some mixed weather this past week.  Humid…prone to dark clouds…and night time rain.  Here are some pictures of the mixed bag we got yesterday.

Gorgeous at about noon.

I got drenched in a passing rain cloud at about 1pm.

And then…2:30pm?

It didn’t actually rain…passed by leaving a GORGEOUS rainbow.

Typical Belize end of “rainy season” weather.

Anyway…last night a “cold front” blew in.  The winds shifted, the humidity dipped down from the usual 90-100% to a desert-like 60% and the temperature is now in the low 70s.  It feels like heaven.  In a country where “good hair” is tough…perhaps impossible…today is a GOOD HAIR DAY!

Look at these temperatures!

Black Cake:  What’s the deal?!

Christmas in Belize mean “Black Cake” – a darkened rum soaked fruit cake that…I need to stop right here.  WHO LIKES FRUIT CAKE?  WHY IS IT EVEN A THING AT CHRISTMAS?

The internet has a bunch of information on this – it dates back to the Roman times, it was brought to the moon in 1969, Johnny Carson famously made fun of it.  “Worst Christmas gift ever”.  You can click thru this interesting article for quick data points on this odd “treat”.

It came from Britain – and became a tradition all over the world.  Mail-order fruitcakes in the US, generally soaked in brandy.

What is that green shiny thing?!?  I think I found it for sale yesterday but it clarified NOTHING.

In some of the Caribbean – Trinidad and Tobago and Belize, the tradition is Christmas Black Cake.  Trinidad and Tobago recipes generally contain cherry brandy.  And it is tradition to soak the fruits for ONE YEAR!

Belize – OF COURSE – is about the rum!  Often overproof rum – the final product is probably a fire hazard.

But what makes it so black?  It can be done by carmelizing sugar until it…almost burns.  But often, this is what’s used.  Natural caramel color.

I took a picture of this odd and VERY specialized product yesterday.  How many of these can they really sell!

Here is a recipe from Chaa Creek if you want to try it at home.

Here’s the final product – you’ll start to see them for sale around town soon.  (Photo from Maya Air)

We won’t go until we get some, we won’t go until we get some, we won’t go until we get some…

Oh yes!  A chance to use on of my favorite photos of all time!  If you ship your Black Cake with Tropic Air!  I wonder if you need a Flammable sticker too… 😉

Island Apples

When I was little, my mom used to tell us that in her Christmas stocking, she received oranges and nuts from Santa.  We would roll our eyes (Santa was so lame in the “olden days”) as we emptied out our stockings that always included a new toothbrush, Hershey Kisses and a LifeSavers book.  Always.

Stockings are as much about tradition as they are about gifts.

Here in Belize, oranges are EVERYWHERE.  Almost literally “a dime a dozen”.  But in the US, particularly during the Great Depression (no, my mom is not THAT old) oranges were scarce and a TREAT.  So they became a tradition…along with walnuts in stockings.

Here in Belize, apples and pears are the treat.  Cold weather fruit brought down in bulk for Christmas.

It’s a GREAT time of the year to get apples in Belize – they are relatively fresh…the turnover is high (less chance of a mealy apple) and a very nice change of pace.

Did you know that both apples and oranges were introduced to the Americas by Europeans?

Everyone fruit stand is flush with imported apples.  Generally the options are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith.

But this year, there seems to be lots of DELICIOUS Gala apples out there.  And we can’t stop eating them.

And instead of Black Cake maybe try an Apple Crisp.  I made a half recipe of this Ina Garten recipe for Thanksgiving and it was absolute heaven.

Enjoy the cold front Belize!  Especially you curly hair girls.

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