Caribbean Cuisine 101

We understand that with dishes like goat and conch (a curious sea snail that lives in a deceptively beautiful shell), diving into the wonders of Caribbean cuisine can be a bit off-putting to the less adventurous. Enter Fat Virgin’s Café in Virgin Gorda’s astoundingly beautiful North Sound, where owner Esther Wheatley has prepared a Caribbean food primer, if you will.

Conch is harvested from nearby Anegada and cleaned painstakingly by hand, then rolled into the most tender conch fritters you could ever imagine. And the roti, oh, the roti! This curried stew of chicken or goat (bones removed for the wary), or vegetables, wrapped in a perfectly soft and flaky roti skin will make a Caribbean food lover out of you with the first bite.

“We believe in flavor,” Esther says of Fat Virgin’s Café’s menu. “The flavors must explode in your mouth; the spice, heat, sweetness, calypso of it all.”

This woman knows what she’s talking about. A BVI native herself, Esther makes a conscious effort to keep the cuisine authentic and the menu ideas fresh by hiring people from throughout the Caribbean (when we visited, there were women from Trinidad, Grenada and Guyana rounding out the staff).

Even if you can’t be tempted to try the local food, Fat Virgin’s Café pleases with its burgers, made from only the highest quality Angus beef, and its sauces and dressings, all made in-house.

The food is to die for, and the open-air setting is casual and beautiful: Fat Virgin’s partially covered picnic tables are a stone’s throw (literally) from the waters of the North Sound on the stunning Biras Creek Resort property. And another thing that makes Esther so fabulous? She’s a huge Maco fan!

  • If you’re less of a dive-right-in type and more of a testing-the-waters type, make your foray into Caribbean cuisine with Fat Virgin’s starters: phulori, which are Caribbean split pea fritters, are mild and pleasant; and the cod fritters, made with Caribbean mainstay salt fish, give you a taste of this region’s flavor without being overpowering.  
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