Do you remember watching the old black and white movies with the British enjoying their tea on shaded verandas over looking the sea? This week we had a chance to experience this bygone era at a magical place called The Tryall Club.
Steve and I bid on a Jamaican vacation at a silent auction last spring. We had enjoyed the resorts of Jamaica but never a place like this. The pampering began the moment our flight landed. As we headed toward immigration I spotted a sign with our name on it. This was Oliver, who walked us through immigration, customs and handed us off to our driver with such ease and grace I wondered if we had boarded the wrong plane.
Upon arranging transportation to the villa, we were given the opportunity to stop for groceries. Of course, I jumped at the chance to experience a Jamaican grocery store so our guide, Steve, whisked us into this new world, navigating us through the departments, monitoring both Steve and I as we wondered around like fascinated children.
Arriving at the resort we were greeted by Rosemarie, with tea and a tour of Poinciana, our Two Bedroom Villa. Now, I knew the resort provided turndown service, the preparation of breakfast and lunch if required, etc. but I had no idea of the extent of it. Each Villa at the resort employs a professional staff to cater to every need. As you know, I love to be in the kitchen and it was such a treat to work with Lancel, our chef for the week. Upon arrival Lancel, Rosemarie and I outlined a meal plan, then they escorted me on a tour of the resort commissary, setting up our accounts.
The pace at The Tryall Club is slow and relaxing, it’s truly an amazing experience. We could happily sit on our poolside terrace, enjoying gourmet meals with a stunning view of the property, beaches and the twinkling lights of Montego Bay in the distance or partake in the many activities that were offered. We did wander up to the Club House for the Manager’s Cocktail Party where we met the guests for the week. The day before we arrived, there was a wedding on the property so we observed some of the festivities. We met the groom, who later stopped by with his chef to have us taste Ackee with Lox, a twist on one of the Jamaican national dishes. We watched the wedding guests depart over the week to realize we had the beaches, main pool and pretty much the resort to ourselves since this is the off-season.
After a day or so I was craving exercise so I made my way to the tennis courts for a lesson. Tennis is an experience here. Karen (our friend who joined us mid week) and I wandered down to the courts. When you play tennis at Tryall it’s reminiscent of Wimbledon, you must wear something white. They sent us home to change out of out of our cute colored outfits. We managed to scrounge up enough white to make the cut, but our white tennis wardrobe was limited. Rosemarie was our angel, laundering our outfits and setting them out for us each morning so we could comply with the rules. Now we know, bring white to play tennis.
We didn’t make it to the golf course but I understand it is one of the Caribbean’s finest. Next time we’ll make plans for that.
We enjoyed a tour of the property and some of the villas took a Catamaran tour of Montego Bay, but most of our time was spent enjoying our pool or the beach. We ventured out to experience Jerk Chicken at a roadside café, dined at a beachfront restaurant, and danced at Reggae Night at the resort, but Lancel and the staff were our guides to the local cuisine. We enjoyed local seafood, his exquisite version of Jerk Chicken, the traditional Ackee and Salt Fish, and much, much more in the comfort of our Villa.
On our last evening the staff treated us to a formal dinner for a send off that we will never forget.
As I write this, I’m huddled up with my coffee and it is cold here. I’m missing our friends who took such great care of us. As we said our goodbyes, they told us to hurry back as we were part of the family now. That’s a nice warm glow we’ll carry throughout the winter.
I had promised to share the recipe for Lancel’s Jerk Chicken but I realized I couldn’t do it justice. There is a certain flavor that the Pimento Wood fire and Jamaican Spices provide that will elude me until our next visit. Last night we settled for the Shrimp in Coconut Cream from the local beach restaurant and reminisced about the Jamaican hospitality we enjoyed less that 24 hours ago. It’s a wonderful way to bring a bit of the Jamaican sun into your weeknight dinner.
- 1 lb large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
- ½ Cup Onions, Chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1 Tablespoon of Curry Powder, plus more to taste.
- 1 - 2 teaspoons of Sugar
- 1 Cup Coconut Milk/Cream
- 1 teaspoon Thyme Leaves, fresh or ¼ Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- I/2 - 1 Habanero Chili, Seeded and Minced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Garnish with Chopped Parsley and Scallions
- 4 Cups of Cooked Rice for serving
- Gently heat the Oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until transparent 5 - 7 minutes. Add the Garlic, Paprika, Curry and 1 teaspoon of the Sugar. Sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 or 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the Coconut Milk/Cream, Thyme, and chili. Cook on low heat stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste for seasoning adding salt, pepper, additional sugar or other seasoning as needed.
- Add the shrimp, stirring constantly until they are pink, curled and cooked all the way through, 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the shrimp and sauce set for 5 minutes.
- Place 1 Cup of rice in the bottom of four heated bowls, then spoon the shrimp and sauce over the rice.
- Garnish with Parsley and Scallions and serve.