We’ve all held a conch shell to our ears and listened to the call of the ocean; however, we probably haven’t all sampled the mollusk’s meat. Conch, a medium- to large-sized sea snail, is commonly found in the warm, shallow waters of Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean.
I first sampled the chewy seafood in the Caribbean. On the near-desolate island of Anegada, part of the British Virgin Islands, I bit into the fried warmth of a golden-brown conch fritter. Skeptical at first, I enjoyed the snack and have since sampled it many times, most recently on an early-summer visit to the Bahamas, where conch is the national food.
The most commonly eaten type, the queen conch, can grow as long as 12 inches and as heavy as five pounds. All parts of a conch are edible, and it is considered a complete protein as well as a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Countless variations of conch exist — gumbos, fritters, chowders, even burgers. In the Bahamas, conch is king, enjoyed as a snack, a main dish, in salads. Conch chowder, a popular preparation, is mixed with tomatoes, potatoes, sweet peppers, onions, carrots and seasonings. Conch may turn up in your lunch salad, usually raw and marinated, with peppers and onions. Cracked conch is another favorite, battered and sautéed and served with peas and rice. Steamed, fried, curried, creamed and stewed — there’s a conch dish for you.
My favorite, the conch fritter, typically combines conch and sweet peppers, onions and tomato paste, deep-fried and served with hot sauce. What’s not to love? When I conjure the image of conch fritters, I go back to that first bite. I see a red and white checkered cardboard container with five or six of the fried delights nestled inside. If I close my eyes, I hear the ocean lapping at the shore. It’s probably the ease of life on an island I’m yearning for, and conch is most certainly a food that transports me to that ideal. Since my first taste, I’ve sampled conch as chowder and salad, the Bahamian and Caribbean seasonings bringing the meat to life.
In Grenada, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, lambi is commonly served as a curry or spicy soup. And in Puerto Rico, conch ceviche is marinated in lime juice and served with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, green peppers and onion. Of course, the Caribbean is not the only destination in the world where one can enjoy conch. Around the globe, it appears in even more incarnations. In East Asia, it is typically steamed or stir-fried.
Visit Turks and Caicos, where conch is featured in a soup known as callaloo, for the annual Conch Festival. The restaurant “Conch-e-tition” ranks the best salads, chowders and other specialties from a number of eateries. Other activities at the family-friendly event include conch blowing and quizzes. And, naturally, consuming quite a lot of delicious samples.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.