TURKS & CAICOS: THE QUEST FOR CONCH AND OTHER TREASURES
The Scotts have haggis, the Italians have pasta, the Hungarians have goulash, but if there was ever a country with a defined national food, it is the Turks & Caicos and their beloved conch. This strange looking meat comes from a mollusk, a glorified sea snail really, but it more than just food. Conch is ingrained in the culture and the history of this island nation. It is so significant that it is proudly displayed on this nation’s national flag and coat of arms. Turks & Caicos is crazy for, and crazy about conch.
Possessing a texture comparable to escargot or calamari, conch is the kind of dish that some people might originally shy away from when looking at a menu. Despite this, conch is trending worldwide, and is showing up on plates throughout the globe – with no small thanks to the Turks & Caicos Islands’ expanding tourism industry.
This food is unique. Its look and even its name provoke conversation around the table wherever it is served. Visitors of the small nation commonly ask, “how do you pronounce ‘conch’?” The kind people of the Turks & Caicos Islands are quick to help with the pronunciation, often followed with an invitation into the kitchen to learn more. In case you were wondering, it is pronounced “konk”.
Every restaurant in Turks & Caicos serves conch. It is prepared in a myriad of ways; it is not uncommon to come across a minimum of five or ten options on any menu. Options often include conch chowder, conch fritters and cracked conch just to name a few. Personally, my new-found favorite is “conch ceviche” – a simple and easy dish to make. First, get the freshest conch you can, then thinly slice the meat into strips – and I mean really thin. Then, mix fresh lime juice with peeled ginger to create a marinade and marinate the conch in this mixture for about an hour. Meanwhile, slice a crisp cucumber (cross-cut) with the skin on, and soak the cucumber slices in red wine vinegar for 10 minutes. Strain & dry the cucumber. Place one or two slices of the conch on a cucumber slice. Add a splash of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, a red chili flake and presto; conch ceviche.
Some say conch is a gift from Mother Nature to feed, to heal and to share her beauty. Though quite rare, queen conch can sometimes produce a lustrous treasure that is not edible – a pink pearl. Fisherman take great care in cleaning the conch however, so don’t expect to find a pink pearl in your conch chowder. The only treasure you should expect to find in your bowl is a tasty treat.
At Tip of The Tail Villa, the Turks & Caicos newest luxury rental villa, special treasures can be found. This luxury rental villa sits on a slice of prime Providenciales property at the end of the Turtle Tail Peninsula on the beautiful south coast. Here the turquoise waters of the Caicos banks flow past the villa, through a sparkling lagoon, and into the mangroves and beyond. At Tip of The Tail Villa, breathtaking waters and sky views are everywhere. This villa is paradise and is special in so many ways.
The Tip of the Tail Villa is the perfect rental villa for your next vacation. This villa offers guests luxury amenities without being pretentious. The villa is designed for comfortable indoor / outdoor living, and often exceeds expectations. With more than 10,000 square feet of living space, there is enough room to comfortably sleep 16. This private villa resembles a mini resort, and includes 5 bedrooms, a private beach, glass walled pool, fire pit, beach bar, outdoor showers, paddle boards, kayaks and even a live-in butler.
For centuries fishermen plied the waters around the tip of the tail peninsula. Their quest was the conch. They moored their rustic wood skiffs on the very shore that is now the #1 rental villa in the Turks & Caicos Islands. This land is where they cleaned the conch, discarding their shells in piles. Here, they sometimes camped, cooked over coals and told stories of the day.
The simple treasure these fishermen hunted was food, so one can only imagine the fervor if rough, calloused hands had discovered a treasured pink pearl while cleaning a conch. Life back then was slower and different than today. The daily task was to feed the family. Food, family and shelter were main priorities, and conch sometimes meant survival.
Today this land and these waters are used by people from around the world – not for survival, but for enjoyment, adventure and relaxation. One can paddle board the gin-clear waters of the lagoon, explore the wonders of the mangroves in a kayak or welcome the day with yoga on the deck at sunrise. These are some of the new activities here in paradise.
You will be captivated by Tip of The Tail Villa from the moment you arrive. During your stay with us, stand on our shore and take a moment to reflect on your life and those of the people of the past. Close your eyes, feel the warmth of the sun and listen to the sounds of the sea as it travels past this paradise. Sometimes the spirit of the Queen conch blesses and provides yet another treasure. You just might visualize ancient fishermen walking barefoot through the mangroves as they make the five-mile trek back to the north coast with heavy burlaps sacks balanced on their heads, laden with treasured conch meat and maybe a precious pink pearl in a pocket.
Does Tip of The Tail hold precious treasures? Yes. Is that treasure a pink pearl mistakenly discarded by fishermen and buried beneath our beach? Perhaps.
We invite you to take a break from your regular life quest, rent this luxury villa and bring those 15 people that are most important to you. We believe that you will discover more than just a great vacation destination and delicious food with a strange name.
Here at Tip of The Tail Villa you can discover that special kind of treasure that is only found when you spend time with those you love.