Nicole’s Table, A Taste Of Antigua And The Caribbean

View From Nicole's Table, Antigua

Wanting to experience the Caribbean cuisine of Antigua during a cruise port of call, my husband and I joined a small, hands on cooking class called Nichole’s Table. Over four hours, we created a delicious lunch that we later enjoyed on the veranda of the chef’s home overlooking St. John’s Harbor.

When traveling, I love learning about the culture and flavors of a destination by experiencing its food. Whether it is roaming food markets, tasting local dishes in a restaurant or learning recipes in a cooking class, I end up having a memorable and tasty visit. On a recent two week Caribbean cruise on the Seven Seas Splendor, one of our ports of call was St. John’s, Antigua. After docking and being greeted with music from a local steel drum band, most passengers headed off on tours of the island or to one of the island’s white sand beaches to enjoy the turquoise water and perhaps try a fruity rum punch.

My husband and I opted to join a small group of food enthusiasts to take part in a culinary tour. We had been on a wait list for almost a year to attend a tour called Nicole’s Table, A Taste Of Antigua And The Caribbean, a four hour cooking class in the lovely home of Chef Nicole Arthurton Dennis and her husband Adam.

A short taxi ride from the cruise pier brought us up to their beautiful hill top home overlooking St. John’s Harbor and the Caribbean Sea. On a clear day, you are able to see the islands of Montserrat, Nevis and St. Kitts off in the distance. We were graciously welcomed into their Caribbean style home which is surrounded by lovely tropical gardens. In keeping with island style, high ceilings and doors that open to Caribbean breezes coming from the huge veranda that runs the length of their house, keeps their home cool. Outside, the veranda offers stunning views and is filled with pretty tropical potted plants, colorful couches and a long custom made wooden table where we would later enjoy the lunch that we participated in cooking.

Before beginning our class, Nicole told us that she started her cooking career working in her parent’s restaurant in Montserrat when she was a young girl. Later she worked for six years as a private chef on the exclusive island resort of Jumby Bay before she began offering cooking classes in her home.

She chatted about the different foods and ingredients of Antigua, including the black pineapples and sweet bananas grown on the island, as we did simple tasks, chopping and dicing ingredients, preparing the different dishes we would be having for our lunch. Afterwards, the large meal was served family style, spread out across the long table on the veranda. We all sat down together, sipping rum punch and chatting over the delicious Caribbean dishes we had learned to make. At the end of our class, recipes in hand, our taxi driver returned and took us back to our waiting ship.

For our three course lunch, we prepared green plantain chips and spicy buffalo shrimp with garlic aioli for appetizers, blackened fish tacos with a spicy slaw, tostones, and red beans and rice for our main course and ended with coconut custard tarts.

People have asked which of the ten islands we visited was our favorite and while they all had their similarities and differences, I think I will remember Antiqua as being the island where I had the most fun. If you are a foodie like myself and will be visiting Antiqua, I believe that you would enjoy taking one of the several different cooking classes offered at Nicole’s Table. Nicole is an excellent cook who willingly shares her tips, shortcuts and the secrets she has learned about cooking simple yet delicious Caribbean food. You will leave St. John’s, Antigua, having had not only a good time and a delicious meal but with simple island recipes that you can enjoy once you return to your home.

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90 thoughts on “Nicole’s Table, A Taste Of Antigua And The Caribbean

    1. Hi David, Nicole’s cooking class was lots of fun and the location was stunning. It was so nice that she welcomed us into her home, it was the first time she had resumed holding a cooking class since the start of Covid.

    1. Hi Mad Dog, the day couldn’t have been nicer. A fun class, enjoying good food on the veranda with newly made friends and going away with new recipes to prepare at home. It was the most enjoyable tour we had on our cruise.

    1. Hi Angie, It was a wonderful experience. We were so happy when we cleared the waiting list once Nicole started holding cooking classes again.

    1. I agree with you Jenna, about food, we’ve been known to travel many a mile to experience a good meal. The cooking class was a wonderful experience, actually the best tour of the 10 ports we stopped at during our 14 day cruise.

    1. Hi Bernadette, it really was a wonderful experience. Yes, we did get the recipes. The coconut custard tart was delicious…perhaps I should do a post on it and share the recipe.

    1. Hi Jovina, We couldn’t have picked a lovelier spot to visit for a cooking class. Nicole and Adam’s home island home has the most wonderful view and beautiful tropical landscaping.

    1. Hi Liz, Our cruise couldn’t have been better. We didn’t think we would be taking the cooking class because Nicole had stopped doing them when Covid was at its worst. We were thrilled to get a notice from Regent a week before we sailed that she had started her cooking lessons once more. 😊 It was so much fun!

  1. Best excursion ever! One of the best things about travel is the eating. πŸ™‚ This sounds like so much fun. Great pictures! Thanks.

    1. I totally agree with you John, enjoying new foods while traveling is one of the best experiences you can have. Learning new tips and secrets about cooking Caribbean food from a chef in her own home was “priceless”. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, thank you.

  2. What a great thing to do. I too love learning about the local food. Once in Provence, I attended a cooking class in the chef’s home. It was so much fun and the food was exceptional. I still make some of the recipes.

  3. The longer I am in Florida the more of the tropical flavors and ingredients I discover and learn to love. Nichole’s looks wonderful and I would love to take that class and eat the homework. I would love to read the bean recipe.

    1. Hi Amelia, Yes indeed, we did get to eat our homework and it was delicious. 😊 The beans and rice were very good, I’ll definitely try and share the recipe in the weeks ahead.

    1. You gave me a chuckle Janis, that is exactly what my husband did except instead of wine, he enjoyed a rum punch as he visited with Nicole’s husband. 😁

  4. What a fun experience. There is no better way to learn more about a culture than through the food and language. Everything looks delicious and glad you were able to do this together with your hubby.

    1. We thought so Dorothy. While others may have seen more of this particular island, we had a beautiful view, learned about Antigua and enjoyed delicious food.

  5. The photograph of the bay is breathtaking. The water looks so good.
    I can only imagine how enjoyable the cooking class was and the enjoyment of eating lunch with Nicole and your classmates.

  6. That looks like a meal — and an experience — of a lifetime. There’s nothing like cooking together, and dining together, to bring people together and cement friendships for years to come.

    1. You are so right Carolyn, we will always remember Antigua and our cooking class whereas some of the other islands will start to blend together in our memories. 😊

    1. Hi Larry, We really did enjoy this shore excursion. I know Bev had a good time but I know you are happy she is home again. BTW, I still can’t leave comments on your and so many other Blogger friends.

    1. Hi Pam, My husband and I really enjoyed visiting Antigua. With the views from Nicole’s lovely veranda while enjoying new dishes we had learned to cook, it couldn’t have been nicer. Thank you for stopping by for a visit, it is much appreciated.

    1. Hi Pam, Our cooking adventure on Antigua was a very memorable day. I will be happily sharing the coconut tart recipe with everyone this weekend. πŸ’•

  7. What a perfect shore excursion! And I’ve never even heard of black pineapple! When we were in Captiva in January I was in love with the fruits at the farmer’s market!

    1. Hi Inger, the black pineapple is a specialty on the island. Nicole says they stay green when ripe and don’t turn golden on the outside like other pineapples and are very sweet.

  8. Iwould join the class for the views alone! What a beautiful spot to sit and dine! πŸ˜ƒ Cooking in a group must be fun too.

    1. I think I would have to agree with you Cathy, the view was wonderful. The whole group really enjoyed sitting out on the veranda…eating delicious food just made it all the better.

    1. Hi Eva, we had a terrific time at the cooking class. In February, masks were required unless you were outside or sitting at a table eating both on our cruise as well as by the health authorities on Antigua. That was supposed to be changing on the 1st of March.

  9. This sounds so perfect! I’ve always wanted to attend a destination cooking thing like that. What a terrific experience. And then just look at that fabulous environment. It sounds just terrific, Karen! (And thanks for coming by this past week. It was nice to see your visit and comment!)

    1. Jeanie, I do hope you get a chance to attend a cooking class…perhaps on another visit to England. Thank you, I’m feeling better and trying to dedicate more time on the computer visiting my friends. 😘

    1. Jan, we had a great time and learned to prepare some delicious new dishes. I’ll be sharing a couple over time here as I think everyone will enjoy them.

    1. Hi Kiki, It really was a fun experience. I wish we could have attended classes during our travels in Europe but unfortunately language has always been a problem. 😊

    1. Yes Hannah…sun, fun and delicious food describes our cooking class in Antigua perfectly. Hope you get a chance to do something similar in the future.

  10. Wow I’ve never heard of Black Pineapple. Just looked it up thanks to you. Island treasure of the Antigua. What a great way to explore local ingredients and traditional dishes, with a view too!

    1. Hi Sunny, yes I found it very interesting that black pineapple from Antigua are the sweetest and rarest variety there is. It was very good in the salsa we prepared.

  11. How fun for you and what a beautiful place to learn the Caribbean style of cooking!
    I’m still in awe over your suite on the ship!
    Happy Tuesday!

    1. You gave me a chuckle Nancy, I’m still in awe that we had that gorgeous suite as well. 😊 Nicole’s home was certainly a lovely place to earn about Caribbean style cooking.

    1. Hi Judy, The Caribbean isn’t the first place someone living in Florida thinks about traveling to since the weather is similar with our experience was wonderful. It was so nice to get away and the cruise couldn’t of been better.

  12. That is so much fun, Karen! Love the way you share all about their culture and food. Thanks for a super post!

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