The last few weeks have been really exciting for us, not only have we been on BBC radio Solent doing a sauce tasting, but we have also been talking to lots of interesting people about our sauces.
Meeting new people always gives us an opportunity to share stories about our sauces but last week we realised we very rarely tell the story of how our sauces began.
Bernie and I met in St Lucia sixteen years ago this Christmas. We built our first home together on a patch of land which Bernie’s Dad James rents from government.
James has lived on ‘his’ land for over 40 years, tending his cow, growing his produce and swinging his machete at the wayward branches of the trees and bushes which thrive in this hot damp fertile climate.
We built our plywood house with its hot tin roof, over several weeks to the sounds of Bob Marley coming across the valley from the one and only house in the area with electricity and a stereo.
We raised our house up on stilts so we could enjoy the most spectacular views across the valley down to the crystal blue ocean and the wonderfully golden sands. Every morning Bernie would walk down the steep rocky track to collect water from a communal standpipe.
Life was simple, we would collect our mango’s, coconuts, and bananas from the trees outside our house. We spent our days lazying on the beach or shopping at the local fish market for dorado, tuna or swordfish.
We spent our evenings listening to the song of the tree frogs and cooking a meal of fish, plantain, dasheen, lentils and rice on our little gas stove. Every meal was always accompanied by one of Bernie’s wonderful home made sauces.
When we came to the Uk life got way more complicated and we exchanged our plywood house for a 3rd floor flat and our sea view for a view of Southampton student blocks! And instead of collecting our fruit from our own trees we started buying our mangos and bananas from Axtons one of our lovely wholesalers.
So our sauces and their unique and special tastes always remind us of that wonderful year we spent in St Lucia. Our banana ketchup was created on Christmas Day as an accompaniment to Fish Stew and reminds us of sitting outside in the heat sharing a meal at sundown.
This year Bernie and I have decided to celebrate Christmas the St Lucian way with Fish Stew accompanied by Bob Marley and a little banana ketchup.
So however you are celebrating Christmas we hope you have a wonderful time and if you do try one of our sauces then may you experience a ray of Caribbean sunshine to light up this dark time!
Happy Christmas and a brilliant 2016