Itz’ana Resort had the most wonderful wellness retreat last week and and I was lucky enough to be invited to join. If you missed the first post, click here to catch up on the special guests and activities. In this post I’ll tell you all about the incredible food and beverages we enjoyed during the retreat. I was already a fan of the food at Itz’ana’s restaurant but when Kassia Fiedor did her Table Takeover and collaborated with the onsite chefs- wow! We were treated to a spectacular 4-course meal that completely knocked my socks off. This was the first time I’d heard the term ‘high vibrational food’ and I find it so fitting for Kassia and the super-food laden, nutrient-rich recipes she creates.
My very favorite dish of the entire retreat was this lobster and green mango ceviche with cassava chips. It was so fresh and flavorful, a beautiful balance between the slightly sweet mango and the slightly salty lobster, the tangy lime and herby culantro. We also had a gorgeous salad with slivers of young coconut meat on top and a kaffir lime dressing (I’d never heard of kaffir limes before but they’re one of Kassia’s favorites). Something that I wrote down during the retreat’s opening night conversational panel was that: food is a medium people express themselves through- their identity. That really resonates with me and I want to remember that in my day-to-day cooking for my friends and family. Kassia has inspired me to try and use more high quality, whole foods from this region.
Our main course was seared tuna and watermelon steak with chaya and coconut rice. We had a lime, ginger, soy, orange, miso and cashew sauce and a moringa garnish. Chaya is a wild green that grows easily in Central America, once a staple in the diet of Pre-Colonial people in the region, this super food is sometimes called “Mayan spinach.” Kassia has a super interesting recipe in her cookbook for Guate Green Kimchi that uses chaya in a ferment. She says chaya is high in protein, vitamins A, C, and folic acid and that it has twice the iron that spinach does. Just be sure to cook the chaya for 10 minutes as it isn’t safe to eat it raw; though you can eat moringa leaves raw and they’re also a super food that is making a resurgence. You can even eat the flowers of moringa which are mild and yep, you guessed it- florally. I ate ALL of my flowers and some of my neighbor’s with this show stopper of a dessert: coconut pancetta and raspberry, hibiscus, honey, sea moss, and cardamom glaze.
This retreat was such an incredible experience and Itz’ana did really wonderful work planning and executing it. I feel inspired and motivated to learn more about mindful eating and what incredible foods are being grown, foraged, and made around me here in Belize. We can help along this movement by asking our peninsula’s resorts, restaurants, and produce markets to source more local food and less imported items. Keep an eye out for the future scheduled events at Itz’ana here