Partly cloudy

65°F

Partly cloudy

 


--------------------------------------- The -
------------------
StMaarten/StMartin

--------------------------- Connection

------------------------- "…the SXM newsletter for experienced travelers!
---------------------------------Connecting YOU with Paradise!"

Dear Friends of St. Maarten,

When was the last time you visited St. Maarten/St. Martin? Was it recent or a few years ago? If it was recent, then you are already aware of island improvements such as new roads in Marigot; the Blue Mall mega shopping complex in Cupecoy, which hopefully will open for business in December; the contruction activity going on at the old La Belle Creole Resort property; the implementation of the North American Numbering Plan system, which allows St. Maarten to use a 1-721 area code for easier & cheaper dialing to the island; and, the new round-abouts strategically located in several areas of the island, which help to improve driving conditions culimating in fewer accidents.

If you haven't been to the island in several years, then you should know that the island has grown and prospered in the last five to ten years. There are now several beautiful high-rise condo buildings on the Dutch side. There is a newly expanded mega-harbour in Philipsburg which can handle 4 to 6 large cruise ships in a single day including the Genesis class cruise ships which are the largest ships built today able to house more than 5,000 passengers in addition to more than 2,000 crew members. The French side has also had a buliding boom over the years and now newly built condos and small hotels virtually go down to the shoreline at Orient Beach; and, magnificent villas populate many of the hillsides and beaches.

If this trip you are planning is your first time to the island then you are in for a treat. St. Maarten/St. Martin is a small island only 7 miles going from North to South and 7 miles going from East to West. The island has 37 incredible beaches each one different and more exciting than the next and equally beautiful. It also has a dozen casinos to help distance you from your money. All kinds of watersports are available; 400 restaurants of every imaginable ethnic food; duty-free non-stop shopping on both sides of the island; and, a relaxing, carefree way of life. Keep in mind when you visit the island, you will be on "Island-time" and as many of our local friends say, "Why worry about getting it done today when you can do it tomorrow."
Be careful! St. Maarten/St. Martin is habit forming. Visit once and you'll want to come back again and again.

Enjoy our Newsletter!

Regards,

Sam Fusco
President/Publisher

Winner of the 2006/2007 St. MaartenHospitality & Trade Association's Crystal Pineapple Award for Outstanding Tourism Journalism

Featured in this issue:
1. Newsletter Sponsor: La Cave Restaurant
2. Poem: Potato Salad by Laura Richardson
3. Featured Villas: La Samanna Villas

4. Featured Shop: Scuba Fun Dive Centers

5. Featured Restaurant: BelMar Restaurant
6. 55 Fun Things To Do On Island

7. Featured Hotel: Holland House Beach Hotel

8. 
Wine Cellar: Regional Wines, Foods & Spirits by Jean Rich 
9.
Featured Special Events: La Samanna Weddings
10. A Tasty Recipe: Scallops in Carrot Juice Seasoned with Coriander
11. What's Happening in Paradise?


Newsletter Sponsor


La Cave Restaurant at La Samanna Resort

Perfect for a private celebration, business dinner, or just to enjoy life… La Cave offers to our guests a completely different dining experience. Sit among some of the finest wines in the world, experience the finest cuisine of our Chef Vincent Wallez, one of the best Caribbean chefs, complimented by elegant and attentive service.

Private Dining This is a great opportunity to enjoy a private dinner in our Restaurant La Cave, surrounded by over 12,000 of our very special wines. A five course or a nine course menu will be served with a wine paired with each course by our Head Wine Waiter.

Exclusive Dinner Enjoy a special dinner featuring some of the very best vintages from exceptional wine appellations including: Bollinger, Dom Pérignon, Cheval Blanc, La Bourgogne, “Parfums du Sud”, USA.

Wine Tasting Traveling through the world, guided by our expert Sommelier, you will discover the hidden secrets of the wine accompanied by a selection of fruits and French matured cheese.

--------------------------12,000 bottles of wine - 1,250 labels - 13 countries

----------------------------------------------- AWARDS
---------------------------
Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2008

--------------------------- Best Wine List of the Caribbean Gault & Millau 2007
----------------------------- Best of Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2007 -
--------------------------------
Award of Excellence Wine Spectator 2006


----------------------- For reservations, tel:1.800.854.2252 or 011.590.590.87.64.00.
----------------------- Please visit us at: www.lasamanna.com/web/omar/wine_cellar.jsp.
------------------------------------ Email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


A Poem



PotatoSaladPoemPhoto-R436x336
---------------- Portrait of "Laura" by Sir Roland Richardson  

 Potato Salad

Lord, give me potato salad
for my funeral procession,
a fast salsa, rum punch
for a happy reception!

Everything delicious,
nothing d
enied,
to farewell this lifetime of
vanity pride!

No further worries,
no lasting regrets,
a moment of fun 
where we'll all place some bets,

A straight shot up,
or hot slide down,
dust in the wind
or dug deep in the ground.

No songs, please,
no praise,
just rich mayonnaise,

and piles of potatoes,
with lots of strong drink,
till  our bellies are full
and our cheeks have turned pink!

That's a day to look forward to,
melted butter on bread,
pistachio cannolis,
with nothing to dread
in that moment I'm finally dead!


Poem by Laura Richardson
Portrait of "Laura" by Sir Roland Richardson
Photo from the Poet's office, St. Martin 

 --------------------------
eed JavaScript enabled to view it


Featured Villas


  Orient-ExpressLogo


LASLogo180x50

 


VillasCliffside1-R
------------__The Villas at La Samanna

--------------- Opportunities to Rent an Orient-Express Home

One of the most distinguished addresses in the Caribbean, La Samanna Villas offer the ultimate inLSVLiving375x250 luxurious Caribbean accommodations and services. Residential in feel, but private and exclusive in nature, the Villas exude simple elegance and exquisite design. Each Villa features more than 4,600 square feet of exclusive living space, private wraparound infinity pools, breathtaking Caribbean ocean views and master bedrooms with alcoves and oversized private terraces. Whites, blues and corals shimmer against white granite. And off in the distance, a setting sun is the evening's entertainment. Our Villas have either three or four bedrooms and can be rented for as long or as short a time as you wish.

Elevated high atop a rocky bluff, Saba Island rises in the distance, while La Samanna's Baie Longue beach rests down below. The gentle cove is known the island over for its mesmerizing marine life. It's not unusual to see dive boats frequent the calm waters, giving first-time divers easy access. The Caribbean LSVVilla375x250sea glows and undulates with a steady tide.

Next door, one of the Caribbean's most legendary resorts holds reign -- La Samanna. As guests of the La Samanna Villas, each is afforded the same privileges as those staying at La Samanna. Swimming pools, yoga, sailing, snorkeling, professional Peter Burwash International (PBI) and more round out the on-property activities. Of course, a dedicated Concierge is on call 24/7 to arrange any off-property pursuits.

The Villas are perfectly situated to make the most out of the Caribbean island of St. Martin, with just a short trip to the capital of French St. Martin, Marigot with its gingerbread houses, sidewalk bistros and Caribbean vegetable markets.

On an island known for its gastronomical exploits, the Executive chef at La Samanna does not disappoint. The day begins with buffet LSVBedroomView-375x229breakfast to rival the finest on the mainland. Fresh fruits, homemade French pastries and gourmet coffee delight guests. During the day, The Beach Bar and Grill Terrace serve up lunch. While at night, Le Réservé celebrates French-Caribbean fare and La Cave--the region's most talked about wine cellar--entertains with more than 12,000 bottles.

La Samanna Spa offers seven treatment rooms, including five indoor/outdoor treatment suites--each with a private Zen garden and outdoor shower. From a detoxifying body wrap to a classic deep tissue massage, the Spa has a full range of services focusing on extravagance, rejuvenation and wellness using natural elements.
LSVOceanView375x250We can customize any of our treatments to fit your special needs. And, at your request, we will gladly and discreetly extend sound advice for integrating a healthier lifestyle for you to take back home. The La Samanna Spa team hopes that our talent, dedication and hospitality will help make your stay at La Samanna Villas the ultimate vacation.

Exclusive only to the Villas, several amenities are designed to lavish guests for the perfect stay. They include: Concierge service; a dedicated host at your service to drive you around the resort; champagne and fresh flowers on arrival; twice daily housekeeping service; daily breakfast; and basic stock of water, soft drinks, beers and tea and coffee.

For additional charges, La Samanna Villas offer everything from VIP airport transfers and private 43-foot Italian yacht charter to a full-time maid and private chef.

Welcome to paradise at La Samanna Villas in the Caribbean, a secluded haven for luxury, elegance and superb cuisine. To rent with us simply call our dedicated concierge on 1.800.780.4028.

La Samanna Villas
St. Martin, F.W.I.

For reservations or information, telephone 1.800.780.4028 or 011.590.590.87.64.00.
Please visit: www.lasamanna.com/web/omar/villa_rentals.jsp
or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Featured Shop


 

519_scubafun-logo-maarten


----
Scuba Fun Dive Center is St Maarten, the only PADI 5* Instructor Dive Development Resort -
-----------------------------
You know you're in good hands!

Scuba Fun Dive Center is on the Dutch side, at Great Bay Marina (Pointe Blanche, Philipsburg); therefore, we are less than a 10 minute boat ride to reach about 15 of the most famous diving spots of St. Maarten: Proselyte Reef, the Maze, Carib Cargo, Cable Reef…

Our time schedule fits the cruise ship program. Departure time for two tank dives is at 9.00 AM. According to ship arrival's time, we often have a second boat departing at 10.00 AM or 11.00 AM. Our boats go out again at 2.00 PM for a shallow dive, Resort courses and Snorkeling trips. In winter time, some ships (Carnival Cruise and several others) stay on US eastern time instead of Caribbean time (1 hour difference). No matter what time your ship arrives and departs, we will always try to accommodate you; private trips are also available for a fair price.

--ScubaTwoDivingBoat--- SFDiveBoat

If you visit St. Maarten on a cruise ship and stop over for just one day, it's just a few minutes walk from the cruise ship pier to our dive shop. Save the fee for a cab or a taxi boat, you will find us just after the pier, at Great Bay Marina (actually, you'll see a very big sign for Chesterfield Restaurant). We are next to the restaurant. Our time schedule fits the cruise ship program. Departure times for dives are 9AM and 2PM but we often have later departures when some cruise ship dock later.

Our dive shop is open from 8AM till 6PM and offers both sale and rental of diving and snorkeling equipment. You will also find StMaarten/StMartin souvenirs, beachwear and Internet access. So, let us help you organize your vacation by making the most of the activities that we can offer you. Whether you're a first-timer or an experienced diver, our team of multilingual diving instructors will help you discover the beautiful coral reefs and the many wrecks of the Caribbean Sea, all of which will really make it a trip to remember.

-SFDiveShopPhilipsburg --- SFDiveBoatCoralPalm

If you don't want to rent a car, our free shuttle service will come to pick you up and drive you to our dive center, and naturally, will drive you back after the dive, please ask for the shuttle when you reserve. No matter if you stay in Oyster Pond, Dawn Beach (Westin Resort, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Captain Oliver's…) or Philipsburg (Divi Little Bay Resort, Great Bay Resort, Belair Beach..), no problem, we will be there!!! (For other parts of the island, please ask)

Scuba Fun has three fully equipped dive boats to make your journey to our many dive spots as comfortable as possible: "Scuba Two" is a 28 feet inflatable with cabin and hard top, registered for 15 divers with a 250 hp outboard engine. "Scuba Fun" is a 36 feet mono-hull with cabin and hard top registered for 20 divers with a 300 hp inboard diesel motor. "Coral Palm" is a 42 feet mono-hull with two levels and a hard top: registered for 30 divers with two 225 hp inboard diesel motors.

---------------------------------------- Scuba Fun Dive Center
-------------------- Great Bay Marina, Dockmaarten, Pointe-Blanche, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
------Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Visit: www.scubafundivecenter.com
------------------------------ Tel: 011.599.542.3966 or 011.599.586.2822cell

10% Discount on Dives and Courses
Certification dives or exploration, our multilingual team of professional
dive instructors will do all they can to offer you a luxury dive at an affordable price.

Scuba Fun is the only PADI Gold Palm Resort in Sint Maarten,
meeting the highest standards of safety in the diving industry.
-

Present this coupon when you book
Valid only when booking directly at the dive center/Not with other offers.

 

Featured Restaurant


 

---------------------------- BelMar

-------------------------------- Grill - Seafood - Wine Bar
-------------------- JeansBelMar


--------------------------------- ...continuing a Tradition of Excellence!


BelMar is one of Simpson Bay's finest restaurants with provenance on the St. Maarten restaurant scene. Located in the former Le Bec Fin building, with the dreamy one of a kind view of Simpson Bay beach - BelMar has some of the island's finest cuisine. The wine list is also worthy and was especially selected by the Sommelier of Vinissimo, the famed Marigot wine boutique.

Try the crispy onions rings and the Saba lobster prepared New England style - it is removed from the shell, sautéed with butter and fresh herbs and stuffed back into the shell. The Argentine Gaucho is grass fed - lean and full of flavor and the prime rib. All dishes are served with generous side items of sweet potatoes or white potatoes with four accompaniments and seasonal island vegetables. Other favorites include rack of lamb with a Dijon crust served with mint jelly and snapper in parchment paper. An outstanding chocolate mousse, homemade desserts, a selection of fine Cognacs and Armagnacs & a terrace to enjoy a fine Cuban cigar.

The article below was written by Mari Radaelli
for OUT 'N ABOUT - The DAILY HERALD

Looking at the sea while you are eating is really an indulgence for me. For this review, I wanted to go to a recently opened place and I was also looking for a restaurant where I could enjoy a pleasant view. For these two reasons, the choice went to BelMar as it opened about two weeks ago and has a privileged panoramic view!

About the Appetizers RaymondDaughterFoodThe choices of appetizers mentioned in the menu were seven, plus two types of soups. All of them were very tempting, but I ordered a fish soup mainly because the menu stated that the soup is made from the catch of the day. My dining partner chose the French-fried mushrooms. The fish soup had generous pieces of red snapper, also carrot and potato pieces perfectly cooked: not too soft not too hard. The soup also had a delicate lemon flavour combined with celery and many other herbs that I could not identify, but which made the taste very special. I found the soup serving rather small, maybe because I liked the taste very much. My companion's nine pieces of mushroom looked very good and very tasty too. I tried one of them and was surprised about the good taste of the mushroom especially as I have found it so hard to cook this vegetable in a tasty way.

About the Main Dish For the main dish, menu options were also ample, but I was glad to find many alternatives with fish, as I had decided to limit my meal to fish dishes only; not just because I was thinking about the calories, but mainly because it was quite late and eating meat at late hours is normally not a good idea for my stomach. Good that my dining-partner was in the mood for beef, so this review is for meat-lovers too. My partner's choice was the "El Gaucho - Tenderloin of Grass Fed Argentinean Beef of 12 oz" as mentioned in the menu. It was quite a big portion and it came with French fries and vegetables. He declared his plate was "nice, very delicious and crispy, tender meat and generous portion!" My entrée was scampi style sautéed garlic shrimps. It was delicious! Once more I was surprised about the fact that the vegetables were perfectly cooked and about the herbal taste of the food. The plate was served with rice and peas giving it a Caribbean touch. Besides enjoying a pleasant view of Kim Sha Beach we did enjoy the genuine friendly service and the meal!

- Chops Lobster RackLamb

Open for dinner from 6PM - 10PM. All major credit cards are accepted.
Located on the road to Pelican Resort across from Buccaneer Beach Bar with parking.

-------------------------- Dinner - Catering - Weddings - Wifi

BelMar
Grill - Seafood - Wine Bar
Pelican Key Road (next to Pelican Resort) St. Maarten
Reservations: 011.599.544.2614
or Vist: www.belmarrestaurant-sxm.com Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


Special Feature


 

55 Fun Things to do on StMaarten/StMartin!


Many first-timers to the island write us to ask the same question over and over again, "What is there to do on the island." So, listed below are a few of the interesting, exciting, enjoyable, fun activities that can occupy your beautiful vacation days and assure you of going home with wonderful memories.

1. Charter a yacht and sail to other islands
2. Collect unique seashells from the island's 37 wonderful beaches
3. Go deep sea fishing for a Marlin and challenge yourself
4. Go for a horseback ride on the beach
5. Go for a mountain bike ride on the trails
6. Go for a swim, often
7. Go for a walk on the beach, daily
8. Go shopping Monday through Saturday and rest on Sunday
9. Go snorkeling in Baie Rouge
10. Go scuba diving around Saba
11. Have breakfast at a restaurant, daily
12. Have lunch at a restaurant, often
13. Have dinner at a restaurant, frequently
14. If you vacation on island for 37 days, you can visit a different beach every day
15. Lie in a lounge chair on Orient Beach and watch people "strut their stuff" nude
16. Lie in a lounge chair on the beach with a good book in one hand and a drink in the other
17. Lie on the beach and do nothing except soak up the sunshine
18. Paddle a kayak around the island
19. Race a Wave Runner around the island
20. Rent a rod & reel and fish from the beach

----------LeesGuysWithFishR

21. Climb the 3,000 steps to the top of Saba's rain forest

22. Sit at a friendly bar and watch sports TV
23. Sit at a friendly bar and think about your job and work at the office, not
24. Sit at a bar with friends and enjoy the camaraderie or make new friends
25. Take a parasail and fly though the sky
26. Take a sunset cruise around the island
27. Visit a casino but bring Lady Luck with you
28. Visit a nightclub and dance till the wee small hours of the morning
29. Visit Anguilla, St. Barths and/or Saba
30. Visit the Butterfly Farm for incredible sights

---------- Malachite ---------- TheBlueMorpho

31. Visit StMaarten Park Zoo

32. Walk the wires through the trees at Loterie Farm
33. Enjoy a sunrise
34. Enjoy a sunset
35. Take lots and lots of pictures
36. Take Sir Roland Richardson's Master Class Wednesday at La Samanna, Thursday at Marigot Gallery, learn about art, colors, history, while the master creates a painting. It's Free!
37. Visit 1700's on Mont Vernon Plantation/see current art exhibition/take classes at new art school
38. Visit other artist's galleries throughout the island
39. Visit the museums in Marigot and Philipsburg
40. Visit the Fort St. Louis ruins in Marigot

----------yacht-helicopter

41. Visit the Fort Amsterdam ruins in Philipsburg

42. Visit Tijon Parfumerie in Grand Case and create your own personal scent/parfume
43. Take the St. Maarten "America's Cup" 12 Metre Regatta Challenge
44. Have a drink at La Samanna Resort's Baie Long Bar - watch the sunset & create lovely memories
45. Have lunch at the Lolos (outdoor grilled food restaurants) in Grand Case. Prices are soooooo cheap
46. Visit the pool at the Radisson Resort - it is the largest most spectacular on the island
47. Have Yannick's homemade yogurt at Vesna's Taverna & Bagel House - it's the best on the island
48. Sit through a Timeshare sales presentation - it's worth the "free gifts" even if you don't buy
49. See the Cabaret Show at L'Escargot Restaurant in Philipsburg - it's the best
50. Experience on the water excitement with a two-person Rhino Rider watercraft
51. Enjoy an ice cream sundae at Carousel Gelateria & Bar in Simpson Bay - it's the best
52. Ride the merry-go-round of ceramic horses at Carousel - they're incredible
53. Come back to StMaarten/StMartin again and again!
54. Visit the island in early March and enjoy the Heineken Regatta
55. Visit the island in late April and enjoy Carnival
56. Visit the island any month except September (Hurricane Season) and add a sparkle to your life

Note: Dear Reader, If you have any fun things that you would like us to add to our list of 56, email it to Sam Fusco at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If we like it, we'll add it.

 


Featured Hotel




OceanLoungeBeach


 
Welcome to the Holland House Beach Hotel!

BeachSeaViewRThe Hotel is located on Great Bay beach and offers 54 guest rooms and suites. Beachside rooms offer magnificent views of the blue Caribbean, surrounding islands, and azure skies. All rooms have just been refurbished and redesigned by renowned architect Johannes Zingerlee and French Indies Design from St. Barths, bringing a European chic and Caribbean flair. The Hotel is also in the middle of the duty-free shopping area of Philipsburg with shops such as Cartier and Little Switzerland, Colombian emeralds and many electronic, clothing and local artifact shops.

All 54 restyled guest rooms and suites will be a pleasant surprise for those looking for a perfect hotel with many work and play options. All rooms offer flat screen televisions and movie programming, the newest trend in hospitality TV, and luxurious bathroom amenities complement the wellness package.

The European Contemporary and modern Caribbean feel of the rooms provide guests with style and comfort. The Holland House Experience™ bedding has been uniquely designed, a comfort concept created by design and sleep specialists using individual coil spring mattresses and Think Plush pillow-top padding finished with crisp, white Egyptian cotton sheets, duvets and blankets for the ultimate in pampering, even at night.

The 4 Junior Suites are beautifully appointed. They're studio style provides a sleeping and living area. Located on the first floor, overlooking Great Bay, their extended terrace offers a fantastic view of the beach. With all the amenities of the Beach Front Deluxe, the Junior Suite offers superior comfort during your stay at the Hotel.

Welcome to the Ocean Lounge for Fine Dining

TheHotelRThe newly-renovated restaurant and bar at the Holland House is the Ocean Lounge Restaurant and Bar, which features a beautiful hardwood deck overlooking the ocean and the boardwalk where many locals go to relax at night, when the cool Caribbean breeze soothes away a day at work or a perfect day on the beach. Dedon outdoor furniture with plush cushions, combined with the service-minded staff, gives you that special VIP feeling.

Robert van Herpen and Chef Raymond Kaper, both from Holland, guarantee an enjoyable breakfast, tasty lunch or delightful dinner experience. Chef Raymond is young, energetic and ambitious; and, has worked in some of the finest top 100 restaurants in Holland, like Seinpost, and with famous chefs such as Rob Blauwboer and Chef Hans Snijders of Chateau Neercanne.

Chef Raymond works with local products from the Islands as well as fresh seafood and produce flown in twice weekly from Europe and the USA to create innovative and imaginative dishes. He leads a local team of young cooks and has set new standards and heights in casual dining on the Island. His counterparts on the waiters' side are the ever-smiling Jesse, who supervises breakfast and lunch, and the famous Paul Meiskens who oversees the dinner service and has already acquired a very loyal clientele.

Editor's Note: Once again, Barbara and I had a spectacular meal at Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar. After ordering two Black Labels on the rocks, we sat sipping our favorite scotch discussing forthcoming events while enjoying the beautiful view of the yachts in Great Bay.

After a while, our waiter brought us the Chef’s offering which was a creamy spicy tomato mousse in a long slender glass accompanied with a straw. One or two sips and the mousse caressed your palette with a lovely delightful taste on its way to your stomach. We really wanted more!

For appetizers, we enjoyed Gravlax, marinated and lightly smoked salmon with sour cream and toast, and Beef Carpaccio in lemon juice which were both delicious and easily either could be shared by two people. For our main course, we had Chilean Sea Bass served in an antiboise sauce with mini potatoes and fresh spinach, and Brill which is a white fish imported from Holland accompanied by a selection of vegetables.

For Dessert, we had the chef’s innovative rendition of French toast with Vanilla ice cream in the middle. It was truly unique. And, of course, the meal was accompanied by a lovely bottle of white Sancerre. By the way, Guido & Georgina, our servers, were attentive and friendly and along with Robert, Manager of Food & Beverage, helped to make the evening memorable. For reservations, call Robert van Herpen at 721.542.2572 or 800.223.9815 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Parking for dinner is available from 7 PM till 12 midnight. It's across the street from the Hotel behind Joe's Jewelry. You enter the lot via Back Street and will see a parking assistant and a Holland House banner. Parking is free of charge and exclusive for diners at our Ocean Lounge Restaurant & Bar.

In addition, our friendly and attentive professional staff will assist you with your needs and answer any questions about the Hotel, arrange car rentals, excursions to other islands, and point you to intimate and romantic Caribbean restaurants. They will also be happy to assist you with important island information, reconfirming your flight and arranging a taxi service. Come visit us! We look forward to making your special day an outstanding one!

Holland House Beach Hotel,
FrontStreet #43, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Please visit our website at www.hhbh.com to use our computerized reservation system.
Tel: 1.721.542.2572, Fax: 1.721.542.4673 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Special Feature


 

The Wine Cellar

-------------------------------------------------- 
by Jean Rich

"Regional Wines, Foods and Spirits"

The Nation of France is comprised of many regions that have specific character and proud cultures expressed in their traditional foods, wines and spirits. The products of a specific region evolve together and are worth searching out to enjoy together. An unforgettable, classic example is roasted Pauillac spring lamb with a Pauillac (Bordeaux) wine.

WindowShoppingSouth of Bordeaux is the region called Gascogny, or 'The Southwest.' This is the region of The Three Musketeers and generations of independent characters, interesting products: a gastronomic spirit, Armagnac, eau-de-vies of the regions fruits, prune, pear and peach; and flavorful regional wines that are still a bargain. Gascon feasts are fabulous.

Visiting Gascogny develops sense-memories of rich flavors of the region's food. They raise unctuous foie gras and serve it as a starter-course with a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper and coarse crystals of gray sea salt. We love the Gascon pairing of foie gras with their chilled sweet Pacherenc wine. Gascogny's Pacherenc are crafted from the Arrufiac grape. It is delicious and a terrific value compared with their pricey cousins, the Sauternes of Bordeaux. While we often think of aperitif wines as crisp with acid character, Gascons say sweet wines open the palette and prepare your taste buds for complex, savory, main dishes. Sweet wines are not just for dessert and "digestifs".

A Gascon main courses might be the "Gascon steak" - a grilled magret (breast) of duck, served rare. They make stewed dishes called cassoulet and daube-meats in sauces that start with several bottles of regional hefty wines, reduced for hours to a few tablespoons' worth of concentrated flavors.

For these dishes, the Gascogny wine is "Madiran" from the Tannat grape which was grown in this region sinceVinis vino-Logo the Romans planted it in the third century. In some winemakers' hands this grape produces highly tannic, rustic wines that must be aged 15 years or more before becoming drinkable. Genius, Gascon wine-maker, Alain Brumont has cultured the Tannat grape and introduced wine making skills that have elevated this wine from rustic to elegant. Mr. Brumont was named by French critical wine reviewers, Gault et Millau, "Winemaker of the Decade" for the decade of the 1990's. It was the first time a small, regional winemaker, using poorly-known, traditional varieties of grapes was given such a grand distinction and catapulted to world-wide fame. Normally critics would hold such distinctions for the producers of the famous wines of Bordeaux or Burgundy. Mr. Brumont is also an accomplished wine maker of Pacherenc sweet wines.

The Chef of one of a famous Gascogny restaurant, Michel Trama, taught us to make a "Mac-Trama" using portabello mushrooms as the 'bun' and a rich slab of fois gras as the 'burger;' he serves it with Madiran wine. This is an example of Gascon humor-they don't take themselves too seriously.

To compliment your meal with one of the fine Gascogny wines, please visit Vinissimo Boutique in Marigot, Vinissimo in Anguilla or Bacchus Boutique in St. Barth's and allow our Sommelier to assist you with your choice of selections.

Sources: BelMar Restaurant, Grill – Seafood – Wine Bar, Billy Folly Road, Simpson Bay, St. Maarten for the finest steaks, lobster and seafood. Tel: 1.721.544.2614 www.belmarrestaurant-sxm.com 

Vini’s Vino Wine & Spirit Boutique, #105 Puerto Del Sol Plaza, Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten across from Topper’s Restaurant. Its wine bar features a professional sommelier that will assist you in appreciating wines and offers free wine tastings on Thursday evenings. Bring your friends for an interesting evening! Tel: 1.721.544.5426 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Contributor Author Jean Rich has lived in Sint Maarten for more than 20 years since she retired from cancer research. She explores her passion for wine, dining and people at BelMar Restaurant & Wine Bar on Pelican Key, Simpson Bay; and Vini’s Vino Wine & Spirits Boutique. Its wine bar features wine experiences and offers for sale the benefits of the Sommelier’s efforts to bring fine wine values to its clientele.
-


Featured Special Events


  

lasamannalogoR

WeddingCeremony


A Dream Wedding
For Every Couple at La Samanna!

There's More Than One Way To Tie The Knot At La Samanna!

After the Resort Wedding, Newlyweds' First Year Anniversary at La Samanna is Complimentary!

A wedding should be a seamlessly perfect day that unites two personalities and celebrates the life they are about to share. With this in mind, La Samanna - an Orient-Express world-class luxury resort hotel located on the French side of St. Martin - invites all types of couples to plan the wedding of their dreams at one of the resort's exclusive venues. Whether one has always dreamed of saying their vows while sinking bare feet into the white sand, overbooking the ocean from a cliffside perch or amidst lush courtyard vegetation, La Samanna has the ideal location to ensure every couple experiences the wedding of a lifetime.

La Samanna's Special Event Manager will guide couples in choosing the perfect location for their ceremony, based on group size and requirements. The hotel offers unique locations ranging from the beach or gardens to the pool terrace or the breathtaking La Samanna Villas, where a customized reception and celebration can be held. For rehearsal dinners, couples can book Le Resérvé Restaurant for gourmet, world-class cuisine or for smaller groups, La Cave, the resort's magical wine cellar.

WedBeachPool


For the "Casual Chic" couple… Beach!
Baie Longue, La Samanna's private beach, is famous for its unforgettable sunsets, ivory sand and clear water that stretches into the horizon. What better place to tie the knot than one where couples can dig their toes into the soft sand while expressing their love among the sounds of gentle Caribbean waves?

For the "Exclusively Romantic" couple… Beachfront Garden! This charming venue is surrounded by lush bougainvillea with a unique ocean backdrop. Offering a quiet romantic setting makes it the perfect location to exchange vows and pronounce endless love for another. 

WedTerrace
For the "Serenely Suave" couple... Pool Terrace! With stunning panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea, the Pool Terrace is the ideal location for a beautifully serene wedding, reception and dinner. Accommodating up to 100 people, couples don't have to limit the guest list.
WedVillasCliffside

For the "Passionate" couple… La Samanna Villas! Located on a bluff with stunning, panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and Baie Longue, the Villas at La Samanna offer sumptuous accommodations and unparalleled service for a passion-filled wedding. Featuring over 4600 square feet of exclusive villa space with private wraparound infinity pools, the La Samanna villas provide couples and their guests with the most perfect location for an all night celebration.

La Samanna is a world-class luxury resort in St. Martin, French West Indies, owned by Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises. Cloaked in lush foliage and colorful splashes of flowers, the resort is residential in nature, appealing to a discriminating, international clientele seeking seclusion, relaxation, fine dining and attentive personalized service. The resort is legendary for its extensive wine cellar and cuisine with provisions flown in from France daily. Equally renowned is the La Samanna Spa with its indoor/outdoor tropical garden treatment rooms and Pilates studio. With 83 deluxe suites, located on 55 acres of breathtaking beachfront, La Samanna evokes a French spirit with a Caribbean soul.

La Samanna Weddings, St. Martin, F.W.I.
To start planning your once-in-a-lifetime wedding, contact Jennifer Moeggenberg at 212.764.8225
For additional information, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit us at: www.lasamanna.com 

 


A Tasty Recipe




------------------------------Scallops in Carrot Juice Seasoned with Coriander

Courtesy of the former owners of
La Petite Auberge des Iles
Marina Royale, Marigot, St. Martin, F.W.I.
011.590.590.87.56.31

Ingredients for four persons: 
-
12 nice sized scallops 
-
1 quart of carrot juice 
-
1 bouquet of fresh coriander 
-
A few crushed coriander seeds 
-
5 teaspoons of butter 
-
1 tablespoon of hazelnut oil 
-
1 tablespoon of fresh cream
-
Salt and pepper

1) Place the scallops in a frying pan heated with the mixture of butter and hazelnut oil. Fry one minute on each side.

2) During this time, heat the carrot juice. When heated, add a generous tablespoon of fresh cream. 

3) Pour some of the creamed carrot juice in each of the four dishes in which you place three scallops. Sprinkle them with the fresh and crushed coriander, salt and pepper.

4) Garnish with rice or fresh noodles.

Hardy Appetite!

What's Happening in Paradise?

by Sam Fusco


Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa, St. Martin has just launched their Summer Bliss Sale effective for travel from July 1st to August 31st. Please review the following details:

Summer Bliss Sale
+Savings from 30% off
+80 Euros Resort Credit for stays 4-6 nights or 140 Euros Resort Credit for stays 7 nights or more
+Daily Full Breakfast Buffet for 2 at Le Marche
+Kids Stay & Eat Free (some restrictions apply)
Rates begin at 160 Euros a night
For reservations or additional information, visit us at www.radissonblu.com/resort-stmartin


Closings & Reopenings
La Samanna Resort and Spa
(www.lasamanna.com) will close September 1st for vacations and maintenance and will reopen on November 1st. Saratoga Restaurant is closed for vacations and maintenance and will reopen on October 15th. Club Orient (www.cluborient.com) will be closed from August 20th to October 6th, but the beach will be operating. The Good Life Spa (www.thegoodlifespa.com) will be open all summer and constantly announcing summer sales on Facebook and by Newsletters. They wish all vacationers a happy summer time. Select Yachts (www.selectyachts.net) is open and booking charters worldwide all year around! The Villas on Great Bay (www.thevillasongreatbay.com) are currently under construction for renovations and will be reopening in November 2012. Scuba Fun Dive Center (www.scubafundivecenter.com) will be open all year round - business as usual - although some of the staff will be taking vacation in France this summer.

All Shipwreck Shops (www.shipwreckshops.com) stores throughout the island will be open - there will not be any closings. Pizza Galley (www.pizzagalley.com) will be closing as usual July 24 and will reopen mid-October. Jimbo's Rock & Blues Café (www.jimboscafe.com) will be closing September 1st for approximately six weeks. They will reopen the middle of October. Lee's Roadside Grill (www.leesfish.com) will be closing September 9th and reopening on Monday, October 1st. Bleu Emeraude Residences (www.bleuemeraude.com) has announced that its Annual Closing for maintenance and staff vacations will be September 10th to September 30th. They will reopen on October 1st., 2012. Passaat Classic Schooner (www.sailholiday.com) will be out of the water for maintenance from September 3rd on for about three weeks.

Tropicana Casino has several daily promotions for the month of July. Look for Tropicana's complimentary flyers located at the arrival baggage hall at Princess Juliana Airport. Anybody who picks one up and brings it to the casino gets $10 in FREE Slot play and a FREE beer and hotdog when they sign up to become a member of the Winners Club. Must be over 18 years old and have a valid ID. Also, Melvin Hodge and the Princess Russian Dancers are performing on stage every Wednesday through Saturday. Tropicana Casino "The Friendliest Casino in St. Maarten."

Delta Airlines has announced new and expanded service to ten popular destinations in the Caribbean, including direct service to St. Maarten from JFK Airport in New York, scheduled to start December 15, 2012. The flight will be operated on Saturdays only. It departs JFK at 9:05am and arrives in St. Maarten at 2:15pm, departs St. Maarten at 3:15pm and arrives in New York at 6:05pm. Delta, which already services St. Maarten through Atlanta, Georgia, will utilise a Boeing 757 on the route.

The 2012 Hurricane Season is here. There will be 9 to 15 tropical storms and four to eight of those will strengthen into hurricanes, the U.S. government weather agency has predicted. One to three of those will grow into "major" hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the Saffir Simpson intensity scale, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in its seasonal forecast. Major hurricanes have sustainded winds of 111 miles per hour or higher and casue devastating damage.

The American University of the Caribbean Medical School campus is expanding. The school has just launched a $35 million dollar project to build additional buildings which will allow the University to offer additional scholarships to students who apply. The completion date for the new buildings is July 2013. The project is seen as a boost to the country's economy.

Country St. Maarten has a new National Holiday
Parliament has unanimously approved July 1st as Emancipation Day. Most tourists don't know that the island had slaves on its plantations a few hundred years ago. The first observance of Emancipation Day as a national holiday will be this Sunday, July 1st, 2012. Also, an informational booklet outlining the importance of the day will educate all St. Maarten's people from the youngest child to the most senior citizen in the history of the island.

A Permanent Dutch Marines Contingent on St. Maarten
The Dutch Government is planning to permanently station a contingent of Duch Marines on St. Maarten as of January 1, 2013. The Government is making preparation to establish a permanent post with 24 marines to be housed in their own small station. Marines from Aruba and sometimes Curacao are dispatched to St. Maarten when a natural threat like a hurricane is possible, but it takes a while for them to arrive especially by boat, because of the materials they bring. Having Marines at the scene right after a disaster can make a big difference - they do good things!

Million Cruise Passenger mark reached for the year
The one million cruise passenger mark was reached earlier than ever this year. This is the earliest the milestone has been reached in the past 11 consecutive years that St. Maarten has hosted a million or more passengers. The total cruise arrival figure for May was 994,280. The difference in cruise passenger numbers went over the million mark between June 1st and June 5th. Projections for the full year are slatted for 1,550,264. These statistics of the early million passenger mark proves St. Maarten's prominence in the cruise industry and its allure to cruise passengers.

Maho Group raises $104,600 for HIV/AIDS Awareness
The Maho Group raised $52,840 for the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation through the second Stronger Together Red Ribbon campaign. Coupled with the previous year's donation of $51,760 the Maho Group has raised a total of more than $104,600. As in the previous Stronger Together campaign, guests of Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino, Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort and Casino, and Royal Islander Club's La Terrasse and La Plage were invied to donate $1 per room, per day voluntarily, which the Maho Group matched daily. For more information or to volunteer in future programmes related to the HIV/AIDS awareness on St. Maarten, visit www.sxmaidsfoundation.org

TripAdvisor has awarded Oyster Bay Beach Resort its prestigious 2012 Certificate of Excellence Award. Quote (TripAdvisor): "Our travelers consistently commend your property with the highest praise, and we recognise your 4 rating as an exceptional achievement."

In March 2012, Oyster Bay Beach Resort was Voted a Top 5 Hotel for Value in the Caribbean / Bermuda Category. The Resort / Timeshare was voted No. 5 in a poll of Travel + Leisure's readers for the magazines's 500 World's Best Hotels for Value Awards survey. The company attributes the award to its $19 million in renovations, pristing location, and staff dedication to guest care. Click here to read the Press Release...

New Ferry Service to St. Barts from St. Maarten. The Voyager 3 is a new high speed hydrofoil ferry boat that will get you to Gustavia, St. Barts from Oyster Pond in 30 minutes and from Marigot to Gustavia in 1 hour. This new vessel really speeds up the trip and offers a business class setting for luxury traveling.      

Marigot is sprucing up some of its streets. The French government has paved and expanded the roadway beginning at the turnoff for Mario's Bistro near the Low Lands Road bridge and passed the Beach Plaza Hotel to the round-about in front of the French Tourism Offices. In the process, they have curved the road in front of the US Market (supermarket) and created a parking lot in front of the store for 50 cars. This also allowed them to create a parking lot in front of the Beach Plaza Hotel which was badly needed for 100 cars. In addition, they have also created on-street parking with brick sidewalks and another very large parking lot for the tennis courts. All in all, a splendid move by the French Government.  It also helps to beautify the neighborhood.

St. Maarten's Dialing code 1-721 went into effect September 30, 2011. The Bureau Telecommunication & Post St. Maarten (BTPSXM) announced that the use of St. Maarten’s new dialing code 1-721 will commence as of September 30, 2012. Calls to St. Maarten using either 00-599 or 1-721 will be processed regularly during a “permissive dialing period” which will run until September 30, 2012. Callers using -599 will be advised that the dialing code has changed and the new code should be used. The mandatory dialing period will commence on September 30, 2012, and remain in effect until March 31, 2013. During this period calls to St. Maarten using 00-599 will not be processed and callers will be advised to dial 1-721 for calls to St. Maarten. The use of country code 00599 will be discontinued for St. Maarten on September 30th, 2012.


The StMaarten/StMartin Connection Newsletters are e-published bimonthly by Steeple Associates, Inc., 5201 Warrens Way, Wanaque, NJ 07465. For Questions or Comments, telephone: 973.835.0600 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Publisher: Sam Fusco. Editorial Consultant: Marilyn Fusco. Sales and Marketing: Barbara Fusco. Contributing Correspondents: Jean Rich and Laura Richardson.