A Caribbean blend of global flavors, Curaçao’s cuisine is influenced primarily by Dutch culture with an added dollop of Creole flair, African traditions and European expertise. A unique cuisine that is Curacao’s melting pot is guaranteed to tantalize the taste buds while dishing up an authentic slice of island life.
Local menus include fish fresh from the sea like mahi mahi or “dradu” in the language of Papiamento and a red snapper dish called Pika Hasa. Not for the faint of appetite, the national specialty, Keshi Yena, translates to ‘filled cheese’ in Papiamento and is a savory meal of the red-wax covered Gouda cheese stuffed with meat or fish. Made from corn, Funchi is a polenta-like delicacy with a scrumptious blend of cornmeal pudding and rice. For fearless foodies, iguana stew tastes like chicken and is high in protein.
Celebrating the cuisine of Curacao, Angelica’s Kitchen Cooking School is a welcome addition to the culinary horizon. Passionate about food and with a keen business sense, the last thing Angelique Schoop needed was another career but opportunity knocked and she couldn’t resist. Trained as a pharmacist, this gastronomic dynamo is the heart and soul of both the hands-on cooking school and the patisserie Angelica’s Delight that hosts a spirited Happy Hour and champagne brunches with platters of sweets from key lime pie to chocolate mocha bombe.
In a remodeled kitchen in her century-old childhood house in historic Otrobanda, cooking classes accommodate up to thirty-five people who learn to prepare a five-course meal in one evening. From plantain soup and beef Creole stew to pumpkin pancakes drizzled with Curacao liqueur from the island’s factory, a treasure trove of tropical treats await every apron-clad Chef-in-training. Conducted by Angelique’s protégé Clarita Hagenaar, a spoonful of island history goes down nicely with a cocktail and a few salsa tunes as the meal is prepared. “Our philosophy is to prepare food that looks good and tastes wonderful, “Angelique says scurrying about the kitchen painted in sea greens and blues, “For tourists, we teach Caribbean cooking and for locals we teach courses in other specialties like Jamaican cuisine, Cuban cooking and Indian fare.” Classes are also popular with families celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and as a corporate teambuilding event. “Only 10% of the folks who enroll in the classes can actually cook, “she smiles, “the rest just like to eat and learn.”
Word-of-mouth has been the best advertising for Angelica’s Kitchen Cooking School and Angelica’s Delight and with Angelique at the helm; learning to cook is as much a part of a vacation in Curacao as toasting the sunset with a tropical cocktail. “Locals who are regulars to the patisserie also come to the cooking school, “Angelique says, “ and tourists who find us while on holidays always come back .”
Classes are $75.00 per person which includes food and wine and are held from 6 to 10 pm.
- cuminda: food
- pan: bread
- manteca: butter
- keshi: cheese
- Pisca: fish
- beleg: cold cuts
- lechi: milk
- soft or refresco: soda
- mangel: candy
- chupa bebe: A lollipop made in Aruba
- pastechi: similar to pate
- suku: sugar
- salo: salt
- pika: pepper
Angelica’s Pumpkin Pancakes with Curacao Liqueur Sauce
Adapted from Angelica’s Kitchen (www.angelicas-kitchen.com)
800 g pumpkin, peeled (about 1 pound)
200 ml water for boiling
6 tablespoons sugar
200 ml milk (3/4 cup)
200 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of cinnamon
Vegetable oil for frying
8 tablespoons orange juice
4 tablespoons Curacao Liqueur
1 tablespoons orange zest
Peel and seed the pumpkin.
Cut the pumpkin into 1 inch pieces.
Cook the pumpkin in the water for 10-15 minutes until tender.
Mix the fresh orange juice and the Curacao Liqueur in a bowl and refrigerate.
Sieve the pumpkin in a sieve and discard the water.
Cool the pumpkin in the sieve in a bowl of ice water.
In a blender, add the pumpkin, the sugar, the milk, and the egg and blend.
Add the baking powder, the cinnamon and the flour.
Mix well and add more flour if necessary to get a thick consistency.
In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
Spoon approximately ¼ cup of pancake mixture per pancake in the pan and bake the pancakes – 3 to 4 inches round – on both sides to golden brown.
Make 1 – 2 pancakes per person.
Serve 1 or 2 pancakes per person, spoon a little Curacao Liqueur orange sauce on each pancake.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the pumpkin pancakes.
Finish with sauce over the ice cream.
Decorate with orange zest.