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Enjoy The Conch Festival with Beach Enclave
Celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S. is full of tradition, but there exists another late November holiday that can offer even more appeal. The Turks and Caicos Conch Festival adds the amenities of warm sandy beaches and luxury ocean view villas.
At the end of each November, residents of this special island community – including guests at the Beach Enclave – come together for a weekend of festivities all centered around the culinary delicacy called the conch.
The Blue Hills beachfront area will be where much of the action happens, including representatives from many area restaurants who will be cooking the conch in all sorts of tasty ways. Participating restaurants on the islands will also be offering conch specials for the duration of the weekend.
The festival is a wonderful way for you and your family to eat your fill of favorite conch dishes as well as try new ones, adding these to your favorite list for future dining experiences. Have you ever tried cracked conches? How about conch fritters? Conch stew? You will get these local favorites and many more unique and tasty treats at The Conch Festival.
Like many public events, the Turks and Caicos Conch Festival was put on hold for a few years during the COVID pandemic. This event and many other favorite public events like Maskanoo in December and New Year’s Day Junkaroo have returned to Providenciales in big ways in 2022, and locals and traveling guests could not be happier.
Although guests at the luxury villas in Providenciales will not likely come to visit only for the exotic food and community festivals, experiencing this special conch event and sampling the delicacies while here can create wonderful long-lasting memories. So, go ahead and add “great food and warm weather” to the list of things you are enjoying about your trip to the islands, compared to the cold climate back home.
Conch, a Caribbean Delicacy
If you are not familiar with the conch, that is OK. They are not as common as they once were in warmer waters of the U.S., including Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. It’s much easier to find them in the Caribbean waters.
They are technically sea snails, but the word ‘conch’ really does sound much more appealing and exotic when you are popping one in your mouth than ‘snail.’ These soft-shelled saltwater mollusks are in the larger shellfish/gastropod family, like clams, oysters, and scallops. They are often described as having a sweeter yet savory flavor, closer to halibut or crab.
Conch like to live in large shells, and expert island chefs have learned the art and skill of removing them from it, so there is plenty of meat to work with. The distinctly shaped shells, when emptied, are also fun to collect, and people are said to be able to hear the ocean if you put them up to your ear. There are several sizes, including the Queen Conch, which is the largest.
What to Expect at The Conch Festival
TCI began the Turks and Caicos Conch Festival in 2004. Conch was already a local delicacy, but regional promoters, including the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, are always looking for new ways to bring people to the area and opportunities to show off the skills of their chefs and restaurants. Blue Hills was chosen as the official festival site since it was one of the earliest settlements in the area.
The event was open to anyone in Providenciales, including visitors to luxury villas in Turks and Caicos. There was also a fun, competitive element that made the event more enjoyable for participants and guests alike: a challenge to the chefs to create new ways to enjoy the conch. Most chefs already know how to make the basic staples like conch fritters, conch stew, and conch salad.
Those who want to take part in what is called the ‘conch-e-tition’ are challenged to make new recipes that can be shared with the crowd. The first year, there were treats like conch wontons, a lot of original salad combos, conch chowder, and conch empanadas. Bay Bistro and Mr. Grouper, two popular restaurants, won top honors that year.
With the exception of the years when COVID canceled the event, new and returning chefs have taken part every year, so there is no end to the conch combos. Winning restaurants and chefs continue to boast about their victories and show off their trophies. There are also cash prizes available for top chefs.
Blue Hills has become similar to a carnival. Along with the food focus, there are vendors selling jewelry, crafts, island souvenirs, and more. There is live music from local bands, area dancers to watch, activities, and a host of other experiences. Some years there are other fun contests to take part in, such as a race to see how many fritters people can eat in a certain amount of time. All of this fun makes it easy for visitors to stay down at the beach all day and night, taking part in this festive event.
Expert tip: purchasing an official festival tasting pass lets you eat your fill of conch dishes all day long, rather than paying for a meal at each restaurant. Plus, there are other Caribbean dishes to enjoy, from appetizers to desserts. Make sure not to forget the tropical drinks!
Beach Enclave's Luxury Villas in Turks and Caicos
There are three Beach Enclave locations in Providenciales that can all provide easy access to and from the Turks and Caicos Conch Festival. These exclusive luxury villas can be found at North Shore, Grace Bay, and Long Bay. They are all known for their privacy, impeccable service from staff, and amazing scenery. Upon their arrival, families receive access to a concierge team to help with their planning, whether they are going to the festival, snorkeling or fishing in the beautiful waters, shopping, taking a scenic drive, looking for beachside yoga, or simply visiting the various beaches.
Guests also have access to a private butler service to help with any requests or needs that might arise. Upon request, a personal chef is available. For ease, Beach Enclave's concierge team can arrange shuttle transportation, a car rental or taxi service.
If the Conch Festival sounds like the perfect addition to your already incredible and fully tailored Beach Enclave adventure, please contact us to assist in curating the perfect itinerary for you and your guests.
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