July 24, 2024

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Food Travel Review: The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island

Food Travel Review: The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton Resort at Amelia Island. (DOUG POWELSON)

It is so simple to take island daily life for granted. So easy to float across its intricate waterways, look out to the sandy white shorelines the place pirates when retreated for respite, zip by record-laden settlements, and miss out on the intricate facts of luxury, the towering dunes, the nuances of fantastic provider, and whispers of experience waiting to transpire alongside the way. Prolonged right before it was a getaway spot or caught in the throes of colonial possession by pirates and swashbucklers, the indigenous Timucua men and women settled on what is now recognized as Amelia Island all-around 1000 B.C. and referred to as the spot Napoyca.

It is so considerably north it is practically Georgia but distinctly Florida in a delicate way.

Steeped in record and exquisite modernity, trekking to Amelia Island is the quintessential weekend getaway excursion. The island has a background comprehensive of drama, secrets and techniques, and suspenseful discoveries. Nonetheless, the luxurious The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island vacation resort and bordering seashore cities are a concealed gem.

Perched on the edge of the southernmost idea of the majestic Sea Islands and the northernmost of the barrier islands on Florida’s Atlantic coast, it is 2.5 several hours absent and like getting into one more dimension and becoming transported to a specific time and location.

Driving down A1A, which will take you more than to the island, appropriate into the heart of Fernandina Beach front, you are met with small-city appeal with boutique outlets, independently owned places to eat, and peach-colored cityscapes bordering the marina, versus a backdrop of distinct blue skies, with rain clouds in the distance.

I was energized to revel in the latest, vacation-worthy epicurean ordeals at the Ritz-Carlton for a person reason by yourself: fraternizing with award-successful chefs and mixologists and partaking in a special dining journey. It pleasantly astonished me to see a highlight on fantastic female and Mexican American cooks with an emphasis on seafood-ahead cuisine. Every meal brought high electrical power, with Broadway present presentation top quality devoid of the memorable exhibit tunes and obstructed seating sights.

“Chef Theater” entree Halibut with artichoke hearts. (DOUG POWELSON)

The star of the show is the AAA 5-star Diamond-rated Salt restaurant. With chef Okan Kizilbayir at the kitchen’s helm, his amazing resumé follows him like an overstuffed chest of treasures to behold. Prior to landing in Florida, he served as sous chef at Le Bernardin, the 3-Michelin Star great-eating seafood cafe led by Eric Ripert in Manhattan. In advance of that, he was the sous chef at Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. 1 of the newest additions to the culinary offerings that chef Kizilbayir perfected invites company to have interaction with the celebrated in-home expertise as a result of personal dinners, cooking classes, and personal tastings that honor neighborhood purveyors, in-time deliver, and perfection in culinary system.

The “Chef’s Theater” practical experience with the chefs from the five other resort restaurant qualities and Okan is a spotlight. This culinary encounter is out there as a mid-day/lunch expertise the regular cooking demonstration showcases unique tactics, dishes, and encounters for company.


We savored chef Okan’s “ode to spring” and assistant pastry chef Heidi Kabath’s presentation of Salt’s signature dessert, the chocolate soufflé. The only point lacking was a few chords from Vivaldi’s well known concerto. Like a phase production with lighting, technical assist crew timed entrances and exits paired with wine, cocktails, and the beach as the backdrop is an immersive affair. Citrus-poached spring artichoke hearts, contemporary fava beans, fennel fronds, and shaved black summer truffles were prepped in front of our eyes.

The up coming factor I realized, a glistening, silver-streaked fish with flashes of aquamarine was wheeled into the theater neé eating area: a total, clean halibut. Armed with boning and utility knives, chef-created brief operate of the contemporary haul, and medallions of the filet produced their way to a very hot pan with melted butter, ramps, morels, white asparagus, and a cream sauce. His govt sous chef and chef d’ cuisine was standing by, at the completely ready, to whisk just about every element back to the kitchen area to put the ending touches on our plates. A disk of milk chocolate sat jauntily on the side of the chocolate tower as we poured ramekins of vanilla bean flecked creme Anglais around the piping sizzling dessert. The result was a creamy, moist centre with a nutty edge of sweetness on just about every chunk. Decadent and symphonious, I could not support but applaud this food.

Despite the fact that it’s just 3 miles from downtown Fernandina Seaside, there is no want to undertaking considerably from the confines of the resort property to get a dose of vitamin sea, enjoy outdoor pursuits, or have 5-star services. Just take one of the day by day home tours with one particular of the resort’s in-house naturalists to get an up-close and individual look at flora and fauna, native and invasive, around the island. Bike driving, climbing, and turtle seeing incorporate normal scenery with The Ritz-Carlton’s signature substantial-end aesthetic.

Chef Kizilbayir onstage at “Chef Theater.” (DOUG POWELSON)

About 40 miles of bicycle paths are simply available from the resort. Cycling under the shady cover of oaks and Spanish moss with the sea breeze whistling in your ear and waving by your hair as you trip to the historic American Seaside and see NaNa, Florida’s tallest dune, or in tandem with the shoreline, is pure poetry.

Skim the location and explore this halt on Florida’s Black Heritage Trail, frequented by Black Americans to escape the state’s segregation guidelines. Established in 1935 by Abraham Lincoln Lewis, Florida’s to start with black millionaire and president of the Afro-American Everyday living Insurance coverage Firm, they detailed it on the Nationwide Sign-up of Historic Destinations in 2002. It served as an idyllic getaway for famed sunbathers like Ray Charles, Zora Neale Hurston, Hank Aaron and James Brown, and me. I utilised the partnership The Ritz-Carlton has with Mercedes-Benz and reserved use of a automobile to take a look at the nearby American Beach.

Following a day of exploration, the only issues still left to do are dine and chill out.

Each individual home and suite has a non-public balcony and a check out of the ocean. Waking up to the faint crashing of waves on the beach front and becoming swayed by the breeze transferring through the leaves of the indigenous date palm trees is idyllic and comforting. A trip to the resort resort spa extends that rest. An indoor oasis with a heated out of doors pool and waterfall is the best placing to immerse your self in pure bliss. Spa therapy selections include things like ocean salt scrubs, sizzling stone massages, CBD oil remedies, and Chakra-aligning crystal function. End your time in a person of the peace rooms or head to a single of the heated vacation resort pools for poolside snacks.

Resort mascot Amelia the Parrot. (DOUG POWELSON)

The seafood is the star of the present at the Ritz-Carlton dining establishments, every presented in its exceptional type.

  • Coastline is the most seasonally influenced, providing locally sourced fish and seafood.
  • Coquina can take a Latin approach, with bracingly clean capture-of-the-day ceviche, table facet-produced guacamole, and whole roasted fish wrapped in banana leaves.
  • Tidewater Grille is an upscale sporting activities bar with sliders and grilled classics, with a Lowcountry truly feel.
  • The Foyer Bar begins delighted hour with the ring of a bell for “First Get in touch with,” which heralds a new infused whiskey each individual day together with boatloads of fresh new sushi dishes created in the open bar.

The depth and breadth of almost everything this swift island getaway island offers know no bounds. Be geared up to get shed though locating oneself amidst a family vacation filled with luxury and magnificence.