With the world’s only Conch Festival rapidly approaching to celebrate the long legacy of conch (pronounced “conk”) in these islands, we thought it would be a good time to highlight the culinary and curative benefits of this momentous mollusk.
Conch is probably the first inhabitant of the Turks and Caicos Islands and has deep historical, economical and cultural significance to the people here.
Anyone who’s visited the Caribbean or even southern Florida will be familiar with conch in popular dishes such as conch chowder, conch salad and conch fritters. The mild flavor and versatile texture of this shellfish means the meat can be used in a wide variety of ways. And, in Turks and Caicos it is.
When you visit Turks and Caicos you will be able to enjoy creative conch creations such as grilled conch, conch ceviche, conch burgers, conch wontons, conch spring rolls and conch pasta. These are dishes you can find on a regular basis. If you come to the Conch Festival (November 24, 2012) you’ll be able to experience a whole day of nothing but conch. In past years at the festival there was conch chili, conch carpaccio and even conch ice cream. Who knows what will be on display this year? Should you miss the Conch Festival, the beachfront Mango Reef Restaurant at the Alexandra Resort has a plethora of Conch and other seafood dishes on the menu.
In addition to tasting great, conch fans know that this sea snail is packed with loads of medicinal benefits and provides one of the highest sources of protein. All parts of the conch are edible. Conch is credited with strengthening the immune system, helping fight off symptoms of stress and even keeping lungs healthy (the blowing of the conch shell, which was done as a form of communications, requires a tremendous amount of respiratory capacity). Perhaps one of the most notable conch-eating benefits is its use as a natural alternative to Viagara. Legend has it that if you eat the worm-like translucent tube found inside the conch it will work as an aphrodisiac.
The Queen Conch is the type of conch found in Turks and Caicos. The meat is prepared fresh and also preserved in sea salt and dried. (There is a folk song here about how the old conch is better than the fresh conch). Its shell was used as a horn for communications and sometimes as building material and decorative pieces.
Eating conch is enjoyable and beneficial. Finding conch is fun and exciting. When you visit us at Alexandra Resort next, be sure to book an outing with Caicos Dream Tours so you can experience conch in its natural environment. The team at Caicos Dream Tours will take you out on a snorkeling excursion where you’ll be able to find live conch hiding out in the sea grass slowly inching their way along the sea floor. It’s an incredible sight.
Then top off the day, try some conch salad!