There’s nothing like terra firma and the chance to freshen your stores after a long sea voyage. Here’s a rundown of where you’ll find a selection of the finest foods and beverages on several islands.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
Pueblo, Plaza Extra, and Food Center are the three mainland-type stores on St. Thomas. In spite of their size and abundant stock, your grocery bill overall can be 20% or more higher than the U.S. mainland. That’s because virtually all food products must be shipped into the territory, mostly out of Florida and occasionally from other islands.
The place for produce is The Fruit Bowl, located in Wheatley Center. “Yachts are looking for more fresh produce these days. We source from both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere in order to have a good selection year round,” says manager, David Goldberg.
The Marina Market in Red Hook and Gourmet Gallery, with locations at Crown Bay Marina and Havensight, are upscale grocery stores where you’ll find fantastic meats (especially at Marina Market), full delis with restaurant-quality selections, and fresh baked goods.
Yacht Haven Grande offers full yacht provisioning. “If it’s on-island we can have it for you in a day. Beyond that, or for something really unusual, it all comes down to how much you’re willing to pay and the time factor. Give us 48 hours and we can get virtually anything,” says director of purchasing, Martin Acevedo.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Riteway Supermarket and Bobby’s Market Place are the two main supermarkets on Tortola, with the main stores of each located in Road Town. Both offer a variety of fresh produce, meats and seafood, baked goods and liquors. They each also have on-line provision ordering. Bobby’s offers hot and cold deli service, and there’s usually has a long line of local patrons at lunchtime. Riteway has smaller outlets at Wickham’s Cay I, by Fort Burt and at the Nanny Cay Marina. The Ample Hamper, with locations at the Inner Harbour Marina in Road Town and Frenchman’s Cay Marina in the West End, is a gourmet grocery with a nice wine selection and Cryovac meats, poultry and fish that are ideal on boats.
Around the BVI, Buck’s Food Market in the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor is among the biggest supermarkets on this island. The Bitter End Yacht Club’s Emporium has fresh foods, deli items, a small assortment of dry goods and fresh baked goods that come from the resort’s kitchen. There are only small, limited, superettes on Jost Van Dyke and Anegada. But, both boast great bakeries. Christine’s Bakery is on Jost, and look for Pam’s Kitchen on Anegada.
ST. MAARTEN/ST. MARTIN
A daily Air France flight from Paris assures the restaurants and gourmet food stores have the latest French specialties such as pate, imported cheeses, and fine chocolates and baked goods.
On the Dutch side, there’s a Cost-U-Less, a warehouse store good for stocking up on large quantities. The Lido Food Center, formerly Ram’s Food World in Cole Bay, has a nice selection of fresh produce and hot and cold deli items. Le Grande Marche, located on the roundabout on the way to Phillipsburg, is the island’s largest supermarket. It’s got a variety of ethnic and vegetarian foods as well as fresh items. Another large supermarket is Sang’s Super Center, located near Bobby’s Marina in Phillipsburg.
On the French side, definitely the place to satisfy your cravings for many foods French and European is at Match Supermarket. It’s located in the Howell Center in Marigot. The U.S. Supermarche has a smaller branch in Grand Case.
As for provisioning, Jane Harrison, at Mega Yacht Services, at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club, says, “Rum, special wines and quality fish and meats are popular as they may be hard to find on other islands. However, we’ll supply almost anything as long as we have advance notice.”
There are many supermarkets on Antigua. Among the most convenient for cruisers are Dockside Liquors & Supermarket at the Antigua Yacht Club marina in English Harbour, and Bailey’s Supermarket in Falmouth.
John Grosvalds, yacht-provisioning consultant for Island Provision Ltd. and Best Cellars Wines & Spirits, located 10 minutes from St. Johns, says, “Over the last few years, we’ve added sushi grade tuna, fresh live mussels, live oysters, beluga caviar, and Certified Black Angus beef to our inventory.” New this season, “We’ll be bringing in fresh zucchini flowers, snow crab claws and live Maine lobsters.” Island Provision offers daily deliveries to all the marinas in Antigua.
Super J is the largest supermarket chain on the island, formerly J Q Supermarkets and Julian’s Supermarket until the two merged under the Consolidated Foods Ltd. banner and became simply Super J. Beyond this, there’s Glace Motors Supermarket in Gros Islet, Allain’s Supermarket in Soufriere and Community Mart in Vieux Fort. The fresh produce market in Castries is definitely the place to go for produce. There are also stalls here serving locally prepared foods.
The new Marigourmet Supermarket, at the Marina Village at Marigot Bay, offers a well-stocked variety of items. “Everyone has their own style of eating, depending on where they’re coming from, but in general cereals, spaghetti sauce, sausages, portion control meats, fresh vegetables, spring water and local rum are favorites,” says store manager, Raoul Massé.
In the upcoming year, Massé says, “We do plan to import more products from Europe like French wines and also marmalade, chocolates and a variety of other canned foods. We also offer the widest variety of French cheeses on the island, and with Christmas and New Year’s approaching, we’re trying to import some game and also Christmas cake and chocolates.”
Foodfair (Carenage and Grand Anse), Foodland-IGA (Market Square, St. George’s and Lagoon Road) and Real Value (Spiceland Mall, Grand Anse) are the three main grocery stores on the island. In addition, the fresh produce and spice market in the center of St. George’s is worth a visit, especially if you’re willing to get there between 5 and 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings.
Spronk’s Provisioning, in True Blue, St. George’s, is the place to go for provisioning. “Most popular items cruisers like to stock up on are sashimi tuna, Chilean salmon fillets, mahi-mahi fillets, grouper fillets, beef tenderloin steaks, duck breast and Angus beef burgers – all vacuum-packed,” says Claire Budhall. Beyond this, Spronk’s is most known for sourcing “black mussels, clams, large sea scallops, black tiger shrimp, oysters and sushi supplies.”
“There are several options for provisioning in Trinidad,” says Gina Carvalho, YSATT’s administrator. There’s the smaller Hi Lo Express at CrewsInn and larger format Hi Lo Food Store located about 20 minutes drive outside of Chaguaramas. Dockside Supermarket at Power Boats has a small, but ample supply of items, and is happy to order in advance for cruisers who’d like something particular.
PriceSmart is a warehouse format store that has a real soup-to-nuts variety. It’s located in the MovieTowne Shopping Complex about 35 minutes drive outside of Chaguaramas. If you want meats, check out Malabar Meats located in St. James and a half hour drive from Chaguaramas. Cuts are vacuum-sealed for easy traveling. The Central Market in Port of Spain offers fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lots of fish and shrimp.