Que Estás Pasando?
Hey there! Welcome to the wonderful world of La Isla De Encanto Kitchen! We're Shane and Gina, and we're absolutely thrilled to have you join us on this incredible journey where the vibrant and irresistible flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine come alive right here in the heart of Vermont!
Are you ready to embark on a culinary adventure that blends the cherished traditions of Puerto Rico with Vermont's farm-to-table philosophy? Well, get ready for a taste sensation that'll leave you craving more.
Picture this: You're diving into the bold, authentic flavors of Puerto Rico, and guess what? You don't need to hop on a plane to get there. Our kitchen is your passport to the sun-soaked beaches and lively streets of the enchanting island. At Encanto Kitchen, we're not just a kitchen - we're your escape, a cultural celebration, and a fusion of deliciousness.
Speaking of flavors, we're all about the power of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. We're partnering with Vermont's finest farmers and producers to whip up a menu that not only tantalizes your taste buds but also supports our local community. And for those ingredients that cannot be sourced locally, guess where we're turning to? That's right, Puerto Rico! Every bite is a testament to our commitment to quality, sustainability, and a genuine love for incredible food.
But hold on, we can't do this without your support! Our Campaign is in full swing, and we want you to be a part of this scrumptious dream. By backing us, you're not just helping us create a kitchen; you're becoming a patron of culture, a supporter of diversity, and a cherished member of our ever-growing Encanto Kitchen family.
And let's talk about Rewards! We've got something special for all you food enthusiasts out there. From exclusive keepsakes to tantalizing food tastings, a sneak peek at our handmade spices, and even a fully catered meal - there's a treat for everyone. Together, we'll turn Encanto Kitchen into a reality, and you'll be among the very first to experience its enchantment.
Are you ready to help us turn a dream into reality? Encanto Kitchen isn't just a place to get a meal; it's a place to connect, discover, and revel in the vibrant flavors that bring us all together. Your support means the world to us, and it's not just about launching a kitchen; it's about adding to the rich cultural tapestry of Vermont.
Get ready to indulge in the flavors of Puerto Rico, celebrate community, and join us on an unforgettable culinary journey. Let's join forces, click on this link, to bring a slice of paradise to Vermont, one plate at a time. Ready? ¡Vamos a comer! Let's eat!
WOW! It's been a minute since I have posted but so much has happened in the last few months. I am grateful for the breather but to be honest I loved the rush of meeting all of you and hearing what you thought of our food.
We got to serve some incredible corporate lunches that included Target, Ben and Jerry's, Runway Auto, and others. We even did a pop up event at SidePony Boutique in Hinesburg.
So what's going on with Encanto Kitchen?
We are thrilled to announce that Encanto Kitchen is embarking on an incredible journey as we prepare to go into construction for our very own full-time kitchen space! 🏗️🍳
This milestone marks a significant step in out mission to provide our customers with the most delightul and delicious culinary experiences. The dedicated kitchen space will allow us to enhance our services, boost efficiency, and cater to a larger audience.
Here's what you can look forward to:
🔨 State-of-the-Art Design: Our kitchen space is being meticulously planned and designed to optimize workflow, making sure every dish is prepared to perfection.
🏆 Quality & Safety: Encanto Kitchen is committed to adhering to the highest safety and hygiene standards, ensuring that every meal is served with care and cleanliness.
🌱 Sustainability Focus: We are also taking measures to be environmentally conscious, incorporating sustainable practices to minimize our carbon footprint.
🎈 Grand Opening: Be prepared for an extraordinary event when we unveil our new kitchen space! The grand opening promises to be an unforgettable celebration filled with delightful surprises and, of course, mouthwatering treats.
As we progress through this exciting phase, we will keep you updated on our construction journey and share sneak peeks of what's to come. We can't wait to welcome you to our new kitchen and continue the culinary magic that Encanto Kitchen is known for!
Thank you for your unwavering support. Together, we're creating a more flavorful world! 🌮🍰🍲
Stay tuned for more updates, and as always, bon appétit! 🍽️🌟
Meet the matriarch of our family, mi mama. She was one of the most important people in our family. Sadly, she passed away in 2020 and her passing shook all of us. The biggest upset was that she passed away during the 2020 COVID Pandemic and we had to wait until the following year to honor her properly.
Instead of celebrating her 80th birthday in 2021, our family went to Puerto Rico, where she was born, to lay her ashes.
Mom always stressed the importance of education, my daughter would tell you that it was because of mom that she went on to be the first college graduate in our family. Absolutely one of the proudest moments in our family and for my mother.
The memories that her grandchildren hold of their grandmother bringing them to school and fixing their backpacks before they walked in the school doors.
Let's go back to August of 2021, in Puerto Rico, we went to a lot of local stores and it was back to school season. For my daughter, this is her favorite time of year and she walked through all of the school supplies in Walmart. We were in shock when we saw the price of the backpacks - they were ON SALE for $48!
These weren't fancy backpacks, they were made for children and couldn't even hold a water bottle. The average median income in Puerto Rico is $20,474 (DataUSA, 2019), an average of $9.83 per hour. In addition, 52% of the kids in PR have parents that lack secure employment (Annie E Casey Foundation, 2022).
As I mentioned earlier, my daughter alway found the joy in back-to-school shopping and she came up with the idea of Boricua Packs AKA Backpacks for Puerto Rico.
We were all brought up to believe that no one should have to struggle to make education attainable. Anyone that wants to educate themself sees the value in education, or wants to better themselves shouldn't have to worry about finances to get there.
That is why Encanto Kitchen is committed to donating backpacks filled with school supplies to Puerto Rico. Together with our grassroots partners Mi Patria we will make sure that families, children, and schools will have the necessary supplies to not have anyone struggle.
If you would like to help us with our mission, please message us for details on how you can help.
A New Way of Life
The Caribbean is a region of islands and coastal areas located in the Caribbean Sea, south of the United States and east of Central America. The history of the Caribbean has been shaped by a complex mix of Indigenous peoples, European colonization, slavery, and cultural blending.
Before the arrival of Europeans, the Caribbean was home to a variety of Indigenous peoples, such as the Tainos and Caribs. In the late 1400s, Europeans began to explore and colonize the region. The Spanish arrived and established settlements on several islands, including Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico. The French, Dutch, and British also established colonies in the Caribbean, which became important centers of trade and commerce.
The most significant event in Caribbean history was the African slave trade, which began in the 1500s and continued until the mid-1800s. Milliams of Africans were focibly brought to the Caribbean to work on plantations growing crops such as sugar, tabacco, and coffee. The legacy of slavery can still be seen in the region today, including the diverse cultures and languages of the Caribbean.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, many Caribbean nations gained their independence from European colonial powers. Today, the Caribbean is a diverse and vibrant region that is known for its music, food, and culture.
Prior to any contact with the Spanish, the Taino civilization's culture thrived throughout the island of Borikén. The Tainos had their own culture, language, and government structure. Their contact with the Spanish led to a clash of cultures that affected the identity and language development throughout Borikén, most notably in the name of the island, which became Puerto Rico, representing the origins of the Puerto Rican identity a the historical moment the Spanish arrived.
During the Spanish colonization of Puerto Rico, the Taino and Spanish languages influenced each other, leading to the creation of Spanish-Taino creole, which became the standardized form of communication amongst Puerto Ricans. Even though the use of the Taino language declined under Spanish colonization, Taino traditions contributed to the everyday life and language development in Puerto Rico. Their food, music, dances, storytelling, and language became a part of Puerto Rican heritage. Musical instruments such as maracas (rumba shakers) and güiros (percussion instruments), and words like iguana (arboreal lizard) and canoa (canoe) part of that legacy, as well as well barbacoa (barbeque), aji (hot pepper), and arepa (corn cake).
Caribbean cuisine is heavily influenced by Creole cuisine, which emerged from the blending of European, African, and Indigenous cuisines and ingredients in the Caribbean region.
The Creole cuisine in the Caribbean is characterized by its use of spices, herbs, and peppers, as well as a variety of seafood and meats, such as chicken, pork, and beef. Additionally, Creole cuisine makes use of starchy vegetables like yams, cassava, and plantains.
The vibrancy of Puerto Rican culture comes alive in its dishes, a celebration of flavors that is proudly referred to as comida criolla. This literally means Creole food, but it really refers to the island's rich history and mix of cultures - native, Spanish, and African - that make up the traditional cooking on the island.
Examples of Creole influence on Caribbean cuisine is the dish called "callaloo," which is a soup or stew made with leafy green vegetables such as spinach, okra, and taro leaves, combined with seafood or meat, coconut milk, and spices. Callaloo has its roots in West Africa and was brought to the Caribbean by enslaved Africans. Over time, it became a popular dish in the region, with variations found in Jamaica, Trinidad, and other Caribbean countries.
Other popular Caribbean dishes that are influenced by Creole cuisine include "jambalaya," a rice dish with seafood or meats that is similar to the Louisiana Creole dish of the same name, and "roti," a type of flatbread that is filled with curry vegetables and meat, which has its origins in the Indian subcontinent but was adapted to the Caribbean by indentured laborers.
So you see, Caribbean cuisine has a heavy influence - the blending of cultures and cuisines in the region, with Creole cuisine playing a significant role in shaping the food and flavors of the Caribbean.
My DNA Story
Over the last few months I have been sharing about Puerto Rico's rich history, traditions, and festivals. I want to share with you my DNA story.
My mom is the oldest of 3 kids, both my mom and her sister were born on the beautiful enchanted island of Puerto Rico, right in Santurce. Because of family adversity my grandparents left their home and families with their 2 little girls (ages 2 and 1) setting out for New York. The story that has been passed down in my family is one that we still face today, racism. Yes folks, racism happens amongst Puerto Ricans as well and it breaks my heart. During my grandparent's day this is what they called, adelanted la raza better known as Advancement of Race. See my grandfather was darker skin and a chauffeur for my grandmother's family who were very well off and light skin. Let me share with you a bit of their story and then we will get into my DNA.
My grandfather, Venancio, was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Humacao (uma-ka-o) is located in the eastern coast of the island, just north of a town called Yabucoa. This region belonged to the Taino region of Humaka and it was lead by cacique (Chief) Jumacao. I can go on about this region but that would turn into a book, however, I will share this in Yabucoa stood a sugar cane plantation that was inhabitat by slaves. The story for our family goes, that my great-grandmother gave birth to both of her sons in the fields while she worked the crops. All my grandfather's story has ever known was hard work of being a servant, this included him and his siblings. The common denominator from our family is that if there were named Guzman, they were poor and useless but I have never met a more kinder and loving soul than my grandfather. He took the time to help everyone, he too his grandkids to get pizza and ices in Brooklyn, and when he knew that his older grandkids were coming over for a visit he bought them their favorite ice cream and cooked their favorites meals. I was very blessed and fortunate to have been raised by this loving soul.
My grandmother, Carmen, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. What we all know as the capital of Puerto Rico and her family were property owners in Miramar. The reason my grandmother's family were so fortunate, is because they owned a tobacco farm. My great-grandmother Mercedes or as we called her Abba, she could roll a cigar like no other. See back in my great-grandparents time, if they came from prominent households they were given the title of Don and Doña, where the less fortunate were just known by their names or Jibaro (country folk), so my great-grandmother and grandmother were known as Doña Mercedes and Doña Carmen. Anyway, as I said earlier, my grandfather served as the chauffeur to the Barriere family and that is when my grandmother fell in love (insert awes and eye-rolls...lol). My grandmother told her sister, that one day she was going to marry that man and she did in 1940, against her family's wishes and blessing, having a 12 year age difference, my grandfather considered black and my grandmother white - during a time where everything was against them.
Needless to say, that my grandparent's life was far from being easy, even when they moved to Brooklyn, New York but I can tell you this - their home was ALWAYS filled with love. My grandparents were married for 53 years before my grandmother passed away in 1994 and 6 months after her passing, my grandfather left this world because of a broken heart. My heart was never more heavier than the day I witnessed my grandfather's admiration of his wife at her funeral. To me that was nothing more than true love, a legacy I wanted to live up to and something I wish for everyone.
Now onto me - many know that I am Scottish and Puerto Rican, born in good old Bay Shore, New York but I was raised with my Puerto Rican family, so it was only fitting that in 2022 I got my citizenship in Puerto Rico, something that I cherish very much.
But I wanted to share with you all on how truly diverse I am. Are you ready for this?
I am so diversed that I can actually put up my own UN flags outside my home...lol.
But honestly, is that I love how diverse I truly am - I love the cultures, the varities of food and ways of cooking that I absolutely love, the fact that my daughter has red hair, grey/blue eyes, and suburns easily and my son is 6' tall with the same olive complexion of my mother and gets dark during the summer. I am PROUD of who I am and the stock of where I come from. So as you order from my kitchen, please know, that you're ordering from a BIPOC/LGBTQIA+ woman who supports other diverse communities.
TRADITIONS & FESTIVALS
Puerto Rico has a rich history and they celebrate their history with traditions and festivals. As with many areas the festivals are celebrated throughout the year but there is one in particular that my family enjoys the most "La Perla" Weekend Cultural Experience that is celebrated in March.
La Perla is a historical shanty town astride the northern historic city wall of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, stretching about 650 yards along the rocky Atlantic coast immediately east of the Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery and down the slope from Calle Norzagaray.
Initially, the area was the site of a slaughterhouse, El Matadero, because the law required them and homes of former slaves and homeless non-white servants - as well as cemeteries - to be established away from the main community; in this case, outside the city walls. Sometime after, some of the farmers and workers started living around the slaughterhouse and shortly established their houses there.
The barrio (neighborhood) developed a reputation for being dangerous and was neglected by the central government. The community faced pressure from pricate interests that wanted to develop what is now prime real estate in San Juan, but the community resisted.
La Perla's Community Board and other organization have spearheaded tourism development and restoration projects. The most visible launch was in 2017, called "La Perla pinta su futuro" (La Perla Paints Its Future), in which 375 houses were painted bright colors and revitalized. This project is now in its second phase: development or microbusiness offering guided tours of La Perla by residents. Other revitalization projects have included the renovation of Carmel Anthony Basketball Court, the planting of two community gardens, art and music classes for residents, and even a 5K race have all come forth all thanks to community efforts.
It's no wonder why "La Perla" Weekend Cultural Experience is celebrated with pride. Back in 2021, my family and I visited La Perla and we absolutely love everything about it. Check out some of our pictures.
The Rise of La Isla de Encanto Kitchen
Inspired by family traditions and culturale heritage, Shane and Gina are excited for the opportunity to share the distinctive tastes of the Caribbean through family recipes. Not only are they excited to share authentic Puerto Rican food, but they're also excited to share some of the traditions and rich heritage of their ancestors! From the native roots to the Spanish and African influences, Puerto Rican food offers a rich flavor to the vibrant history of the islands.
The love Shane and Gina have for their family recipes has been returned tenfold from the community and now they are proud to announce they have partnered with The Mill Market in South Burlington and will be preparing pre-ordered meals for pickup from their kitchen at 1580 Dorset Street, South Burlington, VT.