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Martinique

Taste of the Caribbean: Plein Soleil

Taste of the Caribbean: Plein Soleil
Patrick Bennett

Look at your meal, now back to this photo, now back at your meal, now back to this. Sadly this isn’t your meal, but it would be if you were at Plein Soleil, a tres-chic boutique hotel nestled in the hills above the seaside town of Le Francois in Martinique.

A sublime expression of exquisite style, exclusive amenities and exceptional service Plein Soleil has only 16 guestrooms and suites spread among five colourful villas. Each villa is designed in the style of traditional Martinican creole cases, or petite houses adorned with wooden fretwork. Though sharing the same architectural style, each villa is unique in its own special way, with some seemingly carved from the hillside, further accentuating the property’s transcendent union with nature.

But let’s get back to the food. You’d never know it by its artful presentation and exceptional flavor, but the meals here are prepared by a young man barely old enough to rent a car in the Caribbean. Executive Chef Nathanael Ducteil is only 25, though he displays a wizardry in the kitchen well beyond his years. A native of Martinique and former apprentice to famed French celebrity chef Alain Ducasse, Chef Ducteil combines quintessential French cuisine with the best of Creole cooking traditions to create some of the most inventive dishes this side of Paris.

Upon our last visit to Plein Soleil in November 2009, we enjoyed the treasure pictured above – perfectly prepared fresh marlin with yam gnocchi and christophines. Not surprisingly, we can’t wait to get back there in May.

Bon appetit, indeed!

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