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Foodstuff Vacation Review: The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island

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

It’s so straightforward to take island lifestyle for granted. So effortless to float throughout its intricate waterways, appear out to the sandy white seashores where pirates when retreated for respite, zip by heritage-laden settlements, and overlook the intricate specifics of luxury, the towering dunes, the nuances of extraordinary assistance, and whispers of adventure waiting around to occur alongside the way. Very long right before it was a trip location or caught in the throes of colonial possession by pirates and swashbucklers, the indigenous Timucua individuals settled on what is now acknowledged as Amelia Island all-around 1000 B.C. and termed the spot Napoyca.

It’s so significantly north it is virtually Ga but distinctly Florida in a subtle way.

Steeped in historical past and stylish modernity, trekking to Amelia Island is the quintessential weekend getaway journey. The island has a record total of drama, techniques, and suspenseful discoveries. Continue to, the high-class The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island vacation resort and bordering beach towns 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 hrs absent and like getting into yet another dimension and currently being transported to a unique time and place.

Driving down A1A, which normally takes you more than to the island, appropriate into the heart of Fernandina Beach, you’re met with little-city appeal with boutique outlets, independently owned places to eat, and peach-colored cityscapes bordering the marina, against a backdrop of clear blue skies, with rain clouds in the distance.

I was enthusiastic to revel in the newest, vacation-deserving epicurean ordeals at the Ritz-Carlton for a person cause by itself: fraternizing with award-profitable cooks and mixologists and partaking in a unique eating experience. It pleasantly astonished me to see a highlight on excellent feminine and Mexican American cooks with an emphasis on seafood-ahead cuisine. Each food introduced significant electrical power, with Broadway present presentation high quality with out the unforgettable clearly show tunes and obstructed seating sights.

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

The star of the exhibit is the AAA 5-star Diamond-rated Salt cafe. With chef Okan Kizilbayir at the kitchen’s helm, his outstanding resumé follows him like an overstuffed upper body of treasures to behold. Before landing in Florida, he served as sous chef at Le Bernardin, the 3-Michelin Star wonderful-dining seafood cafe led by Eric Ripert in Manhattan. Just before that, he was the sous chef at Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. A single of the latest additions to the culinary choices that chef Kizilbayir perfected invitations guests to engage with the celebrated in-property expertise by personal dinners, cooking classes, and private tastings that honor area purveyors, in-season deliver, and perfection in culinary system.

The “Chef’s Theater” working experience with the cooks from the 5 other vacation resort cafe houses and Okan is a highlight. This culinary knowledge is accessible as a mid-day/lunch knowledge the regular cooking demonstration showcases various tactics, dishes, and experiences for friends.


We relished chef Okan’s “ode to spring” and assistant pastry chef Heidi Kabath’s presentation of Salt’s signature dessert, the chocolate soufflé. The only matter lacking was a handful of chords from Vivaldi’s well known concerto. Like a phase generation with lighting, technological 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, fresh fava beans, fennel fronds, and shaved black summer truffles have been prepped in entrance of our eyes.

The subsequent point I knew, a glistening, silver-streaked fish with flashes of aquamarine was wheeled into the theater neé dining home: a total, refreshing halibut. Armed with boning and utility knives, chef-made speedy function of the fresh new haul, and medallions of the filet manufactured their way to a hot pan with melted butter, ramps, morels, white asparagus, and a cream sauce. His executive sous chef and chef d’ delicacies was standing by, at the all set, to whisk every ingredient again to the kitchen to position the finishing touches on our plates. A disk of milk chocolate sat jauntily on the facet of the chocolate tower as we poured ramekins of vanilla bean flecked creme Anglais about the piping warm dessert. The outcome was a creamy, moist centre with a nutty edge of sweetness on each and every chunk. Decadent and symphonious, I could not enable but applaud this meal.

While it’s just a few miles from downtown Fernandina Beach front, there’s no need to enterprise considerably from the confines of the vacation resort assets to get a dose of vitamin sea, get pleasure from outside pursuits, or have 5-star services. Take just one of the day-to-day assets excursions with one of the resort’s in-dwelling naturalists to get an up-close and individual seem at flora and fauna, native and invasive, close to the island. Bike driving, hiking, and turtle looking at blend organic scenery with The Ritz-Carlton’s signature substantial-finish aesthetic.

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

In excess of 40 miles of bike paths are effortlessly available from the vacation resort. Cycling below the shady canopy of oaks and Spanish moss with the sea breeze whistling in your ear and waving by your hair as you experience to the historic American Seashore and see NaNa, Florida’s tallest dune, or in tandem with the coastline, is pure poetry.

Skim the space and explore this cease on Florida’s Black Heritage Trail, frequented by Black Us citizens to escape the state’s segregation legislation. Launched in 1935 by Abraham Lincoln Lewis, Florida’s initially black millionaire and president of the Afro-American Lifestyle Insurance plan Enterprise, they listed it on the Nationwide Sign up of Historic Sites 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 auto to discover the close by American Seaside.

Following a working day of exploration, the only matters still left to do are dine and rest.

Each individual room and suite has a non-public balcony and a view of the ocean. Waking up to the faint crashing of waves on the beach and being swayed by the breeze moving via the leaves of the indigenous day palm trees is idyllic and relaxing. A vacation to the lodge vacation resort spa extends that peace. An indoor oasis with a heated outdoor pool and waterfall is the excellent setting to immerse yourself in pure bliss. Spa treatment alternatives include things like ocean salt scrubs, warm stone massages, CBD oil treatments, and Chakra-aligning crystal work. Stop your time in a person of the rest rooms or head to a person of the heated vacation resort pools for poolside snacks.

Vacation resort mascot Amelia the Parrot. (DOUG POWELSON)

The seafood is the star of the exhibit at the Ritz-Carlton restaurants, each presented in its one of a kind fashion.

  • Coastline is the most seasonally impressed, featuring domestically sourced fish and seafood.
  • Coquina normally takes a Latin approach, with bracingly fresh new capture-of-the-working day ceviche, table aspect-produced guacamole, and complete roasted fish wrapped in banana leaves.
  • Tidewater Grille is an upscale sports activities bar with sliders and grilled classics, with a Lowcountry come to feel.
  • The Lobby Bar commences delighted hour with the ring of a bell for “First Contact,” which heralds a new infused whiskey each working day alongside boatloads of fresh new sushi dishes established in the open bar.

The depth and breadth of everything this fast island getaway island provides know no bounds. Be organized to get missing while getting your self amidst a trip filled with luxury and attractiveness.