Pandama Winery and Retreat- A Mesmerizing Paradise For The Mind, Body And Soul

November 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

There are only a few places on planet earth that can offer the peace and serenity that we often seek. It’s even harder to find a place where one can seek
spiritual alignment, connect with nature and the positive natural energy that flows deep within. Pandama Retreat, along the Linden/ Soesdyke Highway of Guyana, is one such paradise that nourishes the mind, body and soul. Its scenery, comprising of the most beautiful flora that Guyana has to offer, is enough to mesmerize the senses. At Pandama you will experience diverse cultures and nurture amazing new friendships, while enjoying a very unique experience. The Retreat caters for any occasion; be it wedding ceremonies, commitment ceremonies or family outings. Just a few minutes from the Soesdyke Main Road, the Retreat proves to be easily accessible. Bird watching is also one of the activities that is offered at the Retreat. In fact, Pandama is home to over 128 species of birds. Birders and wildlife photographers have recently been frequenting the retreat to be the first to discover each new species. Birding packages are also available there. The Retreat also offers fishing and swimming activities, gift shopping, reiki classes, and for the moment you have been waiting for – camping! This one of a kind paradise offers a fully functional campground for picnics and reunions. Their bunk station can very comfortably accommodate 20 adults in their cool, shaded camping area. While there, you can sample some of the tastiest wines this side of the hemisphere has to offer. In 2012, Pandama Wines received the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) President’s award for “Best New Product” in Guyana. Pandama products are available in Guyana at Bounty Supermarkets, the Guyana Shop and DSL Cash and Carry among other leading supermarkets and stores countrywide. “I remember sitting in our back yard in Charlotte, North Carolina with my wife, Tracy, when a very interesting conversation ensued. Tracy intimated that she wanted to start making soap again – Tracy had manufactured her own soap for several years. I remember indicating to her that I always wanted to make my own wine, and I was going to start researching the process. I read everything that I could get my hands on about wine making and decided to invest in the equipment.” Those were the words of the owner of Pandama Winery and Retreat, Mr. Warren Douglas. Warren is a native of Guyana and veteran of the United States Navy. He was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia aboard the U.S Navy’s amphibious assault aircraft carrier USS Guadalcanal. Warren was a member of the crew that
was involved in military conflicts in Grenada and Libya. This crew was also involved in numerous peacekeeping missions in the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. He received his Bachelor’s degree aboard ship through PACE (Program for Afloat College Education) while stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. Warren resided in Virginia for 21 years. Tracy and Warren lived in Charlotte, North Carolina until 2009, then moved to Guyana to co-create Pandama Retreat, Winery & Centre for the Creative Arts. They have two children, Chaz and Tielle and one grandson, Lennox. Warren continued that his first batch of wine was made from North Carolina peaches, and it was a homerun after he introduced it to his friends and family all
across the United States. “I continued to make wine and we gave bottles as gifts at parties and gatherings. When Tracy and I decided to move to
Guyana to live, I knew that wine making would be a major part of the Pandama Retreat experience. With the proliferation of exotic fruits in Guyana, it didn’t take much time for Pandama Wines to come into being. We currently offer several fruit wines which include Pineapple, Jamoon, Aunty Desmond, Noni, Cherry, Malacca Pear, Duka, Carambola and Sorrel. We will continue to develop new flavours periodically,” Mr. Douglas said. Pandama Wines also offers Pulse, a libido enhancement tonic wine which is made from barks native to Guyana and the Amazon Basin. It is a real treat and has gotten rave reviews from ladies and gentlemen alike. Mr. Douglas said that Pandama has received great reviews over the past couple of years since it began its operation in 2009 and they intend to make their products available in as many places as possible. While admitting that there is a real need for quality local wines in Guyana, their products have made it to many tables in the United States and the United Kingdom during the holiday seasons. “We intend to keep things moving. Our focus is not mass production, but rather providing a quality product that is satisfying to all of our customers,” he added.

Weight Loss Maintenance Plan

August 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Crucial to any weight loss and maintenance plan is bearing in mind the importance of eating lighter as the day progresses, eating smaller amounts more often, minimizing on bad carbohydrates and using more protein-rich foods.
These are steps that will show results gradually and not drastically. It is important to understand that achieving an optimal weight is a journey and not a destination, so we need to focus on the process that leads us there.
Ensuring that we blend the above with the following plans should enable us to maintain a healthy and productive body.

Use more water
Drinking water improves our metabolism which will prevent unnecessary weight gain. Water also improves our hydration which has a direct effect on preventing us from overeating. It also helps to give us a feeling of fullness, thus preventing us from eating or drinking something else. The average healthy man should drink 13 cups (3 liters) of fluids per day while the average woman should drink 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluids per day.

Less processed more natural
Today’s pre-packaged convenience foods have been processed and altered to the point of being virtually unrecognizable, nutritionally, from the real deal. They have less nutrition and more calories, especially Trans fats, which are known to raise bad cholesterol levels. What’s even worse, is processed foods have a direct link with increasing ones risk for cancers, heart disease, diabetes, just to list a few. Avoiding pre-packaged or preserved foods will therefore help in maintaining a healthy weight and, of course, a healthy life.

One cannot stress enough on the importance of exercise. While we can control our weight by what we put in (eat), we may falter some days and therefore exercise is needed to help “burn off” additional calories. The center of disease control recommends that we do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity each week. So we should be having between 11 to 22 minutes of heavy to moderate intensity activity daily if we want to maintain our body weight. Moderate intensity aerobic activity includes biking at a casual pace, walking briskly, actively playing with children etc. Heavy intensity aerobic activity includes running, swimming, competitive sports (football, cricket, basketball) etc.
Reward yourself
Every so often we will have cravings. Rewarding ourselves once a week with a meal that we crave that may be high in calories can be permitted, but we must make up for it with extra exercise. An important part of losing weight is pleasing our minds also. We wouldn’t want to miss out on all the delicious food for the rest of our lives. But careful planning and adherence can allow us to try the not so healthy ones occasionally.

My thoughts are, if we adhere to this plan, we should be able to maintain a healthy weight. I’ll be sure to put it into practice. It’s never too late to change how we eat and live. Once there is life there is an opportunity to make a change. It’s important to realize that we can reverse years of damage to our bodies by deciding to raise our standards for ourselves, then living differently. Old wounds heal, injuries repair, and the whole system improves with just a few changes in what we put into our bodies and how we move them.

Umami- Making the Guyanese Taste Magical and Unforgettable

August 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Already leaving an unforgettable mark in the multimillion dollar industry of flavour engineering, is chemist Chris Persaud, along with his wife, Chanchal. They aspire to add their bit of “mystery” to the local, culinary, traditional dishes with their company, Umami Incorporated. They are manufacturers of high end sauces and condiments which can be found in most supermarkets in and around Georgetown or even at the stalls at Bourda or Stabroek Markets.
In an exclusive interview, Persaud gave some insight into his passion for food chemistry, his business and his plans for expansion.
Persaud was born June 26, 1981 and grew up in Cummings Street. As a young boy, he was always fond of the sciences and that passion exhibited itself during his days at St. Margret’s Primary School, Saint Stanislaus High and even when he did his A Levels at Queen’s College. It was no surprise that he would move on to the University of Guyana and successfully graduate with his Degree in Chemistry.
“I always had a flair for trying to figure out how to add that secret ingredient or flavor to my food, hence I studied food chemistry which enabled me to truly understand how victuals interact with our body. I knew that one day I would want to venture into business studies but chemistry was my priority. My father always told me that a doctor can be a businessman but the reverse cannot happen in a heartbeat and so that is another reason why I pursued chemistry. Since I started my business, I have just been driven by the desire to master every aspect of it, which is why I started my Masters in Economics at Heirot Watt University in London,” Persaud asserted.
But his love for chemistry was fashioned by years of experience which he acquired while working with one of the most reputable Caribbean condiments company –Baron Products. He worked there for ten years moving up the ranks from chemist to respected Board member. He would then move on to work on a similar yet unique company of his own—Umami. Persaud explained that Umami, pronounced ou¬ma¬me, is Japanese for pleasant, savoury taste. He said that the use of that particular name came about because of his love for the Japanese culture, traditions, their efficiency and discipline in mastering their craft.
On all of the fifteen bottled condiments that his company produces, there are five circles on the logo, four of which represent sweet, sour, salt and bitter. He said that the fifth circle is the Umami taste. The colours of the logo also represent the national flag, the Golden Arrow Head.
The young entrepreneur said that the company was incorporated in May 2013, but actually made its first dollar in November of that year; hence the anniversary of the company is celebrated in that month.
“My wife and I consider ourselves true patriots. We love the fact that we have something that is Guyanese and that people in and out of Guyana are able to share in our taste. And it all goes back to my love for creating the things which give food that magical mystery. It is a fulfilling feeling when persons can tell you that they really enjoy the quality of our product. It means a lot because each product was carefully and uniquely designed to provide a taste that is fresh and local and most importantly, can attract attention on the international stage,” Persaud added.
The chemist said that his manufacturing company, though relatively young, has already penetrated markets throughout the length and breadth of the country and after accepting proposals from regional and international markets, the Guyanese product is also represented abroad. He mentioned some of these territories to be Tortola, St. Martin and the USA.
He noted that currently, the company has 16 different products with their factory located in Lusignan. Some of these include: pepper sauce, Chinese sauce, blended green seasoning, Bar¬B¬Que sauce, tomato ketchup, and garlic sauce.
The businessman noted however, that starting his now successful company did not come easy.
“When we started out, it was tough. I mean every hurdle or obstacle a new
business would encounter, we had to deal with . When we first brought out our products there were the usual comments like “oh this looks Chinese”, “I don’t know these people so I’m sticking to what I know”, etc., but given our persistence and drive and belief in our product, we were able to achieve brand loyalty and provide customers these quality products at an affordable price. For me, it’s about quality and making this taste part of the culinary traditions,” the chemist said.
He added, “A lot of thought went into the packaging because there is a myriad of foreign products that you have to compete with in the markets and that means you have less time to capture the attention of the consumer. And so we had to import the materials to bottle and package it to have a very attractive product. But we are most proud of the content of the product. It is all fresh and natural and provided by local farmers.”
Persaud said that soon, he hopes to start providing the very packaging materials he is importing for his products.
He said that his company plans on expanding by manufacturing edible oils too.
Persaud asserted, “There is a really good market out there for edible oils like soya bean oil. There is tremendous scope for it out there.”
The chemist concluded, “At the end of the day, we are pleased with the support we are given from Guyanese throughout the country and we just really want to thank them for making Umami their first choice. It is important to support your own. And we are again, elated to be welcomed into the kitchens of the Guyanese family as they add the fifth taste to their everyday dishes.”
Umami has copped several top national awards for their signature look and taste.
Two of these include a special honour , that being the President’s Award from the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association; and “the Business of the Year” Award from the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Traditional Guyanese Recipes for Christmas

January 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

No matter how many Butterball turkeys we purchase, or how much eggnog and apple cider we drink, a Guyanese Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without adding the cultural panache of its cuisine.
Once you taste local treats such as pepperpot, black cake, and garlic pork served in some homes, you would agree that there’s nothing that can come close to traditional Guyanese Christmas foods.
Pepperpot is an Amerindian-derived dish. It is a stewed meat dish made with spices, cassareep (a special sauce made from the cassava root) and other basic ingredients, including Caribbean hot peppers. Beef, pork and mutton are the most popular meats used. It is also Guyana’s national dish.
Pepperpot is popularly served with dense, Guyanese-style homemade or home-style bread, although, like most foods, it can be eaten however one chooses — be it with rice, cassava, or cassava bread.
Like the original Amerindian version, pepperpot is usually made in a large pot, and can be reheated and eaten over several days, because the cassareep preserves the meat.
Here is a guide on how to prepare this treasured Guyanese dish, among other traditional Guyanese foods and beverages that are permanent features during the Christmas season. (Recipes adopted from What’s Cooking Guyana)


2 pig trotters or 1 cow heel
2 lb stewing steak or brisket
8 oz pickled meat
2lb ox tail
¼ pt cassareep
2 red peppers
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
3 cloves
2oz sugar
Salt to taste

Wipe and clean meat thoroughly;
Put heel or trotters in pan. Cover with water and bring to boil. Skim;
When half tender, add other meats, and hot water to cover. Cook for about 1 hour;
Add other ingredients and simmer until meat is tender. Adjust flavour for salt and sugar;
Serve hot.

Serves Eight.

Note: This dish develops more flavour when left over a period of days. It must be reheated to boiling point each day.

garlic-porkGarlic Pork

3 lbs of pork at least one (1) inch thick; tender cuts are preferred
12 large cloves garlic
½ cup of fresh thyme leaves (stem reserved) or
2 tbsp. of dried Thyme
8-10 wiri-wiri peppers
1 ½ tbsp. sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 cups of white distilled vinegar
2 cups of boiled water (brought to room temp.)
3-4 whole cloves
3 additional cloves of garlic, unpeeled
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

Wipe the meat clean with a damp cloth or paper towel;
Using a sharp knife, make little gashes into the meat on both sides. Grind the garlic, thyme, and wiri-wiri peppers in a food processor/mortar and pestle, then pour this seasoning rub in a small bowl;
Using a butter knife or your fingers, spread a generous amount to fill the small gashes in the meat;
Salt and pepper both sides, reserving ½ tsp salt;
Rub any left-over seasoning mixture on meat slices;
Using a wide-mouthed glass jar, start by layering pieces of seasoned meat, stacking until all meat has been placed in the jar;
Combine vinegar and water, and pour cautiously into the jar of layered meat until meat is covered by two inches;
Gently shake the jar to distribute meat evenly, and place thyme stems and cloves in the jar. Add three cloves of unpeeled garlic, as part of the garnish, and the peppercorns.
Place additional sprigs of thyme on top of jar, or slide it down the sides;
Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and seal jar tightly;
Store in a cool dark place (not refrigerator), and let it rest for 3-5 days;
After curing period, drain meat on a rack, and discard liquid. Do not allow seasoning in the gashes to fall out;
In a skillet, pour 3 tbsp. Canola oil;
Pan-fry on medium heat, until nicely browned for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and serve with crusty bread and ginger beer, or desired beverage.

fruit-cake-smFruit Cake

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 ½ hours
Servings: 12 slices

½ pound (225 grams) margarine
½ pound (225 grams) dark sugar
4 medium eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla/almond flavouring
1 pound (450 grams) cake and pastry flour
¼ pound (115 grams) breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons (10 ml) mixed spice/nutmeg
1 tablespoon (15 ml) baking powder
3 cups (750 ml) red wine
1 cup (250 ml) rum
3 cups (720 grams) soaked mixed fruits
½ cup (120 grams) cherries
¼ cup (60 grams) peanuts, crushed

Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy;
Gradually beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla/almond flavouring;
Combine flour, breadcrumbs, mixed spice/nutmeg and baking powder and mix well;
Fold flour mixture into creamed mixture alternately with the red wine, rum, soaked mixed fruits, cherries and crushed peanuts;
Scrape batter into a greased and lined 325 cm (10-inch) baking tin. Bake for 1½ hours at 180°C/350°F or until a skewer inserted comes out clean;
6. Allow to cool.

black-cake-smBlack Cake

1 lb raisins
1 lb preserved carambola fruit
½ lb currants
½ lb prunes
1 cup brown rum
2 lbs brown sugar
1 lb butter
12 eggs, beaten
1 lb flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spices (nutmeg, cloves, all spice, and cinnamon)
¼ pound mixed peel
¼ pound chopped nuts
1 tsp vanilla flavouring

For the cake: Wash and dry fruits; Grind fruits and soak with ¾ cup of rum. Store covered in a glass jar for 2 weeks or longer;
To make caramel: Heat 1 lb of sugar in heavy bottom frying pan until melted. Simmer until dark brown;
Cream butter and 1 lb sugar well, add beaten eggs a little at a time, add soaked fruits and rum and enough caramel to make it as dark as desired;
Add sifted flour with baking powder, mixed spice and vanilla flavouring. Fold in peel and chopped nuts;
Pour mixture in baking pan. Bake in slow oven at 375 for about 1 ½ hours, or until toothpick inserted to test comes out clean;
Drizzle or lightly brush more rum on to finished.

Ssorrelorrel Drink

8 cups sorrel petals
2 ounces grated ginger
12 cups boiling water
Dried orange peel (optional)
Sugar for sweetening to taste

Place sorrel, crushed ginger and dried peel of orange into a pot of boiling water;
Macerate for 12-16 hours;
Strain, sweeten to taste, and bottle;
For preservation, keep in refrigerator. If you wish, add an ounce of white rum to each quart bottle.

ginger_beer-smGinger Beer

1 lb. of ginger
10 cups of water
2 cups of dark brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
5 3 x 3-inch pieces of orange peel
1 4-inch piece of orange peel
Uncooked rice to help with fermentation

Grate ginger with the fine side of the grater;
In a large pot, combine all ingredients, except cinnamon and the (3×3) pieces of orange peel;
Bring to a rapid boil for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and strain;
Use a cheese cloth to remove ginger bits;
Pour into a large glass jug;
Break orange peel and cinnamon sticks into pieces; add to ginger beer, and bring to room temperature;
Place 12 uncooked rice grains in each glass jar; pour into glass jars and let rest;
Ferment for 5-7 days;
Discard cinnamon sticks and orange peel;
Serve over crushed ice or ice cubes.

[Photo Credits – (Pepperpot); (Black Cake); (Ginger Beer); (Sorrel and Garlic Pork)]

A Case For The Development of The Guyanese Food Industry

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Keith Bernard

After reviewing the 2015 Mid-Year Report, most of the causes and effects regarding the country’s growth rate (which was lower than projected) seemed acceptable. Notwithstanding this, I would mitigate some contraction with the economic activities from the grey economy so as to add at least 20% more to the official Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
My main concern is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data provided in the report. I was flummoxed as to the reason the CPI for food was 126, or 26% higher than the base, this year. Was this referring to Popeyes and Chinese food? Guyana is the land where raw foods are available in abundance and for this reason, I am advocating for Guyanese to eat local again. Further, I am advocating for a rejuvenation in the food industry by way of introducing advance food processing. This would encompass bulk production of plantain and banana chips, and even frozen fish dinners.
Consider this: why do the plates of chowmein served in Guyana not include dried boras, eschallots and the like? To produce these would be the low-hanging fruit as we would not be reinventing the wheel. Most of the know-how could be had from the Philippines, Vietnam, India, China, Japan, Indonesia and even Mexico. I have had mango chips from the Philippines: it was delicious. I have also consumed packaged curried channa and eggplant from an Indian company. Those merely took me heating them in the microwave for 90 seconds before consumption. For the healthier crowd, there are the likes of rice cakes on the market; these are even being made by Quaker Oats. To say the quality of processed foods has significantly improved over the last several decades would be a terrible understatement. Processors are not only using quality ingredients, but the taste and packaging of food they produce have become superior. Sorry Aunty Betty, but the phoulorie mix and roasted boulanger in the tin taste just as good as yours.
It will take huge amounts of investing dollars to setup the type of large scale, high-tech production and manufacturing lines. This is nothing new to Banks DIH, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), Sterling, inter alia. Besides, there are hundreds of local businesses that are already engaged in small to medium scale production of processed food.
There is a way that small manufactures could benefit from an efficient production process – they could lease time from the owner, similar to rice milling. Large investors, or a collection of many small investors, should be able to borrow from the capital market with a government guarantee or be given a 10-year tax free credit for investing with an additional 10 years (post-construction or upon completion and initial operation) for creating jobs for the youth. I would also suggest tax exemptions on interest expenses. Similarly, there could be a public/ private partnership whereby the government construct the building and install the utilities (finance with tax exempt bonds) and then lease it for 99 years to companies. Another way is to buy the equipment from factories located in the United States of America or Canada that were closed for different reason: costs cutting or consolidation/merger/acquisition being among the possibilities. The plant (equipment and systems) could then be relocated and reassembled in Guyana, for instance, like it is done in Mexico and Vietnam. Factories close every day in the United States as well as in Brazil.
Brazil food company, BRF SA (one of Brazil’s largest processors) is having a down year which is also due to it being a dominant commodity exporter. For this reason, it is an excellent opportunity to purchase, at substantial discounts, the machinery needed for the aforementioned opportunities.
These investments should go hand-in-hand with the government’s plan to materially increase energy generation. It is believed by many in the finance industry that the price of oil will remain low for some time; my hope would be until Guyana/Exxon Mobil starts to pump the initial 85,000 barrels per day. Moreover, the report cited the relatively stable exchange rate of the dollar to the US dollar which currently stands around GUY$200 per US$1.
Another alternative is to have a bilateral agreement similar to the Petro Caribe deal Guyana benefitted from with Venezuela, where the latter exchanged its oil for the former’s rice. To this end, I am suggesting Guyana ships raw materials (agricultural) to a company such as BRF SA and have them use its economies of scale to manufacture, at marginal costs, the finished goods which is then re-imported, tax-free of course, and further exempted from sales taxes if sold to school children and senior citizens. It is noted that the minimum wage per day in Guyana is less than US$2 for most of the hardworking folks.
Another positive effect from processed foods is the release of labour tied up in daily food preparation. I envision mostly women would want those microwaves to work harder. Nonetheless, refrigerators and freezers have to be plugged into uninterrupted electricity supply. The issue of interrupted electricity supply should be solved with the discovery and near term production of oil. In addition, the production of oil also brings access to cheap fertilizer. It should be noted too that one of the many petroleum byproducts is tar for roads.
So it is asinine for the food CPI to be 126 in Guyana. It would perhaps be understable for this to be so in Venezuela (whose inflation stands at 68% and its economy expects to contract by 10% this year according to International Monetary Fund) given their mentality of living off a single commodity and Marxism. Moreover, the Venezuelan government is having difficulties paying for medicine and food.
Separately, food and water security is the issue or challenge for the immediate future for the world’s 8 billion plus inhabitants. Poverty is overwhelmingly linked to the price of food and the reality is the world’s poor spend over 50% of their disposable income on food. As such, a rising food CPI is the precursor to the increase in the percentage of your citizens living in poverty. One of the reasons food is inexpensive in America is because of hedging (commodities futures exchange) not for speculative reasons but for price stability. Farmers are less anxious knowing they will sell their crops at a set price when they harvest. In the case of Guyana, a futures exchange could be setup whereby farmers enter into a future delivery contract with food processors. Having the ability to reduce price volatility via futures contract is essential for budgeting.
In the Full Year 2015 Report, let’s see the food CPI below 90 or at least 93, similar to that of furniture.

The Coffee Bean Café and Eatery is Unequivocally “Breakfast Heaven” on Earth

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Located just a corner away from one of Guyana’s historical and infrastructural treasures, the St. George’s Cathedral, is a quiet little café called The Coffee Bean. This cafe provides an overwhelmingly satisfying all-day breakfast service, daily lunches, sweet and savory snacks, healthy salads, wraps as well as the most delightful cup of coffee you’ll ever have.
Breakfast has always been considered the most important meal of the day. It kick-starts our metabolisms, satisfies our morning hunger pangs, and helps us take on the day. The Coffee Bean provides breakfast anytime of the day. The menu is very extensive and you can customize your breakfast in many ways. You can choose from scrambled eggs, sunny side up eggs or if you’re watching your diet, just egg whites. As for sides, you can have sausage, bacon or potatoes. The specialty omelets, however, are certainly your best bet to keep you full and energized. You can have chicken, turkey ham, bacon, vegetable or a meatzaa. Or just put it in a wrap and go!
In addition to the breakfast menu, the café also provides affordable daily lunch specials, a wide variety of salads, sandwiches, wraps and pastries. The menu is vast and gives the customer so many options, that every dining experience is memorable and fulfilling. The New York sirloin steak, grilled pork chops, grilled trout and salmon are also very popular among the lunch crowd.
The flavor of the month is salted caramel so head on down to the Coffee Bean and try a piping hot cappuccino with a serving of the fluffiest pancakes and bacon or devour a brownie from chocolate heaven.
For the Christmas season, the Coffee Bean’s signature pepperpot will surely put you into the season.
After being in business for 5 years, The Coffee Bean has brought a unique taste to the market. A tranquil ambiance coupled with the hospitable staff, it turns out to be a perfectly blended recipe to give customers the satisfying experience that they deserve.
The café, which is managed by Narvini Dewnath and her mom Seeta Dewnath who is an experienced culinary visionary, offers a menu that packages some of the tastiest local and international breakfast delicacies.
At the café, breakfast get-togethers are perfect for building relationships especially over a fresh brew of coffee from the finest coffee beans from around the world. The setting gives a calming feeling given its warm colours, mysterious paintings and well-polished wooden furniture. It is also conducive for the lovers of alone time, as it provides the daily newspapers for reading and other books and even free Wi-Fi.
Start your day the right way at The Coffee Bean. It’s your home away from home.

Guyana gears for rapid increase in exports of non-traditional agricultural products

November 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

For the year 2014 leading into the early part of this year, Guyana’s economy was marginally affected by some unstable economic challenges faced globally.
This was further compounded by the rigours of the game-changing General and Regional Elections held in May 2015. As such, it is understandable that imports and exports contracted.
There are, however, plans in the pipeline that will see rapid increase in exports of Guyana’s non-traditional agricultural products.
According to Guyana’s Finance Minister Winston Jordan, the country is expected to see an increase in its exports of non-sugar and non-rice agricultural products by at least 25 percent over the next five years.
He said that by 2020 there will be an increase in production of agro-processed goods by at least 50 percent, along with the reduction of imports of agro-processed goods.
Currently, the major non-sugar and non-rice commodities being exported are shrimp and fruits and vegetables. This, Jordan articulated, will place greater emphasis on large-scale private investment in farming, especially in the Intermediate Savannahs of the country. Some of the crops identified for diversification in the hinterland areas are corn, soybean, cassava and legumes. These will be combined with fish and poultry rearing in those communities.
The Finance Minister noted that research will be intensified on the development of new crops such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, turmeric, ginger and black pepper so as to achieve import reduction. At the same time, crop diversification for export will focus on commodities such as coconuts, cassavas, plantains, pineapples, pepper, corn and soybean, with a view to strengthening food security along the coast and within the hinterland region.
Jordan disclosed that the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition government intends to advance the development of the livestock subsector by ensuring quality breeding stock and rebuilding the herds of cattle and pigs, and flocks of sheep and goats.
Jordan intimated that the government will also seek to enforce existing regulations for the slaughter of animals, and will improve animal health and food safety. He asserted that they will place the hinterland livestock industry on a scientific footing, with the aim of expanding domestic consumption and meeting international demand for organic beef.
Further, the Finance Minister reminded that the National Budget of 2014 projected a growth rate of 5.6 percent. At that time, he said note was taken of potential adverse impacts on the domestic economy, due to the uncertainties prevailing in the global economy.
Given the openness of Guyana’s economy, he said that the concern was with low global commodity prices, in addition to their immediate and direct effect on both the import and export sectors.
The Finance Minister indicated that the half-year economic report for 2014 provided the first opportunity for a review of the economy and that the estimated half-year growth of 3.2 percent represented a slippage relative to the 3.9 percent achieved for the half-year of 2013.
He explained that this performance caused the projected growth rate for 2014 to be scaled down from 5.6 percent to 4.5 percent. Unfortunately, even that lower growth rate was not achieved, for the economy contracted to 3.8 percent.
The Minister said that this was the first sign that the economy was slowing down, with the rapidly deteriorating political climate being identified as a significant contributory factor at that time.
With that in mind, Jordan disclosed that export earnings contracted by 15.1 percent, to US$1.2 billion, largely on account of gold, sugar and bauxite. Gold export receipts declined by 27.6 percent to US$469.8 million, as a result of a combination of a 20.1 percent contraction in export volume to 385,683 ounces, and a 9.4 percent decline in average export prices to US$1,218 per ounce.
Export earnings from bauxite contracted by 7.4 percent to US$124.7 million due to a 5.7 percent decline in export volume to 1,583,343 tonnes, coupled with a 1.8 percent decrease in the export prices to US$78.80 per tonne.
Sugar export receipts fell by 22.9 percent to US$88 million. An 18.3 percent increase in export volume to 189,565 tonnes was insufficient to compensate for the 34.8 percent decline in prices to US$464.30 per tonne.
On the other hand, Rice exports earned US$249.5 million, a 4 percent increase. This was due to a 26.9 percent increase in export volume to 501,209 tonnes.
Timber exports earnings amounted to US$53.4 million, an increase of 38.8 percent.
An important development for the export industry for Guyana is the amendment to the country’s Income Tax Act by substitution of the word “shrimp” with the word “Prawns”.
This amendment is in keeping with representation by the fishing industry for shrimp to be made eligible for the export allowance granted to non-traditional exports.
As for Guyana’s merchandise imports, this contracted by 4.4 percent to US$1,791.3 million, reflecting a contraction in all categories of imports. Imports of capital goods declined by 8.1 percent to US$387.5 million. This was mainly due to a decline in imports of industrial machinery. Non-fuel intermediate goods fell by 1.1 percent to US$405.7 million. Fuel and lubricants decreased by some 3.8 percent to US$573.4 million, while consumption goods declined by 5 percent, to US$415.7 million, reflecting lower imports of other non-durable foods for final consumption.

Nateram Ramnanan: Giving Guyana the juice it deserves

November 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In Guyana, like so many parts of the world, government has been encouraging its people to invest, to take chances and work hard. For Nateram Ramnanan, his success was born more out of a need to make a living than for the love of what he was doing.
He has managed to build a successful family-owned business from nothing. Today, Ramnanan has risen as one of the more established businessmen on the Essequibo Coast, winning awards and selecting to travel all over the region to learn more.
Even as a wide array of his products continues to hit the shelves of retail companies across country and even abroad, this entrepreneur has been giving back, employing people and doing what he knows best.
For Ramnanan, called ‘Juiceman’, a father of four, it all started from cane juice. But, ‘Juiceman’ has expanded and he now whips up a wide array of products which are distributed under the Original Juice brand.
His business place at Grant Berthrum, Upper Pomeroon has been visited by a President, ministers and even lending agencies have been recognizing his entrepreneurial contributions, inviting him for training and sending him overseas.
Ramnanan, now 55, grew up in Windsor Castle, on the Essequibo Coast. Times were hard for the family of 11 as there was simply not enough at times to go around. He was the eldest of nine (six brothers and three sisters) and was expected to play his part.
His father, known as ‘Cane Juice Man’, sold the sweet product to support the family at Anna Regina, the main town in the Essequibo County and at Charity, a gateway to the interior and a main trading area.
For little Nateram, there was no time for holidaying; he had to help his father. Their little wooden home in Windsor Castle had many mouths to feed and there was much work to be done.
While he wanted so badly to excel in school, Nateram had to make some hard choices: he had to give up school on mainly Mondays and Fridays, the market days for the Essequibo Coast.
“I wanted to get an education. I know it was the way out. But it was hard,” the entrepreneur said to Guyana Inc.
Nateram got his chance when, in his teens, he was accepted into Kuru Kuru College, which had an extension in Essequibo, and for one year he studied Management. In the early ‘80s, he was hired to work at a cassava mill in Charity. It was owned by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). Ramnanan stayed there for five years, learning how to make cassava flour and about processing… experiences that would serve him well later.
Back then, as the older among us would know, government had restricted the importation of several items, including flour. The clampdown was designed to encourage local, alternative food production and cassava flour was substitute for many.
It was while at that cassava facility that Nateram met his wife, Parbattie, who worked at another GuySuCo establishment: a carambola (five-finger) processing factory not far away. They soon got married.
In the meantime, Nateram’s father had continued his cane juice business.
Now a man with responsibilities and a family, the restless Nateram knew that a $250 salary would not be enough. He was looking for opportunities. In fact, he was hungry for it.
The opportunity opened up when, while on a visit to Charity, he saw an old family owned cane juice mill that was not in use. Using some money he had put aside, he paid $300 for it. It was the wisest investment he has ever made.
Using a cart, he set up shop, selling cane juice to the many who visited Charity. His wife was with him “foot-to-foot”. It was tough work as he was manually turning the mill all day long and the working day would sometimes go to eight o’clock at nights.
“This was a manual mill that you had to scrape the cane and grind it manually and sell it right away to the customers.”
His children – he has four of them now – would sometimes stay by his parents and sometimes with his in-laws. At other times, the children would be with the family at the juice stand.
Nateram was lucky. With the import restriction, there was a hugely profitable contraband business for all kinds of things including sardines, flour and split peas. Charity was a place to go for these. His cane juice stand benefitted from the crowds.
‘Juiceman’ was becoming popular. The Amerindians coming down the Pomeroon, persons from the Essequibo Coast, and miners, were all heading to Charity. His glass of cane juice and his wife’s cassava balls were a must.
It was in the early ‘90s that Samuel, one of the Barakat brothers who owned a fabrication business on the East Coast of Demerara, met with Nateram.
Why was ‘Juiceman’ manually killing himself? Barakat offered the little Charity man to build an engine-run mill. Nateram was more than glad. Soon, the mill was introduced and the juice stand, known as ‘Original Juice’ started to grow, becoming a permanent structure. It still stands there.
A family in Grant Berthrum, Upper Pomeroon, not far away, from whom Nateram had purchased his manual mill, asked if he was interested to buy their property. “The lady that owned the property…we got along well whenever she returned to Guyana. They decided to sell and I was looking to find a place.”
It was at this location on the Pomeroon River that Nateram started experimenting with other juices like guava and coconut water, setting up his factory. His eldest son was running the juice stand and Nateram concentrated on the processing at this location.
He started an experiment that saw him blending and juicing the produce that grew around his home. Nateram ventured into juicing fruits and vegetables, even pumpkin and ginger, and distributing his signature product to markets in rural and urban areas of Guyana and to a few Caribbean countries, including the Dominican Republic.
He was recognized for his entrepreneurial energies by the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED), Partners of America, and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) and the trainings started.
He was exposed to all kinds of fora on processing and juicing, travelling to places like St. Vincent, and even showcasing his products in Canada. ‘Juiceman’ was looking for more opportunities. He searched and soon found more equipment to make his work easier and expand to other products.
While his core business was juices, which now included cherry and golden apple, he also ventured into other areas like bottling of pepper sauce, achar and jam and jelly. It was a chance that was not to be regretted. He was selling his products countrywide.
He came under the radar of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Dr. Leslie Chin, whose work locally with micro-businesses is legendary.
“USAID, Dr. Chin, Mr. Barakat and IPED and so many others have been there for us. I thank them,” Ramnanan told Guyana Inc.
The family started to experiment even more with vegetables and the products were terrific. ‘Juiceman’ started going as far as Port Kaituma in Region One, to market his varying creations. Sterling Products, restaurants and hotels are among the numerous customers supporting him. The business has grown now.
“You see, I did not want to remain poor. Our family home in Windsor Castle had no flush toilet and I wanted my children to be educated. This is what pushed me. I did not want them to want for clothes and things like that.”
While Charity has been changing quickly, modernizing with malls and huge buildings going up, Nateram is determined also not to stay static.
“If you want to be successful…there is a simple way…you have to work hard. Never give up. Master what you are doing and it will work out.”
Today, Nateram is involved in all kinds of charity work, something he is not willing to talk too much about. He is heavily involved in the private sector lobbying organizations like the GMSA.
A few years ago, the same organization recognized his contributions, awarding him for his contributions to Guyana’s agro-processing sector. Nateram and his family are now eyeing the canning business and soon he will be expanding even more, thanks to new, state-of-the-art equipment he is looking at from neighbouring Brazil.
“My wife, my family and my workers, are my strength,” a humble ‘Juiceman’ says.
Today, the businessman is embarking on his biggest project to date. He is investing, through a number of agencies and banks, some $120M in a brand new juice factory.
His juices are being sold in each of the country’s 10 regions. With over 20 staffers now, ‘Juiceman’ is not stopping.

Traditional Afro-Guyanese dishes

September 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Guyana is a melting pot of cultures. The cultures come from the six ethnic groups that make up its people – Africans, Amerindians, Chinese, East Indians, Europeans and Portuguese. Each of these groups has left their stamp in the Guyanese culture, especially in the Guyanese cuisine. To commemorate Emancipation Day, we have the recipes of some traditional Afro-Guyanese dishes to tickle your taste buds. Enjoy.


• 1 coconut
•1 lb pumpkin
• 1 lb cornmeal
•1 oz lard
• 1 oz margarine
•1 tsp salt
• Sugar to taste
•4 oz dried fruit
• 1 tsp black pepper
• Banana leaves for wrapping

• Grate coconut and pumpkin.
• Add all other ingredients.
• Stir in enough water to make a mixture of dropping consistency.
• Wipe banana leaves and heat to make pliable.
• Cut into pieces about 8 inches square. Wrap around filling and tie with twine.
• Place in boiling water and boil for 20-30 minutes.

Metemgee (Metagee)

• 1 dry coconut
• ¾ lb mixed meat
• 1 lb (approx.) fried fish or salt fish
• 1lb cassava
• 1lb plantain (your choice of ripeness)
• 1lb eddoes, yam or dasheen
• 1 large onion — cut in rings
• ½ lbochroes (okra)
• Dumplings (optional)

• Cover the mixed meat with water and boil for ½ hour. Put salt-fish to soak in water; if using fresh fish this may be fried or placed on top of vegetables about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
• Grate the coconut, pour one pint of water over, squeeze well and strain to extract the coconut milk. Pour over the meat.
• Peel the vegetables, then put the meat and vegetables to cook in the coconut milk. Cook until almost tender.
• Put the salt fish with the skin and bones removed, or fresh fish or fried fish on top of vegetables. Add the onion and ochroes.
• Cook until the coconut milk is almost absorbed.
• If dumplings are used they should be added about 8 minutes before the vegetables are ready.

Cookup Rice

• ½ lb cooked meat
• ¼ lb salt meat, if desired
• 1 lb (2 cups) rice
• 4½ cups water
• 1 onion
• 1 – 2 tomatoes
• 2 – 3 blades chives
• Thyme and parsley
• ½ tsp salt–more if no salt meat is used
• ½ tsp pepper
• 2 tbsp oil or drippings
• 1 heaped tsp brown sugar

• Wash and soak the salt meat and prepare the seasonings.
• Heat the oil, add the sugar, and fry until it bubbles. Add the seasonings, fry till golden brown.
• Cut the salt meat into neat pieces, and add to seasonings with water, rice, and salt. Put to boil.
• Remove the skin and bones from the cooked meat, cut into neat pieces, and add to the rice when it is nearly cooked. If desired, add a dollop or two of butter before dishing up.


• 2 lb hard yams
• 1 lb cassava

• Wash, peel and cook vegetables in boiling water.
• When cooked, do not remove from boiling water, as vegetables will become cold and unmanageable.
• Remove string from cassava; take cassava from water and pound first before adding yam to mortar.
• Pound to a fine texture until thoroughly mixed.
• Use some of the same warm water for dipping the mortar stick and for adding to the foo-foo to bring to the right consistency.
• Dip a metal spoon in some clean warm water and remove foo-foo in balls from the mortar. Cover and keep warm. Serve in soup or with pepperpot

Recipe: Palak Paneer

July 18, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

by N.S Mattai & Co.


2 lbs Spinach (Bhaji)
2 lbs Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
3 tbsps Oil / Ghee
1 ½ tsps Ginger
2 tsps Garam Masala
Salt to taste

1) Boil spinach until soft enough to mash.
2) Fry mashed spinach lightly in oil with ginger and add water.
3) Cut paneer into cubes and add to spinach along with the Garam Masala.
4) Leave to boil until paneer absorbs flavour of the mixture.

Recommended: Serve hot with parathas or biryani rice for best combination of flavours!

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