Monday, July 15, 2013

La Fromagerie!

Hello from La Fromagerie!

Mystic River Resort's Herbed Goat Cheese
Setting the curds...
Kristen loved modelling the cheese!

It has been a month now since I started making cheese and I am having a lot of fun.  So far, my expertise has extended to soft spreadable goat cheese, yogourt, and a fabulous Herbed Goat Cheese that I got to try on our guests the other night.  I think the end result was quite good since they kept asking for more!  Kristen especially made sure the plate was never far from her fingers!

I am now working on making Blue Cheese which is another one of my favourites! I actually have so many favourite cheeses that I might be very busy for a very long time!  If I can get that accomplished I think I will be very happy!

The plan is to make sure I have enough goat cheese, yogourt, ricotta, etc, for our kitchen and also to serve guests whenever they want a taste of that special cheese!

On a slightly different note, one of the new goats we purchased a few weeks ago escaped!  She litterally found a very small opening in the pasture fence and jumped through it!  At this time, we still have no idea how she managed to do that since she has pretty big horns, but manage it she did.  THEN, she just disappeared!  Vanished into thin air!  And for days, we sent our guys all over the place but we just could not find her.  We had almost given up when one of our guests, on her way to the river spotted her (thank you so much Joanna!) but the goat ran away again before we could catch her.  So Eber went on a finding mission one last time and found her bachelorette pad!  So it seems that Runaway (which is now her official name) had been living pretty nicely in the bush, not too far from us actually, hiding in between some pretty big rocks!  We installed an infra red camera and put some corn there and we now have some very nice photos of Runaway!  Next thing, the trap!

Runaway at her little bachelorette pad!
Always something exciting happening at Mystic River Resort!
We also had to redo some of the thatch at the Palapa Bar because we were getting pretty big leaks all over the place and since we now have this fancy TV screen so we can showcase all our fabulous photos and videos, we did not want to get it damaged.  We were able to cut all the Bay Leaves on Mystic River property and managed to do so without damaging the plants so they will keep on growing and will provide us with more leaves in the future.  That is sustainable policy and we are so proud of it!

Lloyd preparing the thatch for the Palapa Bar!

And finally, a friend of ours had some ducks at her house in Belize City and when she visited us last she noticed our beautiful ponds and all the ducks we had in there and how happy everybody seemed to be!  Well, she thought her ducks were not doing so well where they were so she asked if we would take them and we said yes.  So as of a couple of days ago, we have three new members in our Duck Colony.  Daisy, Dolly and Donald, welcome to Mystic River Resort!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mystic River Resort Goat Cheese!

La Fromagerie and more news.....
Hello everyone!  I hope this will find you well.
Tom and the construction crew finally finished the inside work on the Cheese House and so our official opening date was June 1st 2013.  The building remains unpainted, but who is looking!
Making the very first cheese was fabulous and we go to try the new Goat Cheese on that day.  What a tasty treat.  A few days earlier, I had made some Ricotta Cheese which David, our chef, used in a homemade Beef Lasagna.   That was delicious!  I just cannot wait to try my hands a different cheeses as I learn more about this fascinating hobby!  Of course, we could not have done it without the help of our herd of beautiful ladies, Serafina, Daisy, Mica and Bianca for sure.
I have attached some photos of the finished product.  More photos of me actually making the cheese will come later.  The problem is that I make the cheese by myself and no one is there to take pictures of me!  Isn't that just typical...
We also finished the various accomodations for the goats and I have to say that I think our goats are probably the best housed in Belize!!  Our little kids continue to amaze and entertain us with their friendliness and smarts.  I had no idea just how intelligent they actually are.
Tom also found us an incubator a little while ago because we had some duck eggs but nobody to sit on them.  We did lose the duck eggs but we tried, or I should say, Eber, tried local eggs in the incubator and tadaa.....we are now raising local chickens as well as our other chickens.  Where will we go next?  Turkey may be?  That would be fun.
I think the entertainment factor at Mystic River Resort is growing by leaps and bounds everyday!
Little Sprite waiting for some hugs!
One of our newly hatched chick in the incubator!
And finally, we are putting the finishing touches to the slab for our next room which will be room #10 our first 2 bedroom suite.  We should be ready to pour the concrete on Tuesday June 4th.  Another step towards finishing the construction of Mystic River Resort!  We are really looking forward to adding this new unit to our existing family of studios and one bedroom suites because there is definitely a demand for larger accomodations.  This suite will have a much larger patio than the other suites, and the view of the river and the cliff ahead will be breathtaking!
Working hard to get this new slab ready to pour!
Almost there!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our goats!

Hello Everyone,
It has been a couple of months since I wrote on this blog but we have been so so busy that I just did not get the time!  As a follow up on my last blog, "La Fromagerie" (the cheese house) is coming along quite nicely and the actual building should be ready for me to move in sometime next month.  I am so excited!  Meanwhile, I have been purchasing items I would need to start making cheese and when in Mexico a few weeks ago, Tom and I discovered a Stainless Steel store that sold everything stainless so I bought a couple of tables and some other items!  Can't wait!!
We also started thinking about a milk supply for the cheese and so we considered getting a couple of milking cows but found that a little too daunting for the present so we decided to pass.
What we decided to do was get some goats so I could start with goat cheese (which I absolutely love).  And so our herd was born!
We now have Billy (our male goat), Daisy, Mica, Serafina and Bella along with Latte (our baby goat).
On April 7th at 1.30pm, Serafina gave birth to twin females!  What a delight!  They are both so beautiful.  I think we might call them Coca and Cola for fun.  What do you think?
I am attaching some photos of our herd and the new babies.
 Then, about a couple of weeks later, Mica gave us Sprite!  She has a beautiful brown head and is so so cute.  We are having fun bottle feeding them.
We also started the milking process and build a milking platform for the goats!  They really like it and don't mind hanging there even when it is not milking time!!  We have already made Ricotta cheese and yogourt with this fabulous milk.  I even drink it my my coffee now!
Can't wait to have you join us to share in this fabulous new experience with us!

Our latest baby, Sprite


Mica really likes the milking station!

 Eber with Coca, Cola and Sprite!
Serafina with Coca and Cola

Sprite, Coca and Cola!
Eber milking Mica

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cheese Making....

Hello Everyone,
I recently attended a 4 day Cheese Making course and I thought I would share some of my experiences with you.  The event was put on by another business owner here in Belize after he himself attended a course in Vermont just over a year and a half ago.  I have to thank Ian for his generosity in allowing us to spend 5 wonderful nights at his place and sharing his newfound knowledge with us.  My plan is to make enough cheese for our guests at Mystic River Resort and to introduce a 4th course to our already fabulous 3 course dinner!
The teachers were Linda and Larry Faillace and I just cannot say enough about them!  They were absolutely amazing, marvelous people with a dedication to making artisan cheese that I have seldom encountered.  Their love of the craft is something to behold.
There were four of us in the course, plus Ian's three "Cheese Girls" and we had a blast.  I made new friends, Rey and Mike, farmers from Belmopan here in Belize, and Jeri, who works for the New England Cheese Making Supplies company (she is the one who helped me get all my stuff together and she writes a great blog for cheesers!).  Thank you Jeri!
On day 1, we were given our own binder with information on the cheeses we would be making, along with receipes and invaluable information, and our own apron and off we went, making Feta, Ricotta, Queso Blanco and Yogurt!!
Larry and Linda were fabulous at answering questions AND very patient!  At the end of that first day, Ian decided that we should have a cheese tasting event in the dining room and by the time we were done, there was no room left in my stomach for dinner...
Tom came to join me for dinner as he had to leave for the States the following day.  I think he really enjoyed the cheese tasting!
Day 2 was the worst for me because I got totally confused, couldn't remember a thing and felt like I would never learned, but I persevered and among the cheeses we made that day, I learned to make a mozzarella ball (mine were not the prettiest but they sure tasted good!), and this great little cheese called Spressa.  We also made Trappist cheese and Old Brabander!
Day 3, everything came together, just as Linda had said on day 1!  It all started to make sense and everything fell into place.  I learned how to stir the curds gently so as to not break them, fill the molds with the curds, how to turn the cheese, how to salt it and brine it, how to wipe it and how to roll it into herbs and spices to taste!!
The final event was the viewing of Ian's Aging Room for the cheeses and that's when I got jealous!  What a fabulous room, full of cheeses resting and aging gracefully.  I can't wait to have one of my own, aging room that is, where my creations can rest and age as well.
And finally, we got to taste all the cheeses we had made and compare them.  All that and a glass of wine!  What a fabulous time we had and I can't wait to go to the advanced course!  I started as a beginner and at the end of 3 days I felt like a professional!
Check out my progress over the next few months, and find out when "La Fromagerie" will open and when the wine and cheese tasting will begin.  I guess the French in me never really left!
Check out the photos of the course below.

As a last to final word, Linda Faillace is a fabulous writer and she has written a book called
"Mad Sheep - The True Story Behind The USDA's War on a Family Farm" which recounts the events surrounding how the USDA seized and destroyed their flock of sheeps!  I could not put the book down.  It is a true story and it is their story!
And as a final word on my favourite subject....Trip Advisor!  I should write my own book about them for sure.  It has come to our attention that Trip Advisor has been holding off on posting reviews that our guests have written for us for the last three months.  Tom and I were totally unaware of it until one day we realized we had fallen to #7!!  The reason for that is because very very few reviews have been posted recently and apparently that will affect the rating of a property.  I started asking guests if they had written the review they had promised to write and found out that a very large majority had indeed written the review but for some reason the review went into a "pending" mode!  We contacted Trip Advisor to find out what the problem was and of course met a brick wall!  So, if you do write a review for us (please please please don't forget!), you now have to make sure it gets posted otherwise God only knows where it will end the Trip Advisor Galaxy of "pending" reviews!!
Take care and have a fabulous day.
Nadege Thomas

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!


As we say good bye to 2012, I cannot help but reflect on what a fabulous year it has been for us overall.  We have seen a dramatic increase in our business and managed to finish two additional units on time for Christmas!  Those new one bedroom units are quite beautiful and we are so proud that we were able to make at least one family very very happy.  I had told June to be prepared to camp for a couple of nights just in case, but we came through so the tent was not needed!  So we now have 5 studio and 3 one bedroom units.  We are also working on the pathways to remove the gravel and put down some beautiful slate.

We added more trails for hiking and horseback riding and are looking forward to an additional 20 acres that we will acquire in 2013, which will give us over 180 acres of beautiful tropical rain forest.  Who knows what we might discover there!

We said farewell to the end of the Mayan Calendar with quite a beautiful celebration in Caracol (see blog below) and welcomed the New Beginning with open arms and hearts.

We had wanted and talked (to many of our guests) about installing a TV at the bar, not for TV since we still do not have cable here, but rather so we could view photos taken by our guests and ourselves and that wish finally came true!  We now can feature videos of our wildlife (and I am not talking about the bar!!) as well as photos given to us by some guests about their adventures here in Belize.  A very special thank you to all of you who generously donated your photos!  And for those of you who were thinking about sending some, there is still plenty of time to do that!

We also took the opportunity to redo the bar area so it looks much nicer and brighter and is bigger too.

The New Year should also bring us a new internet system!  The one we currently have is just not working and we do apologize to our guests for the inconsistency of the service and the problems that those created.  We are currently waiting and hopefully the wait should not last much longer!  But this is Belize so…..

As a side note, it has come to my attention that some of our past guests have written reviews for us on Trip Advisor and those reviews have not posted or been delayed for whatever reason.  If you are one of those guests please do let me know as I have notified Trip Advisor of the problem and they are looking into it.  And if you have not written your review yet, now is the time!  Your comments and opinions are extremely important to us and we really appreciate your taking a few minutes of your busy time to do that for us.  Thank you!

So on this note, it is our pleasure to wish all our past, present and future guests a Very Happy New Year 2013.

(I do apologize for the lack of photos on this newsletter!  For some reason, downloading photos was just not available!  More next time.....)


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Traditional Maya Fire Ceremony

Enjoying a nice cup of tea!
December 21st 2012 was the end date of the oldest Mayan Calendar that was ever found and therefore led to many speculations as to what that meant and what would come next!  It was touted by some to be the end of the world, a complete annihilation of Planet Earth as we know it, with various versions of space ships, aliens or catastrophic events. To others, it represented a New Beginning, a New Era, or just a simple continuation of life.

All the Maya sites throughout Latin America were ready for the big celebrations, and here in the beautiful Cayo District of Belize, Caracol was the main event.  Tom and I, along with some friends attended the festivities.  It was fabulously organized and I wanted to recognize that, from the campsites where you set up your tent, to the activities, to the food, everything was perfect!

Dr. Jaime Awe, the Director of our Institute of Archeology, gave a power point presentation during a Traditional Maya dinner, and gave a special tour of Caracol to all present during the afternoon.

At 2.30am, a procession of Mayan drums and chanting went through the campsite and at 4am the traditional Maya Fire Ceremony was held in the plaza at the bottom of the pyramids.  It was beautiful.  The Shamans prayed and gave their blessings to those who requested it.  The sun rose and all was perfect with the world.

It was an unforgettable experience which will remain engraved in my mind forever.  Fantastic, surreal, mystical were some words used by guests who attended, and it truly was!

All of us at Mystic River Resort would like to wish all our guests, past, present and future a wonderful Holiday Season, and may New Beginnings be had for us all.

Don't forget to write a Trip Advisor Review for us please.  Your comments and suggestions are always greatly appreciated.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What's New at Mystic River Resort

Hello Everybody,

Staff Day:
We recently organized a Staff Day to take our staff where we take our guests so that they would be able to understand what makes what we do so special.  We gave them a choice and the overwhelming response was "Can we do Offering Cave and Sapodilla Waterfalls?".  So we did.....
I think it fair to say that everyone had an amazing time judging by the beaming faces on the photos!

The descent into Offering Cave....

Some of the artifacts in the Cave.
Going deeper into the Cave.....

A nice wood burning barbeque for those weary cavers1

Relaxing by Sapodilla Waterfalls!

New Member of the Family:
While in Toronto, I recently had the opportunity to get another Doberman puppy.  Cooper, the newest member of our ever expanding family, was born on July 4th, 2012 (how fitting!) and is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.  I thought that bringing him back to Belize, two planes and the waiting in between, would be a horrendous experience, but I was prepared for it because it was worth it to us!  Well, what I did not expect was that Cooper would sleep just about the entire time.  Yep, the entire time, so that would be through Customs in Canada, on the flight, in between the flights, and through customs in Belize!  I think he woke up when I took him out to be examined by the vet!  It was just too funny!  Here are a couple of photos of our new little guy.

Alanna and Cooper on the way home.

Tom with Cooper and Suki in the Dining Room.

Construction of Two New Units:
For those of you who noticed the slabs for the next five units, here are some great news!  We are actually working on two of those new units right now.  September being a very very slow month here in Belize, we decided to just close for a few days and got a fairly large crew to work on them.  We are all keeping our fingers crossed that those units will be ready for our next busy season.....We'll keep you posted for sure.

And please remember to write a review for us on Trip Advisor!  Your comments are greatly valued and they help us make decisions based on your experiences!  Don't forget!!