Day One of the Blissed Out Retreat in Bali has been both stimulating and relaxing. The day began with progress toward conquering jet lag after getting a mostly-full night's sleep and a view of my room and the resort in the light of day.
To be honest, it still felt like a dream! The temperature was humid, but not unbearable - perfect for our first breakfast together in the outdoor restaurant area.
Fresh fruit, a gf muffin, gf bread with homemade orange marmalade and mixed fruit jam, rice porridge with toasted nuts and muesli, papaya juice, and a soy latte sweetened with fresh palm syrup. Great fuel for the first day in paradise.
The morning really began when we were given a tour of the resort's organic garden. Can you guess what this is?
It's fresh nutmeg! We also were shown what wild cinnamon and clove plants look (and smell) like. Also, one of the worlds most beloved products, in its natural form: the cacao pod:
Dewa, our tour guide and local educator on how the spiritual philosophies of the area - which require maintaining balance and harmony - greatly influence farming practices and, above all, everyday life.
Plus, ohmygoodness, look at this adorable baby pineapple.
We walked through the village and soaked in the beauty of the rice paddies which covered so many sprawling hills.
Lunch was served back at the resort, which I ate in between sessions of wading in the pool.
Clockwise from top: roasted sweet potatoes, veggie dish with peanut sauce, salad with delicious & tangy dressing, coriander tofu, rice and a chili sauce with an impressive kick, tempeh fried in a sweet sauce, and grilled corn. Everything was so fresh and tasty - such a nice twist to a Westerner's usual unhealthy, greasy vacation fare.
More time by and in the pool passed by as we awaited our evening event: a cooking class taking place in the home of Dewa, our guide. I have such enormous gratitude for Dewa and his family for inviting us into his home, teaching us about Balinese housing and family traditions, and putting up with us as we worked-but-mostly-watched-his-family make dinner for everyone.
Clad in aprons and knives in hand, we each followed instructions to chop ingredients for our various dinner dishes, including fresh garlic, shallots, red chilies, lemongrass, ginger, and turmeric root.
Have you ever seen fresher tofu or tempeh?! So good - unlike anything that can be found in the US.
The outcome of everyone's hard work was well with the wait. All seated together, we enjoyed good conversation, incredible local flavors, and sniffles from the heat from the chilies!
My favorite part, perhaps, were the fresh corn fritters... so crunchy and just the right amount of spice. Please forgive me for not knowing the names for each of these dishes, but keep posted for an eventual link to some recipes for these beautiful dishes.
Lest anyone forget dessert, we were surprised by banana fritters with fresh palm syrup (which is made from local trees and cooked over a stove for up to 5 hours to reach its optimal consistency and sweetness). These were positively incredible.
So many thanks for our beautiful hosts and their hospitality. What an honor.
The night was rounded out by some evening yoga and a final convention of retreat guests before bed to enjoy lemongrass tea, fresh fruit, and a light & delicious cake for a guest's birthday.