RECIPE

Aitutaki (aka Paradise)

Aitutaki (aka Paradise)

For the last few years since getting married my husband and I haven’t been in the same part of the world for our anniversary. This year we were determined to celebrate our anniversary together, so we booked flights to Aitutaki, an atoll in the Cook Islands. We thought it would be the perfect place to chill out and do, well, nothing. And we were spot on!

We flew into Rarotonga, then caught a little pencil plane from there to Aitutaki. ‘Surreal’ doesn’t capture the feeling when you see a first glimpse of the bright turquoise lagoon surrounding the little island you’re about to land on. Aitutaki is literally paradise. It’s more beautiful than you can imagine. Have you seen the Air NZ in-flight safety video with the Sports Illustrated models? It’s just like that. In fact, that’s exactly where it was filmed! We stayed at the incredible Pacific Resort Aitutaki that has the best beach spot on the island. Every morning started with a fresh coconut on the beach with the little hermit crabs! (Check a quick video of this beautiful spot here!)

Starting the morning off with a coconut at the beach on Aitutaki...now that's what I call Paradise!

Aitutaki is surrounded by a lagoon, surrounded by a reef wall, surrounded by the ocean. Imagine a little island (with a population of only 1,000 people, that you can scooter around in 15 minutes), surrounded by calm, crystal clear, turquoise water for 200-300 metres out from the white sand beach. The lagoon is not deep – a 6-foot tall person could walk right out to the ocean without water going over their head. Just past the reef there is great deep-sea fishing!

Here’s a tip: the BEST way to get around the lagoon and visit some of the other outlying islands, is by catamaran (there’s no fumes, it doesn’t pollute the water, and you can dip your toes in the ocean while you’re sailing!). The outlying islands are deserted and so beautiful….I wouldn’t mind being left behind on one of them for a couple of weeks with some good books.

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For a whole week in Aitutaki we feasted on fresh fish (I’ve never eaten so much tuna sashimi!), fresh coconuts, mango, paw paw and other tropical delights. I was in heaven.

The Pacific is not usually revered for its cuisine, which is ironic because they have incredible produce…and so much of it is free! The island is an outdoor supermarket; coconuts and tropical fruit trees are literally everywhere. I couldn’t stop thinking, that if some World disaster happened, this is the place I’d want to be, because there would be no shortage of food!

One of my favourite dishes was, of course, ika mata; their national dish of citrus-marinated raw fish with coconut cream, onion and tomato. While I was over there I was lucky enough to do a bit of casual cooking on the beach and at one of the local cafes down the road (Tau’ono’s, which has an all-organic garden) where I cooked an 8-course lunch for the locals. Everyone loved it! Check out the recipe link below.

I got roped into cooking for 15 locals at a little organic garden cafe (Tau'ono's) down the road, and made an 8-course meal!
I got roped into cooking for 15 locals at a little organic garden cafe (Tau’ono’s) down the road, and made an 8-course meal!

On our last night the Pacific Resort Aitutaki staff surprised us with a romantic dinner for two on the beach. Needless to say we felt like an island king and queen, and it made it even harder for us to leave the next day…I was kind of hoping that we’d miss our flight back! Would I go back again? Hell yeah!

Check out some more of my pics below 🙂

 

Nadia Lim

Nadia Lim

To be doing what I am today is a dream come true. It all started when I was 12 years old. I was watching TV after school one day and Jamie Oliver was cooking up a storm on The Naked Chef.

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