Hotel Mockingbird Hill – your Home in Jamaica Sustainable Excellence from Port Antonio, Jamaica Fri, 27 May 2016 09:07:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 6 Tips to Eating Fish in Jamaica Wed, 11 May 2016 13:20:11 +0000 Tips Eating Fish Jamaica

Fishlovers are spoilt on a holiday to Jamaica. Whether you like your fish escoviche in style or rather steamed, stewed, roasted, barbequed or simply rolled and deep-fried into tasty frittered balls, the island’s rich fusion of cooking traditions from Spain, the UK, Africa, India and China makes the most of the island’s wild assets.

To nurture our reefs and keep fisheries healthy so that local communities and visitors to the island can enjoy local wild seafood long into the future, here’s our 6 tips to eating fish in Jamaica.

1. Each Fish Counts

Take your pick from wild Snapper, Mahi-Mahi, Grouper, Lion Fish, Snook or Mackerel.   If you are offered another type of fish do bear in mind this type is highly likely to have been imported without a guarantee that it was caught sustainably or that it is an endangered fish like Jamaica’s vulnerable parrot fish.

2. Order Lion Fish and then Order Some More

Not only does Lion fish taste great, a buttery white fish that is firm in texture and whose flavour is somewhere between grouper and Mahi Mahi, but by ordering lion fish whilst on holiday in Jamaica you are helping the survival of the island’s coral reefs!

Lionfish are an invasive non-native carnivorous fish that entered our beautiful Caribbean Sea via a Florida aquarium that was severely damaged in 1992 in Hurricane Andrew.  Without any predators and the ability to spawn 30,000 eggs every 4 days, these fish are devouring our grouper, snapper and parrot fish to name just a few.

3. Rainfall Brings Incredible Shrimp

There is nothing better than eating Jamaican wild native shrimp.  Sweet and succulent, Jamaican shrimp aren’t always available at market but are abundant after a good rainfall. Jamaica has 5 types whose shells are pink, white, brown, and royal red and its 5th is recognisable by its rock-hard shell.

Put in an order the day before you intend dining at one of Jamaica’s small independent eateries and restaurant and unlike the chain all-inclusive restaurants you are guaranteed to eat sustainable local shrimp without a carbon footprint and no trace of antibiotics or chemical enhancers to improve appearance and shelf life.

4. Respect the Season

Local Jamaican spiny lobster is ‘officially’  off  the menu between the 1st April and 30th June each year and it is  illegal to catch them throughout this their breeding season.  Throughout the year, it is illegal to catch or serve berried lobsters (those with eggs) or juvenile lobsters that are less than 3.5 inches, and, if you are served either we suggest sending it back to the chef and requesting a dish that is legal and protects Jamaica’s spiny lobsters longterm viability.

4. Pass on Parrot Fish

Please don’t eat parrot fish,  if we reduce the demand to eat it this beautiful endangered fish, it can instead help us to protect the last of Jamaica’s coral and counter the beach erosion of Negril and Montego Bay.

Jamaica’s coral reefs spans 50% of our coastline and its well-being relies upon the beaky parrot fish whose unusually shaped mouth cleans the coral by grazing on the algae that grows on it.  Without parrot fish our reefs would die, suffocated by the algae whilst Jamaica’s beaches would lose the 800 lbs of sand that they excrete over  a lifetime.

6. Avoid a Summertime Dish of Predatory Fish

Avoid eating predator fish like barracuda or amber jack late summer as you could end up suffering the foodborne disease ciguatera whose symptoms can last from a couple of weeks to decades.

Predator fish feed on the smaller reef fish who consume an algal coral bloom that’s highly attractive to toxin-bearing dinoflagellates (plankton).   The toxin doesn’t affect the fish only humans and cooking doesn’t remove the threat.

The Fish Served at Jamaica’s Favourite Organic Restaurant

The FIshermanThe team behind  the Mille Fleurs restaurant believe that wild sustainable harvesting is best done by artisanal fishermen who use less intense fishing methods.  Their boat of choice is a 28 foot fiberglass canoe powered with a 40 horsepower outboard engine which  limits the amount of fish they can catch before becoming tired and returning home.  This is opposed to commercial fishing operations which use advanced technology aboard factory boats to clean out an area, collapse the fish stocks, then move further afield to other areas to do the same.

The restaurant’s delicious fish is sourced from sOrganic, a specialised small scale processor/distributor for local inshore seafood who supply artisan fishermen with the support needed to fish sustainably and profitably.

They work closely with Jamaica’s most enlightened fishermen to harvest responsibly and invest the proceeds of their catch in improving their business and lifestyle. These selected fishermen carry adequate ice to sea, where catches are then promptly cleaned, shrink packaged and frozen. Absolutely no enhancers are used (e.g. sodium tripolyphosphate), a practice which most large fish dealers engage in. The company helps widen the range of products fishermen target and consumers can experience by introducing seasonal and less familiar species which may not  be commonly consumed in Jamaican culture but which are delicious in the hands of its knowledgeable chefs.




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Sustainability Makes for a Beautiful Planet Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:39:33 +0000

Today we are toasting the signing of the Paris Climate Treaty by 155 countries, keeping everything crossed that each country keeps to the accord!

Protecting our environment with sustainable practices needn’t be difficult, look ugly or require long-term expense but it does require careful planning. For any environmental minister looking for a few ideas how sustainable tourism could be better practiced in their country we invite you to look at our own interactive map.

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The Cleanest Water in Jamaica Fri, 22 Apr 2016 11:15:24 +0000 Pool Reich Falls

Jamaica’s first inhabitants, the Arawaks named Jamaica, ‘Xaymaca’ – The Land of Wood and Water“.  Today local communities face the challenge of food and water security, the result of deforestation and global warming which over the last 3 decades has meant that areas of the island suffer mild to severe drought.

In our quest for sustainability, to enhance our guests stay and lessen the effect of drought on the hotel, we removed the impact of our business footprint from our struggling national water provider. 70% of national water is lost in leaky pipes and a staggering 69% of Jamaican households receive untreated water.

On a rainy day we have the capacity to harvest a staggering 85,000 gallons of the softest rainwater which we treat, store, heat and pump into our hotel to reduce each of our guest’s carbon footprint and the strain on national water provision.  The water is treated by UV and reverse osmosis and not only tastes much better than chemically treated water but stops any reliance on imported bottled water. Each of our guests and staff are guaranteed a powerful, stable water supply no matter what the climatic conditions are and which is environmentally clean as it uses only the energy from our solar panels during the day to produce it.


In December 2015 we were awarded a grant by CHENACT that will allow us to store the energy from our solar panels by the end of the summer of 2016 in an aqueous hybrid ion battery.  Our guests will then have access to a water supply that is completely carbon free, removing the need to use the JPS national grid for electricity at night that is generated by burning imported oil.

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The Chic Escape: Jamaica & Spring Water Rum Fri, 22 Apr 2016 10:18:23 +0000 1

We recently hosted Net-a-Porter’s team The Edit  for the 5 days they whilst were on location in Port Antonio for their summer shoot, and were overjoyed to read  our inclusion as the place to stay in their latest online magazine The Chic Escape: JAMAICA.  Do check it out for the latest trends and stunning photographs taken in Port Antonio.

“Book into tranquil Mockingbird Hill, an eco-friendly hotel with uninterrupted ocean vistas. For pure relaxation, have a unique Tao massage in the lush garden spa.”
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The team adored our Mojitos, perhaps it’s because we use a boutique Jamaican rum that is ‘northern’ in production and conforms to our own policy of sourcing local to reduce our food and drink miles.  Its unique, smooth taste comes from its ingredients, spring mineral water which has filtered through the volcanic and limestone rocks of the Blue Mountains down into the foothills of a spring near Mcleish Town, and sugar cane sourced  from family estates in Port Maria, the former spanish capital of Jamaica.

Smatts Mojito
Prep time
Total time
A mojito with a difference using Smatt's Gold - sun-bronzed in colour with notes of Demerara sugar and molasses and strong hints of coconut and apricot. It has an aroma of dried petals and wood spice and contains a creamy, yet spicy texture.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Cuisine: Jamaican
Serves: 1
  • 60 ml Smatt’s Gold Rum
  • 1 Whole Lime
  • 3 Stems Organic Mint
  • 1 tblsp. Simple Syrup
  • Soda Water
  1. Squeeze the lime juice into a tall glass. Add the simple syrup, rum and most of the mint, keeping a small sprig for the garnish.
  2. Crush the ingredients together to release the mint flavour.
  3. Fill the glass with ice and top up with soda water.
  4. Stir and garnish.


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1 Night FREE & Complimentary Continental Breakfast Summer Offer Mon, 18 Apr 2016 10:29:29 +0000 Winnifred Beach

Book now for the summer and enjoy not just our low season rates but take advantage of our irresistible summer offer:

    • Complimentary luxury home-baked continental breakfast
    • 1 bottle of  red or white wine or Red Stripe served with a plate of our organic Jamaican Tapas
    • Artisan Food Basket
    • 1-night FREE, a saving of 14% IF you book for 7 nights or more

Available Dates – 18 April – 18 December 2016 – BOOK NOW

 Complimentary Continental Breakfast

Our continental breakfasts receive so much praise, freshly brewed Blue Moutain or Italian style coffee, freshly squeezed organic fruit, a range of our own home backed pastries and speciality breads, home made preserves and a platter of organic seasonal Jamaican fresh fruits.

Complimentary Jamaican Tapas  & Bottle of Wine on Arrival

We are big fans of Spanish tapas, the little dishes and snacks served alongside your welcome aperitivo and we have created our own with a Jamaican fusion twist that could include 

  • Tuna Ceviche with Scotch Bonnet Papaya Salsa
  • Goat Chops with Guava and Tamarind sauce
  • Green Banana Mussa (cooked mashed Bananas with Coconut Milk and Baccalà)
  • Hemp crust pizza with Ackee & Baccalà or Callaloo & Cheese

Complimentary Artisan Food Basket

In between a cooling swim in the Caribbean Sea and kiting, enjoy dipping into our coconut and wicker basket gift for a handful of irresistible roasted Blue Mountain coffee beans that have been richly coated in chocolate which is also grown up high on our UNESCO mountains’ misty slopes. A pack of Jamaica’s finest Blue Mountain coffee beans, the most expensive in the world will be included in your basket, for you to take home and have your most indulgent cup of coffee that will rekindle memories of simple pleasures whilst on holiday in Jamaica. Chef Barbara’s aromatic Pimento Liqueur is fabled throughout Port Antonio and this delicious rum-based dram will be part of our basket.  Whether it makes it back home with you or you’ll indulge yourself in exotic allspice Jamaica’s nightcap on your room terrace we wouldn’t like to predict!  If it doesn’t there is the  bottle of her homemade organic Jerk Sauce to help re-capture your Jamaican holiday mood!

Save 14% off your Room Price

If you book one of our comfortable airy rooms for 7 nights you will only pay for  6 nights, a saving of 14% allowing you to explore Portland enjoy an extra special treat on your last day


Between 1-29 May 2016 the Mille Fleurs kitchen will be open to non-resident guests for breakfast and lunch only.  Following on from Chef Barbara’s presentation to the Terroir conference in Toronto on Food, Art and Passion she will be travelling to Europe on a study trip to explore ‘local’ and ‘heritage’ ready to bring back new skills and tastes into the Mille Fleurs kitchen.

Guests are most welcome to come and enjoy the sunset from our bar terrace and sample some of our tropical cocktails and the Jamaican Tapas Platter.  We will be serving soups, salads and light options for dinner. Reservations MUST be made the day before the date of dining to allow our team to plan. To make your reservation  talk to any member of staff or email – or telephone +1 876 993 ext. 7134 or 7267.



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Jamaican Coconut Bread for a Low Sugar Treat Thu, 14 Apr 2016 18:51:29 +0000 Coconut Bread
One recipe that we get asked for again and again by our guests is for our moreish Jamaican Coconut Bread recipe that we serve as part of our home-baked breakfast breads in the Mille Fleurs Restaurant.  Ask any Jamaican what their favourite sweet bread is and coconut bread will be at the top of the list.  Everyone has their own favourite family recipe with an assortment of flours used including breadfruit for those following a gluten free diet and often chickpea flour by Jamaica’s rastafrians.

Coconut Bread is relatively healthy; the sweetness of the coconut decreases the amount of refined sugar that baking a cake normally requires and there is no butter, shortening or fats  required. Interestingly, coconuts are rich in medium chain triglycerides that have actually been shown to reduce appetite and therefore help to eliminate abdominal obesity.


4-Cups/480 g Plain Flour
2 tsps  Baking Powder
½ tsp  Salt
3-Cups/360 g Grated Coconut
¾ Cup/150 g  Caster Sugar
1 tsp  Vanilla Extract
1  Egg (beaten)
1-Cup/240 ml Milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add coconut, sugar, vanilla and beaten eggs. Pour in a little milk each time until dough is firm but not sticky.

Bake in greased loaf tins, for about 1 hour or until golden brown.

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Tipping in Jamaica Mon, 11 Apr 2016 08:04:59 +0000 Mockingbirdee TreasuresWithout our wonderful staff we would not have our much loved hotel and restaurant in Port Antonio Jamaica. It is for that reason we believe in paying a monthly living wage to each and every member of our team including all our trainees which is neither dependent on age or gender. Tips for our staff are shared equally amongst the whole team and because we do not use tips to make our team members wage liveable, tips can be saved or used towards a well earnt treat for themselves and their families.

Tips – A Reward not a Top Up to Get By

Jamaica is one of the most expensive islands to live in the Caribbean due to the amount that the island needs to import which is why the monthly minimum wage in Jamaica is high J$22,400, US $1,800 gross.  Our trainees start at J$ 30,000 and the average minimum wage amongst our team is J$ 45,000.

During the low season in Jamaica as occupancy levels drop so do tips which is why we recommend booking a sustainable hotel who believes in fair pay and assuring their team members that their living needs will be met irrespective of occupancy levels.

If you feel that the service in a sustainable Jamaican hotel or restaurant has been outstanding we recommend leaving a 10-15% tip.

Sustainable Hotels Create a Viable Economic Future for Jamaica

Sustainable hotels like Hotel Mockingbird Hill do not employ staff on a casual contract, which is the norm within much of the tourism sector in Jamaica, particularly at the all-inclusive resorts in the west of the island. Casual contracts allow the larger hotels to increase their profit margins by avoiding paying the obligatory statutory deductions and contributions required by the Jamaican government for their full-time employees.

These contributions are vital for Jamaica’s long-term economic development and include pension payments, a necessity for an aging population and additionally to the very important National Housing Trust which enables Jamaicans to borrow money to purchase land or build/buy a house at low interest rates.

Healthcare for the Mockingbird Team

Although health care is free in Jamaica the waiting time to see a doctor is extensive. Each of Hotel Mockingbird Hill’s long standing employees enjoy the benefit of our private group health insurance policy which guarantees decent health care for them and their family and immediately covers them in the event of major crises.

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Eat Your Greens, They’re Clean! Mon, 04 Apr 2016 11:07:08 +0000 dashi redrussian goldentomatoes collard-greens nas radishes

Mockingbird Hill’s organic vegetables and herbs are supplied by Mt Plenty Farm Fresh, an old plantation that is bordered by a pristine spring-fed river nestled in the foothills of Walkerswood and who have been certified organic growers for two and a half years.

Radiant Earth


The farm believes that the food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison. Instead of growing crops using pesticides and chemical fertilisers that have a long-term negative affect on nature and the soil, it enriches soil fertility with its own homemade compost made from seaweed, manure and green grass.  This is not always the easiest way to do things, in a world of profit-first and nature-last; it certainly isn’t the way most crops are grown, but it’s the way it should be done. It is sustainabile, and cares for the land without contaminating the water table, the crops and the staff ensuring the earth is a better place for our children and grandchildren.

This Month’s Tasty Ingredients Supplied to the Mille Fleurs Kitchen

Tatsoi, Baby Lettuce, Mizuna, Arugula, Chives, Spinach, Oregano, Dinosaur Kale (Cavelo Nero), Red Russian Greens, Collard Greens, Golden Tomatoes, Baby Kale, Purple Top Turnips, Parsley, Tatsoi, Chinese Cabbage, Diakon Radishes,  Lemon Blam, Siberian Kale, Nasturtium Flowers.

Mosquito & Bug Protection in Jamaica Fri, 18 Mar 2016 19:59:03 +0000 On Pellew Island

The one downside to holidaying on a sunny tropical island like Jamaica are mosquitoes.  To date Jamaica is thankfully not listed by the World Health Organisation as having had an outbreak of Zika so no travel regulations are in place, but here are our local tips to counter the pesky day and night biting mosquitos that live on the island.

Stay at a Hotel Who Plant Intelligently

We do all we can at Mockingbird Hill to control mosquitoes by intelligent planting close to rooms. Neem Trees, Garlic, French Thyme, Rosemary and Marigolds all repel our least favourite insect. Our gardens are bio-dynamic which means that we do not use insecticides in turn encouraging natural predators such as dragonflies, lizards, spiders, water striders, frogs and snails that eat the mosquitoes and their larvae.

How to Sleep

Whilst in Jamaica we recommend that you sleep under a mosquito net, keep your hotel room fans on as mosquitoes hate draughts and air movement and use an electric plugin repellent that will be provided by all good hotels that works against ‘local’ mosquitoes.

In & Out the Shower

You can reduce your personal interest to mosquitos by showering frequently and not using highly perfumed soaps, shampoos and body lotions and alternately using those that contain essential oils that naturally repel mosquitoes such as Lemongrass, Citronella, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Vetivier or Pimento (All Spice).

The Order of Repellant and Suntan Cream

ALWAYS apply mosquito repellant before layering on sun tan lotion.  Both should be applied one hour before going out. Top up your mosquito repellant each time that you apply your suntan cream as sweat diminishes the effectiveness of both and straight after you have been swimming.

We suggest using Picaridin which has an edge over DEET in that it discourages mosquitoes from landing on you in the first place. If you do want to go down DEET route, and hikers up in the Blue Mountains may feel happier spraying this on as it is what many are used to, we recommend using one that contains 20% DEET.

At Hotel Mockingbird Hill we supply a local insect repellent that contains a base of OLE/PMD, the oil extracted from the lemon scented gum eucalyptus plant blended with Lemongrass, Citronella. Lavender, Vetivier and Pimento essential oils.  In local tests it proved not only better smelling but was long lasting and effective as imported products containing DEET.

What to Wear

Wherever possible, wear light coloured long sleeved shirts, baggy trousers and sock and shoes to minimize exposed skin and sensitive bite spots like ankles and arms. Mosquitoes long for visitors to Jamaica to pack their spandex, but leave it at home as there is nothing easier for a mosquito to bite through!

Consider using one of the mosquito repellent bracelets which carry essential oils to help repel mosquitos when combined with your repellent spray.


Eating out

Across Jamaica most of the larger restaurants will use an electric plugin to repel unwanted mosquitoes, for your own personal comfort do check before you sit down that the restaurant has something in place and consider an alternative if you suffer a bad reaction to mosquito bites.

Back Home

The standard practice of always visiting a doctor if you feel ill on your return from any country applies when back from a holiday to Jamaica.  Chikungunya Fever can be carried by mosquitoes on the island and although serious complications are uncommon and the illness should only take a few days to resolve it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Listen to

Local GP, Dr Michael Abrahams rap about how Jamaica can continue to avoid the Zika virus.


Feel the Breeze Offer Mon, 07 Mar 2016 13:19:10 +0000 Kiting

FEEL THE BREEZE OFFER = book now for April and receive our low season summer rates. All guests will receive our springtime artisan foodie basket and kite for the beach if you book before 30 April 2016.

Take advantage of April’s gentle warm breezes and Jamaica’s expansive blue skies and fly a brightly coloured kite on the island’s most romantic private beach, Frenchman’s Cove.


In between a cooling swim in the Caribbean Sea and kiting, enjoy dipping into our coconut and wicker basket gift for a handful of irresistible roasted Blue Mountain coffee beans that have been richly coated in chocolate which is also grown up high on our UNESCO mountains’ misty slopes.

A pack of Jamaica’s finest Blue Mountain coffee beans, the most expensive in the world will be included in your April basket, for you to take home and have your most indulgent cup of coffee that will rekindle memories of simple pleasures whilst on holiday in Jamaica.

Chef Barbara’s aromatic Pimento Liqueur is fabled throughout Port Antonio and this delicious rum-based dram will be part of our April basket.  Whether it makes it back home with you or you’ll indulge yourself in exotic allspice Jamaica’s nightcap on your room terrace we wouldn’t like to predict!  If it doesn’t there is the  bottle of her homemade organic Jerk Sauce to help recapture your Jamaican holiday mood!

Kiting Jamaica

Free to Soar and Dream

Kite flying at Easter has become a Jamaican tradition, and each of the beautiful kites that we will be gifting our guests has been handmade by the Lifeyard art community project in Kingston which you can visit as part of our Pressing Tunes Music Tour.

Book Early & Receive our low season rates our Artisan Foodie Basket & Kite