MUSTIQUE - I recently spent a heavenly week on the island of Mustique in the West Indies at a home called “Gingerbread,” with my dear friend Tiqui Atencio, a contemporary art collector. Tiqui is also a philanthropist whose generosity is felt on both sides of the Atlantic. Born in Venezuela, she founded the Latin American Acquisitions Committee at the Tate – a model of its kind; Tiqui is also the President of the Guggenheim Museum’s International Director’s Council, which has generated the funds for some of the Guggenheim’s most important art acquisitions.

Tiqui Atencio shows rocker Bryan Adams how to prepare truffles on toasts.

Even though it was post-Christmas, the island was filled with an interesting mix of people from the world of art, entertainment, fashion and diplomacy.  Every meal was an exquisite adventure, with interesting guests flowing in and out for lunch, cocktails, and dinner.  One of the houseguests, Pierre, brought black truffles from his home in Provence, where he has four hundred oak trees, and a well-trained truffle hunting dog. We ate the truffles on everything from breakfast omelets to grilled bread with olive oil and salt (a favorite of guest Bryan Adams), and the most decadent of all, on foie gras. One day, we had what the locals call “goat water,” a stew made from every (and I mean every) part of the goat.  A particular favorite of mine was a Venezuelan Christmas specialty called Hallaca, a rectangle-shaped pie made of maize, filled with meat, olives, raisins and capers, and wrapped in plantain leaves.

Left: Goat Water. Right: Seven-Hour Lamb.

When we ventured off the property, we had pizza and burgers (and a killer rum punch) at the Café at the Cotton House, and sunset cocktails at the Firefly bar, for martinis and toasted coconut chips. They actually have a martini club: if you drink all fourteen varieties on the menu, you get a free martini club polo shirt. (I didn’t have enough time!). And for those of you who know me, I have to eat at airports. Luckily Tiqui’s son Rodrigo told me the trick in Barbados – grab a wonderful hot curried chicken wrap in the courtyard, before you go inside.