Some people are happy to visit the Eiffel Tower at Epcot Center, but many of us want the real deal, the authentic experience, the rain forest in Surinam instead of a café by that name at the Sawgrass Mills.
In walks Bruce Harms. Visiting one of his marketing clients one day, he took a second look at the neatly lined up bottle of Pica de Papaya, and said to himself, Eureka, with the sudden, unexpected realization that he is looking at an authentic Aruban experience.
He heard about the quest for authenticity at a recent Aruba Tourism Authority gathering, and tried himself of introduce some authenticity to the island’s tourist product by setting up a Culinary Walking Tour in town, but nothing tripped his trigger, until he laid his eyes on the lovely bottles of Pica Di Papaya.
Uncovering the Authentic Aruba, he identified more than 30 artisanal home-industries producing hot sauces, wines, jams, cakes and snacks, of course hot sauces are most popular, with some of them already sold in the tourist market as souvenirs from Aruba.
To cut a long story short Bruce created an umbrella organization to market and promote authentic Aruban products, and he is now signing agreements with restaurants and retail outlets to stock, display and sell, various, genuine, Aruban tastes.
The debut took place on Friday at Local Store. The popular bar was the first outlet to receive an Authentic Aruba display cabinet, and Bruce intends to build one for each outlet he signs up. Then his job is to make sure they are always brimming with local goodies.
I met some great people at the event, Bruce had them all wearing an Authentic Aruba tag, they all carried Authentic Aruba business cards, with nice graphics by Rowald de Graaff, it looked super professional and I hope the tourists open their valets and take some of our deliciousness home.
Aruba Ginger, by Rosa & Kenneth: Five different products also available in the supermarkets. I am already using the extra hot. Goes great with everything, Tel.: 5945708
Delimy Spice-Herbs, by Shirley & Selinna: Homemade wines, syrups, jam, Mauby and remedies, Tel.: 7302612.
Zera Snacks by Zeraida Kastaneer: Pastechi, Boyo di Maishi Rabo & Pasa Boca Dessert, Tel.: 6007358
Mangiare Gourmet Cuisine: For appetizers, amuse bouche and small catering, Tel.: 5935464
Island Girl by Timothy & Richienel: Souvenirs and tee-shirts, Tel.: 5931359
Adore Wines, by Papi DeLisle: Winemaker Luiz Melatti grows a vineyard in Burubundo, since 2010, and the wine is made and bottled in Aruba. Check out the website www.videiramelatti.com. Michael & Maurice DeLisle were also on hand for the special occasion.
About Bruce Harms: Enthusiastic, dynamic, fast talking, fast thinking, creative and fun, also married to the lovely Heidi Munzenhoffer with whom he has two equally adorable kids. When he was a kid himself, he grew up on my street and I think I have to write a book one day describing his mischievous adventures!
Kenneth Giel is Bruce’s partner in the venture, but he doesn’t have to say a word because Bruce does all the talking! www.authenticaruba.com