As one of the best tropical vacation spots in the world, The Caribbean is an archipelago vibrant with colour, sounds, sights and tastes to ignite passion in the most laid-back of travellers. The islands themselves are a multi-cultural melting pot and this has had a profound influence on the variety and uniqueness of the dishes found throughout each country.
The diverse history of this region had meant that traditional recipes from African, Amerindian, European, East Indian, Arab and Chinese backgrounds have been fused together, and have created some truly memorable tastes and culinary innovations.
FOOD WITHIN CARIBBEAN CULTURE
Caribbean food is a very important aspect of many family traditions. With it’s many indigenous roots, you find that each households Caribbean cuisine has become a finely tuned and personalised art, the secret of which is passed down through many generations.
Mealtimes are the focus of each day, with families congregating together to enjoy the delights created with local ingredients. In the lead up to annual holidays and events, days are spent preparing the famous flavours the Caribbean is famous for.
TYPICAL CARIBBEAN INGREDIENTS
Originally, the culinary landscape of each island was defined by the natural availability of crops, fruits, vegetables, spices and meats. In modern times with global distribution channels, cooks have far more choice available to them, but traditional and well loved ingredients still shine through. Below are a selection of common Caribbean ingredients that you will no-doubt see on your restaurant menu and in the local supermarkets:
- Sweet Potatoes/Yams
- Bell Peppers
- Goat or Lamb
- Salted Local Fish
- Conch and other Seafood
- Pepper Sauces
- Molasses (Rum!)
CARIBBEAN SPICES & FLAVOURS
With its prominent role in the spice trade in days gone past, Caribbean Islands are renowned for their beautiful, subtle spicing techniques and their distinct flavours. The most regularly used spices include:
Caribbean residents love to marinade. As nations of outdoor grillers, maximising the intense flavour of some of the more bland ingredients is very important so rubs, sauces and dressings are commonplace. Most marinades are based on an oil and green herb foundation, with the inclusion of garlic, cilantro (coriander), onions, scotch-bonnet peppers, making for a fiery but flavoursome accompaniment.
A typical jerk marinade for example, will blend cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice to give it a sweeter flavour. However, bare in mind that many Island recipes are very well kept secrets, passed down through generations, and that every family has it’s own special ingredients.
OUR TOP 10 FAVOURITE CARIBBEAN FOODS
- MACARONI PIE – You might have heard of Macaroni & Cheese, but Macaroni Pie takes this well-loved dish and shapes it into a more manageable slice. PERFECT with fish!
- BLACKENED MAHI-MAHI – More widely known as Dorado this firm fish with a delicate, sweet flavour is ideal when rubbed in spices and barbecued, which gives it it’s famous ‘blackened’ crust.
- FLYING FISH CUTTERS – Like a fish sandwich but so much better! It begins with a salt-bread roll, which is stuffed with crispy fried flying fish, salad and hot pepper sauce.
- ACKEE & SALT FISH – A salty, sour combination that is delicious with dumplings or salt-bread. Ackee is a small, sour fruit
- LAMB ROTI – Unleavened, flat bread rolled with a spicy, hearty curry. The best snack on the go in the Caribbean.
- DOUBLES – Trinidadian by tradition. Flat breads that filled with delicately curried chickpeas.
- CALLALLOO – A leafy vegetable cooked down with seasoning, making a great side dish.
- JERK ANYTHING – Meats, vegetables and seafood are either dry rubbed or wet marinated with this spicy mixture and left to infuse.
- GOAT CURRY – Very similar in taste to it’s lamb cousins, this succulent meat absorbs flavour like no other.
- PATTIES - Addictive miniature savoury pasties that can be filled with almost anything.
CARIBBEAN FOOD RECIPES
The culinary experience whilst visiting another country can create memories that truly last a lifetime. Caribbean food is some of the most unique and flavoursome throughout the world, and we thoroughly recommend trying something new during your stay. For more information on the perfect villa accompaniment to your Caribbean cuisine, contact our Luxury Villa Specialists today.
If you enjoyed our article on Caribbean food, make sure to share/comment below!