Grenada: Spices are so entwined with Grenada’s identity that there’s even a little stylised nutmeg on the national flag. It’s far and away the Caribbean’s biggest spice producer, and one of the largest in the world.
Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and a myriad of other pungent cooking essentials are the country’s biggest exports. And, of course, that means they abound in the island’s favourite recipes.
Spice production has been a mainstay of the Grenadian economy for nearly 300 years. Hurricanes Ivan and Emily in 2004 and 2005 destroyed many ancient nutmeg trees, but the industry recovered and remains thriving.
The processing and grading of spices, largely done by hand, provides significant employment across Grenada. They’ll see all manner of spices being sold relatively inexpensively in colourful bulk bundles at the side of the road and at local markets.
A trip to Grenada is an ideal opportunity to stock up on your favourites, as well as trying some new flavours. Fish is also a firm favourite. You can’t take a trip to the island without a night out at the Gouyave Fish Fry.
Other Caribbean classics include saltfish, lambie souse, callaloo soup, goat curry and roti. All have their own unique spicy Grenadian twist.
Make sure people check out the local rums as well. They can take a tour of both the Westerhall and River Antoine estates, enjoying samples while admiring these historic distilleries.
READ HERE: Five Flavours of Grenada
Grenada is carving out a global reputation for cacao production. Cacao trees arrived with the French in the early 18th century. The fertile volcanic soil and warm climate proved perfect for the Criollo and Trinitario trees, which produce the finest grade of chocolate.
Nowadays, as well as selling the raw product to the rest of the world, there are a handful of successful Grenadian bean-to-bar producers who make the most heavenly chocolate. Theycan also pick up delicious handmade balls of local cocoa infused with spices at most markets. Dissolve them in warm water in a pan on the stove and sweeten with condensed milk.
Grenada’s national dish is a hearty carnival of flavours including salted meat or fish, local dumplings, breadfruit, green fig, dasheen, callaloo and many other local favourites. The ingredients are packed in layers – usually with the breadfruit and meat at the bottom – and the whole lot simmered in fresh coconut milk, herbs and spices until most of the moisture is absorbed.
Every household and parish has its own secret recipe. Traditionally cooked on an open coal or wood fire for several hours, it’s the centrepiece of a Grenadian gathering.
Crabmeat combined with herbs, garlic, sweet peppers, cheese or cream sauce and sometimes wine is baked to perfection-in the shell. Crab back is usually served with parsley, a squeeze of lime, and plenty of salads, rice or vegetables. Land crabs are abundant in Grenada and seafood lovers should not miss this speciality.
The classic butter, sugar and condensed milk sweet treat is given a Grenadian identity all of its own. It comes in a wide variety of flavours including ginger, coconut, nutmeg and chocolate.
Fudge is readily available from shops and roadside vendors for just a few dollars. It makes a great souvenir to take home… if they can resist polishing off the lot in one sitting before they leave.
Travelling is all about taking your tastebuds out of their comfort zone, right? Well, you can tick that box with the roe of the white sea urchin. Known locally as Grenadian caviar, these orange strips of tiny eggs are fried with onions and carrots – the hotter the fry, the more the strong, fishy smell is killed off. The dish has a delicious creamy nuttiness.