Life around the world

Wednesday, 29 October, 2014 - 10:41

Multicultural cuisine in the Caribbean

by EmilyH2

In Martinique, a small overseas department of France located in the south-east Caribbean, you are just as likely to find croissants and baguettes as you are to find bananas and sugar cane. It's strange to spend 8 hours on a long-haul flight only to find many cultural staples typically associated with mainland France. 

France has many overseas departments and territories, spanning 12 time zones (the most of any country in the world) and each has their own unique mix of cultures. Here in Martinique, you'll find both traditional French food and local Creole food in the supermarkets and on restaurant menus. You can visit your local 'boulangerie' to pick up your baguettes and visit local markets to pick up avocados and passion fruit. 

For lunch, you can choose between crêpes or accras de morue (Creole fishcakes). Morue (cod) is usually served salted and is a favourite dish in the French Antilles. Another popular meal is colombo de poulet, a Creole curry dish that is fragrant and served with rice. These dishes can be accompanied by local vegetables like yams or plantain, which is a kind of cooking banana that is very common in many dishes here. 

Both Martinique and Guadeloupe grow and export cooking bananas to mainland Europe. However, the struggle between local French land owners and their French rivals causes high prices. In fact, bananas are actually cheaper in mainland France than in Martinique. In general, this rivalry causes many of the food prices in supermarkets to increase. Martinique imports its supermarket stock from mainland France, which means that you can find many familiar French branded cheese, meat and drinks even though the island is across the ocean from their original source. This makes it very easy to enjoy traditional French cuisine in a very tropical setting, with Caribbean food adding variety and a local flavour to mealtimes.       

Thanks to this mix of both French and Creole food, Martinique has a varied and original cuisine that is truly multicultural, sticking to both its Caribbean roots and its close history with France.  

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