Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Best Authentic Caribbean Gifts and Souvenirs

Adopt a Turtle - Want to make someone feel good at the holidays, and feel like you did something good yourself? Adopt an endangered sea turtle on behalf of the person you love.

Angostura Bitters from Trinidad - a secret mix of herbs and spices used as a cocktail mixer and cure-all for a variety of ailments.

Batik from St. Kitts or Andros - The Caribelle Batik Factory on St. Kitts, located in an old sugar plantation, is bursting with colorfully dyed fabrics and clothing, from sarongs to dresses to pillow covers and wall hangings.

Caribbean Gift Baskets - Caribbean Tastes can put together a custom gift basket stuffed with Caribbean goods like rum, spices, fruit, and more.

Caribbean Rum - Other than sunshine, the Caribbean's most famous export is rum, and this liquor distilled from molasses (a byproduct of sugarcane cultivation) remains the most popular souvenir for Caribbean travelers.

Curacao Liqueur - Made from the peels of the laraha fruit grown on Curacao (a type of bitter orange), this liqueur is famous for giving color to drinks like the Blue Hawaiian and the blue margaritas you'll find at many bars.

Guava Cheese - Guava cheese doesn't actually contain any cheese -- it's the quirky name for an authentic treat found in Caribbean islands like Trinidad and Nevis and made of fresh guava and cane sugar, plus flavorings like cinnamon or lime juice.

Guavaberry from St. Maarten - The Guavaberry shop in Philipsburg, St. Maarten is one of the island's most popular tourist destinations and the best place to pick up a bottle of St. Maarten's folk liqueur, made from a rare and bitter local berry found in the island's interior. In addition to rum blended with guavaberries, the shop stocks guavaberry honey, hot sauces, and other products.

Island Charms Jewelry - Island Charms produces original jewelry crafted in the shape of islands like Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Grand Cayman, St. Croix, St. Martin, and St. Thomas, with more on the way. Made of sterling silver or 14k gold, the islands are adorned with Swarovski crystals denoting the location of capitals or major attractions.

Jimmy Buffett's Christmas CD - Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett is the personification of laid-back Caribbean cool, and his "Christmas Island" CD will warm up even the chilliest winter day.

  • Model Ships from Bequia
  • Spices from Grenada
  • St. Croix Cookbook
  • St. Croix Hook Bracelet
  • DVD on the History of Montserrat
  • Tortuga Rum Cake

Monday, December 2, 2013

Taste Of The Caribbean: Kilibibi

When the going got really tough during the Great Depression, people ate dirt. Literally! Thankfully, the current global economic mess hasn’t had as profound an impact on most of us, but really, who isn’t trying to slash their grocery bill these days? Enter the magical chefs from the island of Martinique with a gourmet twist on the most desperate of Great Depression meals, Kilibibi.

A simple, sweet cereal enjoyed plain, with milk or molasses, Kilibibi consists primarily of sand – yes, the same impossibly ubiquitous granules that we scold our kids for putting in their mouths and whipping at their friends. Here’s how you turn grains of sand into gastronomy:

Rinse sand and heat it in a large pot. Add uncooked popcorn and stir, bringing popped grains to the surface. Once all the popcorn has popped, sift out the sand with a strainer and store in a large bowl. Grind popcorn to a powder using a mortar, then combine with sand, add 300g of cane sugar, cinnamon, grated nutmeg.

Bon appetit!