Sunday, February 26, 2012

return to spice island

This past week I revisited the Caribbean island of Grenada, the beloved subject of a swoon-y blog post I wrote last year.
Grenada is a magnificent volcanic island dominated by an extensive rain forest and surrounded by crystal clear water.  This small, beautiful country is a visitor's paradise. The people of Grenada are kind and proud of their home, the weather is warm with cooling gentle sea breezes, the rolling hills are dramatic and the vegetation is lush.
 A bread fruit tree heavy with fruit grows in a front yard garden.
Tamarind grows all over the island.
Known as The Spice Island, Granada is famous for it's nutmeg, cinnamon and cocoa beans.
 These large coral colored cocoa pods are used in Grenadian chocolate and cocoa tea.
Almost everywhere you go on the island you are greeted by the fragrance of freshly ground spices. The Grenadian people are justifiably proud of their fertile land where everything grows in profusion.
Some spice crops of Grenada:
 Ginger root
lemon grass
annatto seed
I visited the spice and vegetable market in the harbor capitol of St. Georges on a busy Saturday and went crazy purchasing island specialties like the instant pain relieving spray made from nutmeg oil known as Nut-Med,  a product my husband swears by for his muscular aches and pains.
 The busy scene at the Saturday market.
A wonderful variety of root vegetables are part of the tropical cuisine.
Coconuts still in clusters cut from the tree.
It was hard to know when to stop shopping and within no time my basket spilled over with spice blends, jams, fragrant soaps, hot sauces and whole spices.
It is inevitable that all good things come to an end. Returning home last night I slunk past the customs official at JFK with my suitcase wreaking of Grenadian scents, hoping they would not feel like confiscating my chocolate bars and Tamarind BBQ hot sauce. This morning I surveyed my spicy loot and made a simple tribute breakfast to the warm, hospitable and deliciously welcoming Island of Grenada.
 My scent of Grenada breakfast: Toast topped with nutmeg jam, home fry potatoes seasoned with a Grenadian spice blend of sea salt, bay leaf, cinnamon and nutmeg and a batch of scrambled eggs jazzed up with a dash of passion fruit hot sauce.

A perfect way to extend the visit of a beloved place is to seek out the local condiments and give them a try. The defining aromas of a culture's cuisine can be captured in their spice blends and seasonings, giving an instant mini-vacation lift to an everyday meal. I leave a bit of my heart in Grenada every time I visit, but bring home equal measures of flavor and happy memories.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is looking really great and is always inspiring. I love hearing about your trip to Grenada and seeing the pictures. It looks amazing and delicious.


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