Foodie souvenirs from Martinique
Today I thought to write about an essential part of traveling – souvenirs! And especially what could be some good purchases from Martinique. As a person who loves good food and drink, that is what I’ll be mostly concentrating on.
You might have heard that the island is known for – amongst other things – its excellent rum. I’m happy to confirm that it’s no legend, the stuff is truly good and cheap too! Martinique boasts eight active distilleries (in French distilleries fumantes) producing the world’s only AOC rum. This is a French label (Appelation d’Origine Controlée) that is issued to produce that’s high quality and typical to its region. There are several great brands around but if you ask what the locals prefer most often the answer is either Neisson (one of two family-owned distilleries on the island) or JM. So when on the island be sure to visit a distillery – I’d recommend JM, Saint-James, la Favorite and Dépaz – and taste some really good rums and punches (for free!).
Another tasty thing produced in here (which also goes well with your rum!) is chocolate. Just walk to a nearest supermarket or a grocery store and spot a « Elot » chocolate bar. The particularity of this chocolate is that it’s made to withstand tropical weather conditions – so this is a dark chocolate made with only natural ingredients like cane sugar and vanilla which won’t melt so easily. The Elot company was established all the way back in 1911 and is a local company. A newer addition to the chocolate-making world on the island is the Frères Lauzéa brand, created in 2004 by two Martinican chocolate-maker brothers. Frères Lauzèa is inspired by the Caribbean and their high-quality creations include ingredients like old rum, guava, basil, coffee, banana etc. The company is now recognized as being part of the twenty best chocolate-makers in the world! You can visit their shop in le Lamentin or Fort-de-France. See more at : https://www.frereslauzea.com
A great edible souvenir is cane sugar produced on the island at the last standing sugar factory, le Galion. You can find it in different packages from simple bags to elaborate hand-painted glass jars.
If you’re looking for spices and bush teas – head for the central markets in town centers or to « le Monde des Epices » spice shop (located near the airport). The biggest market is in the capital, Fort-de-France, and is called le marché couvert. Here you can find a big variety of Caribbean spices and also handicrafts, fruits, home-made punches and much more.
One more foodie delight I think is worth mentioning is local jam and jelly. You won’t be short of choice! I’d recommend the « Royal » brand that has a good selection of tropical flavors including for example sweet pepper, ginger and passion fruit jellies. Prices are between 3 and 4 euros in the supermarkets so this is a great value product too.
Hope this has given you some nice ideas about what to bring home from Martinique, don’t hesitate to comment if there’s anything you think I should have mentioned or to let me know your personal favorites!