Food24 decided to stop over at some of these beautiful islands and take a closer look at what this nation of African, French, Indian, Creole and Spanish tastes will serve up during this international event.
Barbadian cuisine has strong influences from Portugal, England, West Africa and Spain. As the saying goes, "It's hard to find bad food in Barbados."
Steamed Fly-Fishing and Coo-Coo are the national dishes of the island. This is not fly-fishing as we know it. The fly fish is about 15 inches long, live on the surface of the ocean. They leap into the air and spread their enlarged pectoral fins then glide over the ocean's surface. Coo-Coo is a bit easier to catch and a similar side dish to Italian polenta.
St. Kitts and Nevis
These two islands have a very strong French and British influences with vibrant festivals and carnivals throughout the year. Fresh fish and meat form the staple of their diet while goat is also popular. The goat water stew is unique to the area. It's an interesting mix of goat, breadfruit, green pawpaw (papaya), and dumplings (also known as 'droppers') in a tomato-based stew.
Inhabitants of St. Kitts also use pigeon peas in their dishes. It falls into the family of legumes, also called the Congo pea hailing from Africa.
The area is also famous for their cook-outs on Friday and Saturday nights, where you can savour a truly Caribbean dish called Pelau, a cousin on the East Indian Pilau. This is a stew with chicken or goat, pigeon peas, rice and coconut milk all cooked in the same pot.
You can also find some of the best rum brands in the world in St. Kitts with Cane Spirit Rothschild's taking top honours followed by Brinley Gold Rum.
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua is an island paradise littered with resorts where crystal clear water and powder white beaches attract tourist and honeymooners on a large scale. Barbuda is the smaller of the two and now hosts an extensive bird estuary.
Most Antiguans are of African heritage brought to the island as slaves to work on the numerous sugarcane plantations. An interesting dish unique to the area is pepper pot – a succulent stew of beef, pork, dumplings, spices and vegetables such as okra. The dish often comes with "fungi" a mixture of cornmeal and okra, with a consistency of American grits.
Once again goat is quite popular with fresh fish forming the base of many home cooked meals.
St Lucia is yet another tropical island with an eclectic mix of cultures where you drive on the British side of the road, in the French part of town, while eating a lovely Indian meal and conversing in Creole.
The volcanic soil of the island yields an enormous amount of fresh produce with bananas taking the lead followed by mangoes, papayas, pineapples, soursops, passion fruit, guavas, and coconuts. Creole-style dishes, curries and pepper pot stews are local favourites.
Also called the spice island, Creole cuisine and traditional West Indian flavours combine to form a unique Grenadian cuisine. Famous for its spices, dishes are infused with nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger. Nutmeg is the island's principle spice and can be found in anything from stews to ice-cream.
Grenada's national dish is Oil-down which consists of a stew made with salted meat, breadfruit, onion, carrot, celery, dasheen (a root vegetable grown locally) and dumplings, all slowly steamed in coconut milk until the liquid is absorbed. Seafood is very popular and plentiful, with Grenadian caviar (roe of White Sea urchin), conch and a fish dish called "Stuffed Jacks" appearing on many restaurant menus.