Learn how to make three dishes from the island of Barbados to celebrate Caribbean Week!
Caribbean culture isn’t just about soaking in the sun. In celebration of Caribbean Week in New York this week through June 7, The Daily Meal learned about the organic cuisine and hearty rum-based drinks of Barbados from some of the top chefs and mixologists on the island, including Cheahan Burnham, the executive chef of Blue Sky Luxury Villas.
“Barbados cuisine is exciting, flavorful, and there’s no such thing as preservatives,” said Burnham of the food in his island nation.
With no preservatives, Barbadian cuisine also has a tendency to be hearty yet healthy with plenty of starchy vegetables, stews, and fresh salads, said chef Creig Greenidge, the executive chef of CM Catering in Barbados.
If you visit Barbados, expect the local cuisine to be seafood-heavy, with a lot of local spices and seasonings incorporated, like the traditional island dish of flying fish stuffed with coucou (a Caribbean polenta) and onions, or the common pickled bananas side dish.
One of the key ingredients in most delicious Caribbean dishes is Barbados rum. “We incorporate rum in everything,” Burnham said, “From our cooking to desserts and cocktails.”
They’re not kidding. A few shakes from the bottle of local Barbados rum went into almost every dish and drink prepared, including the fried pumpkin fritters, which were dipped into a rum cream sauce made with cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. The rum itself is made from molasses, which is created from the raw sugarcane that grows abundantly on the island.
“Cocktail culture is definitely growing in Barbados,” said Jamaal Bowen, one of the top bartenders in Barbados. He and mixologist Dameain Williams made a hickory-smoked cocktail with bell peppers, cucumber, rosemary, and apple juice, in addition to the rum. “We have a saying here,” said Williams. “Anything you can eat, you can drink.”
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi