Going Gourmet in St. Barts
Saint Barthélemy, commonly referred to as St. Barts, is a très chic island in the Caribbean. As you have probably guessed, it is indeed an overseas collectivity of France (as are Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, and Martinique!). It’s definitely a luxury destination, frequented by celebrities, the royal, and the fashion-elite.
St. Barts is best known for its beautiful beaches, many of them secluded and picturesque. The terrain is mountainous and rocky, blanketed in a stunning green, yet dry forest.
The history of St. Barts is not nearly as dramatic as many other islands in the Caribbean. The French took control in the mid 17th century, gave it to the Swedish for a hundred years or so, and then they got it back in the late 19th century. There was a brief period of slavery while the Swedish occupied the island, and some of the slaves’ ancestors still live there. The majority of the people on the island are of French descent, relatives of the original French residents.
The culture there is a mixture of European (French and Swedish) and Creole – but because the island is catered to tourists, the true culture can get lost in the industry. The culinary scene is lavish and gourmet, and the restaurants and bistros boast multicultural menus. If you dig deep enough, however, more locally flavoured dishes can be found. Home grown fruits and vegetables (typical of the Caribbean: passion fruit, mangoes, pineapple, coconut, tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado) are paired with seafood (like conch, tuna, snapper, and spiny lobster), and then seasoned with hearty spices (like curry, hot sauce, garlic, and thyme) to make tasty Caribbean meals.
Have you ever been to St. Barts? If so, what was your favourite dish? Stay tuned, coming up on Wednesday, we’ll have the Recipe of the Week – St. Barts edition! In the mean time, check out this article from Food & Wine – it’s a piece about a chef on the island, and it includes several mouth watering recipes!1 comment