Martinique Dishes: Creole Cuisine to try
Located in the southeastern Caribbean, the tiny little-known island of Martinique has natural charms that take cenDishester stage with towering mountains blanketed in rainforests, stunning postcard-perfect beaches, and year-round balmy trade winds. But the more refined side of Martinique serves up a level of culinary mastery that also attracts food-lovers from the far corners of the world. As a region of the French Republic that’s been in French control since 1635, Martinique exudes an air of sophistication and style unlike any other Caribbean island. So much so that its city of Sainte Pierre is often referred to as “the Paris of the Caribbean”.
Martinique’s unique local Créole cuisine is a shining star of this celebrated sophistication – a fusion of artful French and spicy African, with a touch of exotic southern Asian flair. Perhaps as much as the ethnic influences, it’s the local ingredients that bring the classic French dishes to life with savory aromas, and vivid colors of the island. Fresh seafood like lobster, crab and conch is often on the menu. But Martinique’s local produce including guava, plantains and savory spices such as muscade (nutmeg) and graines de bois d’inde (allspice berries) are the real treat, all to be found at the city of Fort-de-France’s 130-year old covered spice market – a fragrant wonderland for foodies.
Dining while in Martinique is a not-to-be-missed experience, whether at a hotel, seaside eatery or the cook’s front porch. The island offers an exciting variety of restaurants to please diners of every taste, with many taking advantage of one of Martinique’s stunning settings to complement their culinary delights. The best Créole cuisine can often be found at the most unpretentious “down-home” establishments, where the recipes have been passed along for generations, and the service is warm and friendly. Don’t miss out one of the most pleasant local dining traditions – preceding your meal with a Ti’-Punch cocktail made with a potent local rum!
We’ve compiled a list highlighting Martinique food specialties that will have your mouth watering – and maybe even flights to Martinique booked – before you know it. In the meantime, you may want to start brushing up on your French!
Accras de Morue
A signature dish of Martinique, Accras de Morue (also known as Marinades) are crisp, tender fritters traditionally made with salt cod and local peppers for heat, mixed with a batter and deep fried into golden, delicious balls of goodness. They are sometimes served with Sauce Chien, a spicy, garlicky salsa that originated in the French West Indies. While in Martinique, sample these as often as possible. Chez Carole in Fort-de France is said to have some of the best!
Lambis is the Créole word for a large sea snail, or conch. In the islands it’s a staple food, and Martinique cuisine is no exception. It’s prepared in many different ways; in a traditional French fricassee stew, skewered and grilled, battered and fried, or as a ceviche with lime juice and a spicy chili sauce.
While on vacation, make sure you try chatrou, one of the most famous Martinique dishes. A small octopus that’s used in a number of Créole specialties, Martinicans often enjoy Chatrou in a fricassee, a tasty stew consisting of onions, garlic, tomatoes, allspice leaves, lemon, chili pepper and other spices. Traditionally, the fricassee is served with rice and red kidney beans, a very common side in the islands of the French West Indies.
When France abolished slavery in 1848, Tamil laborers from southern India began arriving in Martinique, bringing their unique curry spice blends with them. The islanders adapted the spice blends to their tastes, naming it Colombo after the city of Sri Lanka where some of the laborers had traveled from. It contains special blends of turmeric, hot pepper, coriander, West Indian bay leaf, thyme and black peppercorns. One of the most notable dishes is Colombo de Martinique, a kind of stew made from lamb cooked in coconut milk, ginger, and Colombo spices.
Blanc Manger au Coco
This traditional Martinique food is a dessert made from coconut milk, vanilla, sugar and gelatin. Similar to a flan dessert, cinnamon or lime zest is sometimes used to add a tangy-sweet taste. Blanc Manger au coco is served cold, and ideally alongside some sweet local fruit. Mango is an island favorite and complements the flavors perfectly.
Féroce d’avocat, or “fierce avocado,” is a spicy dish passed down from the island’s sugar plantation workers and is prevalent in Martinique’s cuisine. Traditionally eaten for breakfast, it is now better known as an appetizer made with salt fish, avocado, parsley and garlic – and thoroughly spiced up with Caribbean hot chili peppers such as habanero. Féroce d’avocat is served cold, but can pack a mean fiery-hot punch!
Rhum Agricole Ti-Punch
While perhaps not technically part of Créole cuisine, Ti’-Punch (pronounced “tee paunch” in Créole) is so ingrained in Martinican culture and tradition that it can hardly be left out. Rhum Agricole is a style of rum distilled in the French West Indies, and is made from pressed sugarcane rather than molasses. The Ti’-Punch cocktail is simple – made with just Rhum Agricole, raw sugar, and lime for fully enjoying the best rums of Martinique. A true delight for rum-lovers!
These distinctive local flavors are well worth traveling for. If the tastes and aromas of vibrant Martinique are calling, perhaps it is time to make your way to this charming island where you’ll soak in the French culture among stunning tropical beauty. To fully experience Martinique’s dramatic coastlines, choose a yacht charter that can circumnavigate the island, stopping to enjoy beaches, local markets, seaside villages – and of course – delectable Créole cuisine at your choice of charming waterfront restaurants. Très magnifique!
A Martinique “by the cabin” charter for one or two guests is the perfect way to get your feet wet and experience a yacht charter without the expense of chartering an entire yacht. Simply climb aboard and let your professional captain and gourmet chef treat you to the vacation of a lifetime.
Find out more
We offer by the cabin charters from our bases in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Asia and the Pacific – call our team to find out more at 1.866.469.0912. Alternatively, get in touch with us today to learn of all cruising options Martinique has to offer.
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