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Food Markets and Creole Cuisine

Creole is the term commonly used to describe the traditional cuisine of Dominica and our French island neighbours; Guadeloupe and Martinique. It comes from the food and style of cooking that were employed by plantation slaves when the island was a colony of France and then Britain. African heritage blended with French cooking styles to create the kind of dishes that many Dominicans still love to eat today.

Creole Cooking Ingredients

Traditionally, Creole cooking usually includes a meat such as fish, pork, chicken, or goat, that is accompanied by a generous helping of ground provisions such as sweet potato, yam, dasheen (also known as taro), green bananas and tannia. Rice and peas with coconut milk also feature, as do plantains, vegetables and salad.

The most important ingredient in traditional Creole cuisine, however, is the seasoning; usually a heady combination of garlic, chives, parsley, limes, and both seasoning and hot peppers.

The main meal of the day is usually eaten at lunchtime and a Creole lunch is meant to fill you up so that you have enough energy for the toils of the afternoon, whatever they may be.

Dominica’s Creole dishes

Dominica’s Creole dishes include:

callaloo soup made from young dasheen (also known as taro) or spinach leaves and often served with dumplings, smoked meat or crab;

sancoche made with a tomato and coconut milk base, often cooked with codfish and christophine (also known as chayote);

crabback highly seasoned land crab meat that is served in its own shell;

“braf” a one-pot broth of smoked meat and fish with lots of ground provisions, dumplings and vegetables like cabbage, christophine (also known as chayote), carrots and okras;

pelau a seasoned rice and peas dish, usually cooked with chicken or other meats.

Fresh Produce Markets

Fresh produce markets in Roseau, Portsmouth, and many villages are fun and interesting places to visit – especially with our chef who can show you around and teach you about the wide variety of produce that is on sale. Back at Secret Bay, he will demonstrate how to cook it in both traditional and contemporary styles. You can even have a go yourself.

Dominica’s fresh markets are very engaging places, usually crowded with vendors selling ground provisions, fruits, vegetables, herbs and other seasonings. Often, cooked food will also be for sale. You’ve probably heard of nose-to-tail dining, but here they’re just traditional weekend favorites such as cows’ foot soup, souse (brined pigs’ trotters or cows’ skin), black pudding (blood sausage), and many others.

Markets are social occasions where people meet and catch up, exchange news (read: gossip), and discuss island politics. We are sure you will enjoy!

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