Breakfast à la Caribe

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My husband and I just had the pleasure of spending an exhilarating amount of time on the beautiful island of St. Lucia in the West Indies. As is typical with our travels, everything revolves around food. We try to experience markets, farms, and the local cuisine, even when it gets a tiny bit scary and you’re hoping you brought the right pills along on your trip.

But nothing was scary in St. Lucia. The people are lovely – they reminded me of the locals we encountered while in Tanzania a few years ago. They are appreciative, gracious, kind, and love to be greeted and acknowledged. In Swahili, the greeting is “Jambo!” That will even make the grumpiest-looking person your new best friend!

In St. Lucia, they speak some English, so they are familiar with “hello” and “good morning.” And that seems to cheer everyone up! But unfortunately, most all locals, especially those who don’t work in tourism, speak a French patois, which is similar to the creole patois in our state of Louisiana. I never could understand anyone in Louisiana, and I couldn’t understand much in St. Lucia. I have even been fluent in French in my life, but the only word I ever recognized was “oui!” Also, we found out that some of the more difficult accents to decipher were spoken by people from different islands, like St. Vincent. (It’s 60 miles away!)

(Just as an observation, it was funny to us that the St. Lucians were always yelling at each other. They even yelled into their cell phones. Whenever I would ask to see if anyone was mad or about to start a fight, they would think I was very funny. So expect some happy yelling if you visit St. Lucia!)

But after our greetings of hello and good morning, and with enough arm waving and whatnot, my husband and I made our way around St. Lucia sampling everything from a freshly opened cacao pod to coconut gelatin. This one guide took us into the rainforest and showed us how nutmeg grows. Isn’t this a beautiful photo?!!!

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So of course I have quite a few posts planned on the foods of St. Lucia, but I thought I’d start by simply posting a couple of Creole breakfasts I had that were served at our hotel. They guaranteed me that it’s what the locals eat. However, one guide we talked to said they actually eat bread and fruit for breakfast, so I’m not really sure… Maybe if you’re not poverty-stricken, you have one of these lovely breakfasts. Alas, the poverty on the island is crushing to observe. At least I was doing my part – tourism is the number one industry, having just replaced banana production.

The breakfast in the top photo was listed on the menu as “Eggs and Black Beans with Red Sauce on Corn Toast.” The corn toast was actually a fried corn tortilla. It makes me a little suspicious because both head chefs at the hotel come from Mexico…..

But the black beans were absolutely delicious. The red sauce was a little on the sweet side, as I discovered everything is in St. Lucia. (As a side note, I am probably one of the few people who did not have great food experiences in New Orleans because they use so much sugar in their food there.)

The other breakfast shown below, consisted of basically the same ingredients in a different format, but instead of the tortilla, what you see is the local bread. I actually stepped into a couple of local bakeries and through the clouds of flies I could always see this bread. Sometimes in different sizes, but always in this shape. Unfortunately because of the language barrier, I was never able to find out much about the origin of this local bread.

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In the photo you can also see my glass of grapefruit juice. Trees there are just bulgingly full of these wonderful grapefruits, so I was so excited to taste the juice. Unfortunately for me, they add sugar to it, and it was almost syrupy.

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So, I may or may not have had a local Creole St. Lucian breakfast. But I know I had the local fruit, because I saw it all growing, from the guavas to the passion fruits, the mangos, various “apples” and different varieties of citrus, to the watermelons in the field. And that made it all worthwhile!

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21 thoughts on “Breakfast à la Caribe

  1. We’ve never been to St. Lucia and probably should fix that. We love the Caribbean. I enjoyed the photo of the fresh nutmeg. Did they tell you the lace around the seed pod is the spice “mace?” There is also a bird that eats the nutmeg. It is a delicacy and the meat is supposed to be divine.

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    • Our hotel was about 90% UK folks. They tell me it’s an 8 1/2 hour flight from Gatwick into st. Lucia. I would highly recommend a visit! I know about mace but hadn’t heard about the bird! That would be very interesting to try… Thanks for the info!

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  2. Love the shots – specially the grapefruit trees (I get wildly excited about fruit trees) and the freshly opened … is it nutmeg or cacao pod? love stuff like that. Look forward to your St.Lucia recipes and meanwhile: Jambo!

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    • Maracyuya – good to know. It took me a long time to get past the eyeball-aspect of passion fruit and its seeds, but the flavor is so unique and delicious! I might choose raspberries, if I had to…

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