Thursday, November 6, 2008

Country Challenge: Martinique


This week I am cooking a dinner from Martinique, an overseas region of France.
I chose this country for two reasons. One is because in keeping with clean out the fridge week, I found 2 great recipes using things I already had on hand, and another is because I didn't have time to stop by the library, but had copied these recipes a while back for future use!

Now, a little about Martinique...
The official language of Martinique is French, but inhabitants mostly speak a form of Creole. The currency used is the euro. Around 400,000 people live on the island of Martinique, it is very small and in the Caribbean Ocean just north of St. Lucia.

The island is made from 5 non-active volcanoes, that are now covered in lush, tropical rain forest. The most famous volcano, Mount Pelee, has created beautiful beaches with ashy black sand. The south contains most of the population and tourism, as it has roads and establishments.
Martinique's culture is a blend of French and Caribbean. Most of the population is decendant from slaves brought from Africa to work the sugarcane plantations.

You might also recognize mention of the country in the Beach Boy's song, "Kokomo"..."To Martinique, that Montserrat mystique."

I have to say, after reading their main tourism ad, I'd sure love to go there....

"The Caribbean Island with French Flair, The Isle of Flowers, The Rum Capital of the World – by any one of its many names Martinique remains one of the most alluring and enchanting destinations in the world; as unforgettable as a summer romance or a first kiss. Martinique is an overseas region of France, and in keeping with its traditions, this vibrant island stirs the passions with awe-inspiring natural beauty, a rich cultural history, distinctive culinary delights, warm smiles and so much more. Napoleon’s bride, Empress Josephine, was born and raised here. The Pompeii of the Caribbean, St. Pierre, is found here. The finest French products, from Chanel fashions to Limoges porcelain, are readily available here. La Route des Rhums, a tour of the world’s finest rum distilleries based on France’s famed Route des Vins, is offered here.
A special place, to be sure, with so much to offer Martinique c’est magnifique!"

Recipes taken from:
French Carribean Cuisine, Stephanie Ovide. Hippocrene Books: NY, 2002.

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