The lush vegetation of the Caribbean is every Chef's dream...a larder crammed full with colour, variety and of course, taste. The nations of the Caribbean produce literally millions of tonnes of bananas each year alone and these are exported worldwide, but it doesn't stop there. There are hundreds of vegetables to experiment with, the starchy tubers such as yam, taro, cassava and eddoes found at the root of plants, up to coconuts at the top of the swaying palms found along the coast...fruit and vegetables are everywhere you look!
A short trip into the centre of the Caribbean Islands shows a bounteous bonanza of ingredients just waiting to be used...mangoes, nutmeg, pineapple, bananas, soursop, papaya - just to name a few, all grow by the roadside. The Caribbean is a rich habitat mostly due to the ideal climate and also the volcanic soil which supports such eclectic plant life.
At Myristica, we look to experiment with different flavour combinations to highlight the incredible produce from this region. Other times we depend on age old pairings such as pineapple & coconut, but delivered in a different way.
Frequently, we are discovering new ingredients, which inspire us to continue on our culinary journey. For example, on a trip to Shepherd's Bush Market (in our native West London) we came across a type of Caribbean squash called a 'Christophine' (also known as a Chayote) which we've seen countless times, but never really got to know. We took it back to the kitchen and tried it raw, blanched and baked. This way we can explore its taste using various cooking methods. Occasionally e use it to add 'bite' to a savoury dish, or to give a crisp and clean taste to a course... but between you and I...we are still experimenting with it!
To us, that is the beauty of Caribbean Food, there is much to still be discovered. Whether that be unusual and versatile vegetables and fruits, or even if we are familiar with them (such as Breadfruit), how they can be used in our dishes.
We are continually learning new things about what these ingredients can do. This is the journey of Myristica and we have only really just begun!
The delicious plentiful vegetables and fruits that are native to the Caribbean make getting your 'five-a-day' pretty easy. These plants are an important part of local culture and are celebrated in various creative ways throughout the Caribbean. One of our personal favourites comes from an Artist known as Macka B from the Island of Jamaica. Have a listen to the way he makes an awesome Reggae song about his favourite vegetable - the humble Cucumber...