We’re now in Guadeloupe, our first French island. I am excited to be in a French island for one reason and one reason only: The Food! I had a fantasy of our trip through the islands also being a gastronomic adventure. A fantasy filled with exotic local produce, spices and delicacies. So far the adventure has been a little tepid. In Bermuda they import everything and in Antigua it was hard to find fresh local produce. We ended up provisioning in large supermarkets, buying the same bag of Earthbound spinach we get in New York. Ah the joys of globalization. Near the marinas the restaurants cater to yachties and tourists offering standard fare (lots of pizza) at worse than New York prices. In Antigua a woman at a roadside store did teach me to cook a Christopher and sold me a wonderful avocado. We also had a great local meal at Caribbean Taste, a restaurant on the veranda of an ex-fisherman’s house. All the local people who work around the marina told us it ‘s where they have lunch. It fulfilled by fantasies by being local food, prepared by locals, in a local style, at local prices and was delicious. But on the whole if you want fresh local food you really had to search it out. We ended up eating so much pasta with marinara sauce on the boat, that Paloma says she never wants to see another bowl.
As we pulled up anchor and sailed to Guadalupe it was the tales of amazing markets, cheap French wine and the best Creole cooking in the Caribbean that was on my mind. We hit the market today and it didn’t disappoint. It was full of color and life and local produce. The woman selling spices wore traditional madras cloth outfits and their stalls smelled of the sweet sticky vanilla pods they sell.
The stalls make bouquets of vegetables and herbs, so you can buy just what you need for a dish. The whole thing was such a sensory overload that we had to have a nap when we got back. We brought lovely fresh produce and fish.
The price of the fish did renew James resolve to learn to fish, something we have been dismal failures at so far. I took advantage of the bounty and made veggie curry for dinner, something I’ve been craving for weeks. It’s good to be in France. We know we really are in France because along with great food and wine, there will a general strike tomorrow. A local told us everything will closed and the roads blocked in the morning, until the army arrests everyone.
Vivre la France libre!