St Lucia is a Caribbean island that’s rich in culture and history. The country has a unique mix of French, native and African influences that make it one of the most dynamic and exciting destinations in the region. Its colonial past has given way to a contemporary lifestyle and a delicious cuisine that’s worth trying out during your visit.
Awe-inspiring white sand beaches and lush rainforest hikes are just some of the things that attract travelers to this beautiful Caribbean gem. The capital city of St Lucia is Vieux Fort, which features a historic fortress as well as a picturesque old town. In addition to the beautiful countryside, visitors can explore a number of fascinating historical sites such as the Pigeon Island National Park and the Soufriere Estate.
Saint Lucian food is a blend of the European and African cultures that settled on the island during the colonial period, creating dishes that are both rich and spicy. Stews, such as pouille dudon, are particularly popular, as are roti stuffed with curried chickpeas and veggies. Other traditional delicacies include green fig and saltfish, which is a dish that’s made with salted cod, savory green bananas and a variety of spices.
Callaloo soup, which is a coconut-based stew with spinach and other leafy greens indigenous to the Caribbean islands, is another must-try. It’s made with a range of local ingredients and is one of the most popular ways to eat the delicious plant-based foods that are so much a part of this culture.
Cassava bread, which is baked in metal pots over a charcoal fire, is another favorite local dish. It’s a tasty treat, especially with the addition of raisins and cherries.
Other local fruits and vegetables include okra, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and yams. Bananas are also a staple, and they’re a big money-maker for the island.
There are also numerous exotic plants and flowers growing around the area, including ferns, orchids and hibiscus, which are often cultivated for their fragrance and beauty. In addition to being grown for their fruit, hibiscus is used as a medicinal herb.
Many of these flowers and herbs are harvested by hand, so you’ll see lots of women preparing them at home in the kitchen. These can be eaten as a snack, or used in other recipes.
A variety of drinks are also available, such as rum punch and guava juice. You can also try local wines, such as St Lucian wine, which is sweet and aromatic.
In Saint Lucia, a majority of the population speaks English, while some use French creole, or patois, which is a beautiful language that you should learn to speak when visiting the country. Despite being a French colony, the people of St Lucia have retained their African roots and traditions, and their pride in their heritage is evident throughout the country.
St Lucian music is also a highlight of the country’s cultural life, with a number of talented artists producing great songs that celebrate the island’s diverse culture. In addition to singing, local musicians play instruments such as the bassoon and djembe.