St Lucia’s fertile volcanic soil produces an abundance of fruit and vegetables, including bananas. They’re the country’s biggest export and are enjoyed all over the island in dishes such as salt fish with green figs and pepperpot stews.

Many of the islands’ indigenous roots and fruits also lend themselves to culinary delights. Often, Caribbean foods blend African, European (mainly British and French) and Indian influences to create flavours that are uniquely Saint Lucian. The island’s fresh produce and tropical spices are blended with seafood, mainly from neighbouring St Vincent and Grenada, to make dishes like callaloo soup and curried goat.

The majority of the islanders are descended from African slaves brought to St Lucia during the 19th Century, and this legacy is evident in local cuisine. The islanders are very proud of their rich culture, and this is celebrated with a number of festivals throughout the year. These include the yearly Arts and Heritage Festival in October, and the Gros Islet Friday night street parties.

Saint Lucia’s capital city is Castries, which sits at the mouth of the Pitons – two dramatic mountains that form a jagged twin peak. The town is a thriving shopping and business centre, as well as home to a marina and beautiful beaches.

Education is a priority for the government of Saint Lucia, which invests in both primary and secondary schools. Primary school is compulsory for six years from age 6 to 16, and at the end of this stage, students sit for the Common Entrance Examinations. Students who wish to continue their studies into secondary school can either choose to take the Caribbean Examinations Council Secondary School Certificate or the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level.

After sugar and bananas, tourism is now the main source of revenue for Saint Lucia. The country is known for its beaches, mountain scenery, exotic plants and the Qualibou volcano with its boiling sulphur springs.

Most Saint Lucians are Christians, and Christianity is a major part of the local culture and identity. This is reflected in the architecture and customs of the islanders. For example, most households have a cross prominently displayed on their rooftops.

St Lucia is a parliamentary democracy, and executive power is held by the prime minister. This position is typically filled by the winning party in elections, and a cabinet is formed to govern the country. The House of Assembly has 17 elected seats, and the Senate is a nominated body of 11 members.

The island is also one of the few in the Caribbean to have its own Michelin starred restaurant, and we visited Cap Maison, which is owned by Chef Craig Jones. He’s using high-end techniques to create a modern twist on traditional Caribbean dishes. Our meal started with a smoked plantain tortellini, which was served with a fresh avocado mousse, fennel dressing and micro greens. The dish was beautifully presented and the taste was just as good as the presentation.

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