Every region has its own special products, and the Caribbean is no exception. Here are 5 things you can only buy in the Caribbean– so make sure you grab a few on your next trip!
1. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
You’re probably aware that Caribbean coffee is some of the finest in the entire world. But have you heard of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee?
Famous worldwide for its rich, creamy flavor and surprising lack of bitterness, Blue Mountain coffee is a real treat. Unfortunately, however, it’s difficult to find–unless you happen to live in Jamaica. That’s because these coffee beans are harvested only in the Blue Mountain region, between the south of Kingston and the north of Port Antonio. It’s one of the highest places in the country, and a prime location for bean growing.
Of course, with high quality coffee comes an equally high price tag. Pricing hovers around $58 USD per pound. (Note: you may found cheaper pricing online, but be aware that this may not be authentic Blue Mountain coffee).
However, most would consider this price to be fair, since the coffee is equally expensive to produce. Although it grows on several farms, Blue Mountain coffee is processed in just one coffee factory, the Sherwood Coffee Works, which is 200 years old. Since it grows on a hillside, it’s extremely difficult to cultivate. In addition, the beans are all picked by hand.
Fun fact: About 80% of all Blue Mountain coffee is exported to Japan!
You’re probably aware that the plantain is a staple food in the Caribbean. Mashed, fried, stewed, baked– plantains and their smaller cousins the bananas are an integral part of West Indian cuisine.
Likewise, the pilon, or a wooden mortar and pestle, is a crucial tool in many Caribbean kitchens, especially Puerto Rican ones. Cooks use them to mash plantains and prepare them for certain dishes like mofongo or mangú.
You can find them in plenty of stores in the region, from Walmart to souvenir shops. Some are plain and practical; others are decorated with a country’s flag or name and produced as souvenirs.
3. Cuban music
Everyone knows that cuban cigars are very difficult to find anywhere but Cuba itself (and are even banned in some countries). However, cuban music turns out to be equally hard to buy. While some bands, like the Buena Vista Social Club, have broken into international markets, most Cuban artists sell their tunes only on the island.
4. Orange-flavored liqueur from Curacao
Sure, you can find orange liqueur elsewhere in the world, but only the Caribbean island of Curacao has the delicious Laraha orange. It’s from this tasty fruit that the traditional drink is bottled, and sold in several presentations, including a blue version that still maintains the signature bittersweet orange flavor.
5. Pine Seed Doll from the Bahamas
These cute tropical dolls are made from the native Bahamian pine tree. You can find them at the famous Straw Market in Nassau. They make a unique, creative gift for yourself or your loved ones!
Main image via coffeedx.com.