Point-a-Pitre spice market.

Spice, spice baby in Guadeloupe

I thought Morocco was my only spice nirvana until I landed in Guadeloupe. Mon dieu!

Saint-Antoine market in Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe has one of the most impressive spice markets in the Caribbean with flavors and aromas representing the complex African, Francophone-Creole culture.

Thick bundles of vanilla beans sit next to colorful bags filled with cinnamon, peppers, saffron, columbo curry and locally grown cacao. Sold mostly by women vendors called dousdous, the spice market in Point-a-Pitre centers activity on Guadeloupe, a francophone island still under French control.

Guadeloupe’s rich spice history mixes a melange of Creole, African, and French culinary histories. An island cultivating small batches of gourmet coffee to pristine-tasting rum, Guadeloupe served as important center for particularly one spice-tumeric.

Curcumin grew in abundance and many West Indian merchants stopped on the island for the spice because its boiled extract served as an effective antidote against the sea born illness, scurvy.

Located in the Lesser Antilles, Guadeloupe is largely untouched land with a tourism market known for “stopover tourism,” or visitors briefly staying before going to more developed islands. However, it has been its raw, authentic land and people that draw folk to the colorful music and traditions still evident.

When you walk into, spice aromas greet your nose while Zouk calypso entices your body.

Guadeloupe and other small islands in the Lesser Antilles quickly became preferred destinations after several major hurricanes devastated popular tourist places of Puerto Rico, U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and St. Martin.

Chef Cassandra Loftlin travels around the world digging into sumptuous dishes.

 

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