Recently the Martinique Magnifique Road Show arrived in mid-town New York.
New Yorkers got a glimpse of the splendor of Martinique and an insight to its rich heritage and culture laced with Creole and French traditions: its passion and thirst for fine works of art, its pageantry for carnival, haute couture, its array of unique accommodations presented by affiliated hoteliers along with its Tourism Commissioner and director of Martinique Promotions Bureau; and a taste of its exotic gastronomy.
Exotic gastronomy indeed as patrons sipped on Flute de Champagne between tastings of French, Creole epicurean hors d’oeuvres of shrimp, chicken, cheese puffs, and codfish fritters called accras; and a French and Creole smorgasbord to include: scrunchy papaya salad, Chicken Colombo, Tilapia and Spinach in a creamy sauce, coconut rice and fresh, tropical fruit melange.
Along with great food, planters punch blended with great Martinique rum were served up to complement the cuisine.
The complexity and uniqueness of Martinique’s cultural expressions and cuisine are steeped in the traditions of Africa, India and France.
France gave Martinique traditions of great breads, cheeses, charcuterie and classic courses such as soufflé, and filet mignon while its Creole tradition based on local food servings of fritters, shellfish, beef, pork, bananas, and spices mixed with ingredients from the Caribbean, Africa, France, and India.
The very essence of Martinique, as the Director of Communications Christel Coïta expressed, is attributed to and influenced by “the generosity of Africa. Its cuisine incorporates the spices of India, and its Creole a French savoir-faire.”
Its traditions go beyond its predominantly French heritage, tinged with subtleties of the American Indian ethnic groups of South America; who once populated the island before its French conquest in 1635. Martinique was declared a department of France in 1946.
Martinique is a small tropical Caribbean island of 1,100 sq. km, in the Eastern Caribbean betwixt Guadeloupe to its north, Barbados to its south-east and St. Lucia to its south-west.
In the northern region towers its highest point and active volcano, Mount Pelée at 4,500 feet and to its south are the Pitons du Carbet with impressive peaks of 3,900 feet.
“The mountains are swathed in rainforest. In the center of the island lie the alluvial plains. To its South are the “mornes” consisting of intricate patterns of valleys and fjord-like coves and on its southern coast are the idyllic white-sand beaches and striking rocky promontories.”
Whatever your fancy, there is something unique to discover and savor in Martinique. Its diverse topography, its French-Creole fusion of music, art, culture and cuisine offers many distinct attractions and activities.