A top reason for why I love to explore unique destinations and “get lost” while traveling is to discover new foods and local dishes. Food and travel go hand-in-hand, and on the island of Antigua, their extensive array of local foods and delicious establishments will wow even the most seasoned traveler. In Antigua, you will find tempting street food, luxurious fine dining and wine, rustic rum and coffee shops, roadside vendors, and local farmers that prepare some of the freshest foods from black pineapple salsa to freshly baked oat and ginger cookies.
I always bring a generous taste of Antigua back home to the states for friends and family. Here, I am introducing you to these purveyors that I treated myself to when I arrived back home to New York.
Virgin Coconut Oil: Antigua is well known for their coconut soaps and oils. I purchased two, one for beauty purposes and one for cooking. For beauty, I mix the oil with pure cane sugar for a facial scrub. I also use 1 T in the shower as a scrub pre-wash. For cooking, I use it for stir-frying and baking, but it is excellent for all types of cooking as it has a high smoking point. I also add coconut oil to my herbal tea, coffee, and to my fruit smoothies.
Banana Ketchup: This is a new condiment I discovered during my last trip to St. John’s, the capital. No sugar is added as the sweetness comes from the banana ingredient. I use banana ketchup on almost everything I would usually add traditional tomato ketchup to. I love it with hot dogs, chicken, and on burgers.
English Harbour Rum: The best rum I have ever tasted; I tend to bring back more than two bottles that I purchase at the airport before my return flight. You can’t leave Antigua without making/trying their famous rum punch.
Tortuga Rum Cake: This ubiquitous cake can be found on practically every Caribbean island, and most boast how it is sold exclusively there. We know this is not so, but I love taking that bite of island paradise home baked into a rum cake. I love it served with rum raisin or traditional vanilla bean ice cream. I picked a new flavor I had never seen before, Key Lime Pie, which was exceptional!
Cafe Britt Guava Chocolates: This company sells a wide variety of chocolates in addition to nuts and coffee. Their mini guava fruit bites enrobed in dark chocolate have been calling my name for years. I had always bought the smaller packages for snacking on while flying home, but I could not resist their larger packaging for sharing and for enjoying a little longer. My second favorite is their orange chocolate.
Guava Jelly: At breakfast in Antigua, I have guava jelly on toast every morning. I brought home a few jars of some guava jelly I bought at a local grocery store close to our home. I prefer the jelly over the jam as the jam is extremely sticky and very difficult to spread, especially once it is refrigerated. I must also recommend guava cheese, a sticky, sweet treat with a fudge-like consistency made from guavas and sugar.
Pepper Jelly: I purchased pepper jelly at Island Gourmet Boutique in St. John’s, though it can also be found within most grocery outlets on the island. I love pepper jelly with chicken, sausage, steak, on sandwiches, and burgers. It ideally compliments almost every meal and is a perfect gift for loved ones any time of the year.