Showcase: Grenada’s Spice Market… The Most Glorious Market in the Caribbean

March11

Grenada's Spice Market

I’ve never visited a country that smells this good.

Grenada, a tiny island nation tucked away in the eastern corner of the Caribbean, has the heady scent of cloves, bay leaves, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, especially nutmeg, the leading export.

It’s like nose-diving into eggnog.

It’s an intoxicating mix, especially inside the Grenada Spice Market in St. George, Grenada’s capitol. The market sweeps up from the Caribbean sea and is wedged between impossibly narrow streets that wind steeply past bright red-tiled rooftops and up into the hills.

Enter Grenada’s Spice Market and your senses get whacked. Wooden tables sag under the weight of exotic vegetables. Vendors shout out their offerings. The nubby green football-sized breadfruit begs to be touched. The air is heavy with the bittersweet perfume of spices, herbs and fruit.

Grenada's Spice Market

Nutmeg is everywhere in the market and in every incarnation. Nutmeg jam. Nutmeg syrup. Nutmeg ketchup. Nutmeg aromatherapy oil. Nutmeg toothpowder. Nutmeg sports cream. Nutmeg lotion. Nutmeg soap. (I sound like Bubba in Forest Gump.) Manila-colored nutmeg is a fruit with a hard stone-like seed in the middle, like a peach. The seed is really the nutmeg. Bright scarlet mace delicately wraps around the dark brown kernel, like a lacey web. When dried, both nutmeg and mace are used in cooking, but mace is used in cosmetics, as a preservative and to color food. I’ll let my pal, Roger R. Augustine, take you on a tour

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Wander around the market and you’ll find strange fruits and vegetables that’ll make you do a double take. Those aren’t grub worms, but piles of turmeric (which Grenadians call saffron because the color is similar to the real thing). That huge green hedgehog-looking thing is really soursop fruit (which makes a deliciously sweet fruit drink). You’ll also see a big leafy green vegetable called callaloo. It’s a lot like spinach or kale in the nutrient department… but you have to cook it before eating. Callaloo’s root, taro, is also an excellent source of potassium.

 Caribbean Island Vegetables in Grenada Spice Market

Love coconut water? Here’s the real thing (and the Grenadians have been drinking it for centuries!):

Grenada, lies at the southernmost tip of the Windward Islands, just 100 miles north of Venezuela. The island feels remote and removed from the rest of the world, even though it’s visited by international flights and cruise ships every day. But mention Grenada, and most people think of long ago coups, revolts and rescue missions, or 2004’s Hurricane Ivan that damaged almost every home and building on the island. They don’t think of the lush, tropical green paradise that Grenada is today.

Which is exactly why this is the Caribbean’s best kept secret. I’ll write more about what I discovered on this charming island in the coming weeks!

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posted under Showcase

6 thoughts on “Showcase: Grenada’s Spice Market… The Most Glorious Market in the Caribbean

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  3. Christy

    I loved seeing your photos on Instagram of the trip, and the post is even better. So educational. The eggnog reference really gave a sense of the aromas you were surrounded by.

    Reply
    1. Mama Post author

      You are so kind. I pretty much equate everything to food, so that was my first impression. Hope you get to visit Grenada one day!

      Reply

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Hi…
I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mama@mamashighstrung.com.