Caribbean Olives


The media frenzy over the 'bajan' heatwave we are enjoying reminded me of a voyage I was fortunate to take some years ago on a MyTravel cruiseliner around the Caribbean [cue wobbly lines and flashback sound effect]

The boat was little more than a giant (sort of) upscale booze cruise and seemed to have been over-painted, with different travel company colours visible if you scratched below the surface e.g. the Royal Caribbean logo under the sinks in our bathroom (choppy waters, overproof rum  and weirdness in Aruba provided this view) and the life jackets had ‘Song of Norway’ stamped on them.

After landing in Barbados with Airtours we circled the North Atlantic Ocean for a week eating “international” food aboard and sampling “local” cuisine ashore e.g. Tex-mex in Aruba, Indonesian in Curacao and masala dosas in Puerto Rico! We also visited the retrospectively dangerous Isla Margarita after a dispute over docking fees prevented our entry into Caracas, the locals seemed quite happy and the only food available was the lime in the buckets of margheritas.

The second week provided more local dishes such as rotis & red stripe on Tobago, sea moss drink on St vincent and nutmeg everything on Grenada including the nutmeg ice-cream which the super friendly waitress insisted in an amazing local drawl; “yah will remembah all yah life’. In fact I most remember the Bajan olive dinner [and a horrible bony boiled trigger fish I was served on BVI with slime fingers okra which was misleading titled fish and fungi].

On the final day week we were abandoned in Barbados and wandering around the terribly named Holetown we stumbled upon Olives Bar & Bistro where all the food was cooked using olive oil and olives littered the bar.

We ate coo-coo (an African origin dish of cornmeal similar to polenta) flavoured with olives and served with flying fish cooked Barbadian style; onions, garlic and slime fingers okra. At this point Bajan cuisine resembled a bizarre variation of Italian home cooking and I reflected again on the ubiquitous olive. Apparently the Caribbean is too humid for cultivation of olives which require cold evenings to produce proper buds, there is a type of olive which grows locally (Bucida sp.) but it does not bear fruit.

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Olives, Lifestyle