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Antigua, 'Cooking Caribbean Flavors from a History Recipe'

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

..."History Recipe: cup of Cuba, cup of Venezuela, tea spoon of Portugal, table spoon of England, dash of Ireland, sprinkled on top with Indigenous zest."

Chef's Nicole Home overlooking Runaway Beach and Dickenson Bay, Antigua

Today I am waking up to the beautiful Caribbean city of St. John, Antigua, the capital city of the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. There are a lot of 'flavors' in Antigua due to the rich history, from Indigenous to English, from Cuban to Venezuelan, from Portuguese to Irish, Antigua has it all. Every culture that played a role in the history of the island, ended up adding to the culinary flavors of the island, only to help develop one of the best tasting food recipes today.



I was pleased to participate in a cooking class with a talented local Chef, Chef Nicole. All class participants were welcomed into her gorgeous Caribbean home. A stunning piece of property overlooking the beautiful Runaway Beach and Dickenson Bay, one of Antigua's most reputable areas. There we were encourage to roll up our sleeves and deep in to the richness of the local produce and unique food preparation. From coconut crisps to plantain chips, from jerk chicken to grilled pineapple, from red beans to calypso rice, from rainbow salad to mango custard tarts, we were all amazed by Chef Nicole's passion for the local food and heritage.


Needle Point Canvas Portraying all the Vibrant Cultures in Antigua

History shows that Antigua was first settled by pre-ceramic Cuban people known as Archaic People. Only to be followed by Saladoid people that migrated from Venezuela. They were later replaced by Arawakan speakers in 1200 AD and later by Island Caribs in 1500 AD. Arawaks were the first ones that introduced agriculture to Antigua. They were mainly involved in raising corn, sweet potatoes, chilies, guava, tobacco, cotton and famous black pineapple.



Christopher Columbus first stumbled across the island in 1493 during his second voyage, however, his attempts to settle it were unsuccessful. Much later, in 1632 England succeeded in colonizing the island and that paved the way to further agricultural development, more specifically in tobacco, indigo, ginger, and sugarcane.

Between 1847 and 1851 there was another 'flavor' added to the island, due to the migration from the Portuguese island of Madeira. There were also the Irish 'flavors' in the 'pot' as numerous Irish people were sent to Antigua as servants in the mid 17th century.

..."I was pleased to be welcomed to the gorgeous Caribbean home of a talented local Chef, Chef Nicole. A stunning piece of property overlooking the beautiful Runaway Beach and Dickenson Bay, one of Antigua's most reputable areas. There we were encourage to roll up our sleeves and deep in to the richness of the local produce and unique food preparation. From coconut crisps to plantain chips, from jerk chicken to grilled pineapple, from red beans to calypso rice, from rainbow salad mango custard tarts, we all amazed by Chef Nicole's passion for the local food and heritage."...

Chef's Nicole Home overlooking Runaway Beach and Dickenson Bay, Antigua

So you can only imagine, as the cultural 'flavors' grew, so did the culinary ones. Today the era of settlers and colonizers is long gone and the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has been independent since 1981. However, the rich history continues to speak through the richness of the food. From Indigenous to English, from Cuban to Venezuelan, from Portuguese to Irish flavors, Antigua has it all. It is definitely a place with some of the best tasting food on the Caribbeans today, very much a by-product of a century old history 'recipe'.




Cooking Class with Antigua Chef Nicole

"History Recipe: cup of Cuba, cup of Venezuela, tea spoon of Portugal, table spoon of England, dash of Ireland, sprinkled on top with Indigenous zest."

~Lady Captain

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