Top souvenirs to bring back from Martinique (French Caribbean)
Fresh coconut sorbet on the beach at Les Salines, fricassee of ‘chatrou’ (our local octopus) in a restaurant, the perfect ‘ti punch’ aperitif: if you don’t come back from Martinique with culinary memories in your head, we’re sorry to tell you, but you’re doing it wrong!
For those of you who enjoyed a finger-licking good time, or who took part in a Tété Dwèt tour, you can savour the experience back home by filling up your suitcase with local treats, as long as you don’t exceed the weight limit!
Here are (in our opinion) the best products to bring back in your suitcase after a stay in Martinique.
The must-haves are all products that you will usually find at the market, prepared in an artisanal way by passionate traders.
First on the list are traditional spices, which will perfume your kitchen and your dishes: curry, ‘colombo’ powder, ‘bois d’inde’ (West Indian Bay) ground or in dried leaves, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.
Throw in some cassava flour to impress your friends with a ‘feroce’ avocado dip when you return from your holiday. Another good choice is the ‘kako’ stick, a compact stick of pure cocoa, which you can grate or melt into your dishes.
Leave some space for all the local liqueurs and punches. And of course the very fine ‘AOC’ agricole rum you will select when you visit the distilleries. Please note: since we are talking about alcohol, this is the opportunity to specify that the ‘rhum arrangé’ is not a speciality of Martinique but of Reunion Island. Here, it is called punch!
Delicatessen products from Martinique
Here, we are talking about some of Martinique’s unique and delicious culinary creations.
- ‘Prune de Cythere’ cider made from the local fruit that tastes a bit like green apples
- Sweet wine made from passion fruit
- Herbal teas made with local pharmacopoeia
- ‘First communion’ chocolate powder
- ‘Poulet Boucane’ terrine
- ‘Chiktay’ and ‘Souskay’ – chutney-like spreads made from salt-cod and smoked herring
- Local biscuits like ‘petits sablés’ or ‘biscuits fins’
- Jams with a unique blend of local flavours
- Artisanal chocolate. (Otantik’s chocolate won the gold medal at the Epicures 20222 competition)
Fresh fruit and vegetables will not keep for long once they arrive at your home…
All the more reason to prolong your stay in Martinique and continue to please your taste buds with our traditional recipes, such as a pineapple upside-down cake or a yellow banana gratin.
Other fresh specialties like ‘onions-pays’ (similar to spring onions) and the mild but delicious chillies known as ‘piments végétariens’, can be frozen to last longer.
Note that since 2 April 2021, a phytosanitary certificate is required for all fruit and vegetables travelling to Europe regardless of the quantity transported (except for bananas, pineapples and coconuts). You can obtain it from the freight agents; do not hesitate to find out more about the regulations for sending plants on the DAAF website.
For other destinations, please check the customs regulations before bringing fresh products home. Most countries will allow you to bring back plant-based juices and drinks, so take the opportunity to try a breadfruit or redcurrant leaf juice! Homemade products so should preferably be consumed within a few days of your arrival for optimum taste.
Pastries and sweets from Martinique
If you decide to take our local pastries home with you, it’s because you’ve certainly gone off the beaten track (read “eaten something other than croissants”) during your stay. Or that you were lucky enough to take part in one of Tété Dwèt’s gourmet walks!
In any case, here is a small selection of sweet and savoury treats to pack in your hand luggage to have snacks at hand on the plane, or in your suitcase if you want to make the pleasure last:
- Sweet pâtés with banana or guava jam
- Savoury pâtés with cod, pork, vegetables
- ‘Pomme Cannelle’
- ‘Pain au beurre’
- ‘Amour caché”
- Coconut macaroons
- Coconut ‘tablettes’, peanut nougat, ‘doucelettes’ and other local sweets.
Yes, there are a lot of typically Martinican pastries and sweets to try. And this list is not even complete!
Local cooking ustensils
Have you already planned to bring back a ‘bois-lélé’ and a pair of rum glasses as a souvenir of Martinique’s famous ti-punch? What about adding a ‘couteau chien’, the useful round-tipped but very sharp knife that gave its name to the famous ‘sauce chien’. ‘Couis’, are bowls made from calabash that can be used as salad bowls, plates, fruit or condiment baskets, even as a small cup depending on the size.
If you plan to go to ‘la Poterie des Trois-Ilets’, you will find beautiful ceramic creations for your kitchen at the studios Aux Deux Gouttes d’Eau, L’atelier Caraïbe and ZB Créations. Did you know that clay jugs were used to filter and preserve fresh water? If you are looking for terracotta products that are a little more designer, we also recommend Sable et Cendre in Saint Pierre.
With all this, your suitcase, and your belly, will certainly be well filled. During your stay in Martinique, don’t hesitate to take part in our gourmet walks in Fort-de-France to discover totally Martinican flavours and recipes that you won’t find anywhere else (unless you have a Martinican family ;)).