Award-winning Caribbean rum and wine on show at SIAL Paris 2022

If you’ve ever sipped a rum while the sun goes down as you chill out at a beach bar or beside a hotel pool, you’ll know how good the beverage tastes poured over ice, and how well it evokes feelings of calm, warmth, and relaxation.

Originating in Barbados in the early 1600s, the spirit has played a pivotal role in the history and culture of the entire Caribbean region. But even the enslaved Africans who discovered it by fermenting sugarcane molasses could not have imagined the drink they called ‘kill-devil’ (which later became known as ‘rumbullion’ or ‘rumbustion’) would eventually be enjoyed around the world.

In fact, the global rum market was valued at $11.26 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% from 2022 to 2028, mainly fuelled by the introduction of new flavours and the rising popularity of premium products.

Consumers demanding a unique and authentic rum experience will naturally be drawn to its ancestral home in the Caribbean, where producers have remained true to its tradition and heritage, while sensitively working to adapt the drink to ensure that its appeal continues to entice new generations.

At SIAL Paris 2022, three Caribbean distillers will be demonstrating their range of traditional and non-traditional rum products.

The St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies, Chicharum SRL and J&J Spirits, SRL are taking part in the world’s leading food fair from 15-19 October with the assistance of the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union.

SIAL Paris gives these rum brands the chance to engage with 310,000 retailers, buyers, and importers from around the world who are looking for exceptional products that can capture and excite their customers’ imagination.

The St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies (SLD Group) has over 50 years’ experience with rum and was initially managed by the Barnard family who have been rum distillers for almost a century.

Located in the agriculturally rich town of Roseau, this boutique rum distillery uses copper stills to produce over 25 quality rums and rum products from premium rums and liqueurs to traditional pouring rums.

According to its website, the SLD Group is “not afraid to take risks and is always innovative,” which has led to it winning several awards, including the prestigious gold medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2012 for its flagship premium rum Admiral Rodney.

The SLD Group is also focused on corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability. Rainwater is harvested and treated for use in the blending of rums, steam turbines run the distiller plant, the boiler operates primarily on recovered waste oil, and effluent discharge from the distillery meets EU standards. The Group has also awarded secondary school scholarships for children in the local community and at least 30% of its workers are St Lucians.

‘Chicharon The World’s Cinnamon Rum’ is produced in the Dominican Republic by Chicharum SRL and is specifically targeted at millennials who are attracted to spiced or flavoured rums especially for mixing with cocktails.

Handcrafted with aged rum, cinnamon, and green chili extracts, ‘Chicharon The World’s Cinnamon Rum’ is a trendsetting, original product with a spicy kick and aromatic flair that takes rum to a different taste level. All the ingredients are natural and sourced locally.

The marketing of Chicharon is inspired by the company’s Spanish heritage and incorporates a connection to pork rinds or ‘Chicharrón’, a popular fried finger food recognised by the Latin community around the world, along with the Spanish word for rum – ron.

J&J Spirits, SRL is a pioneering family business based in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

This company manufactures a range of exotic rum-based products including their signature, ready-to-drink ‘Kalembú Mamajuana’. This traditional beverage was originally made by native Taino Indians who used it as a potent herbal medicine and is widely consumed throughout the Dominican Republic.

Blending dark rum with red wine, honey, tree bark, roots, and botanical herbs Mamajuana is believed to aid in digestion, circulation, and many other ailments.

J&J Spirits was one of the first companies to commercially produce Mamajuana and currently makes three varieties – the original Kalembú, Kalembú Café rum with coffee beans, and Kalembú Guavaberry rum.

J&J’s version of Mamajuana has been embraced by the global drinks market and is currently distributed in the United States, various Caribbean islands, Chile, Peru, Germany, and China.

Although rum is synonymous with the Caribbean, the region also has some award-winning wine producers, including Trinidad-based V’Toria Rhonda Vineyard & Winery which is also exhibiting at SIAL Paris 2022.

Started in 2012 by winemaker Nekeisha Charles, this brand crafts innovative, premium wines from exotic, tropical fruits blended with grape varietals.

V’Toria Rhonda Vineyard & Winery currently offers six non-vintage wines made with local ingredients; Love Affair with sorrel and Concord, True Passion from passion fruit and Sauvignon Blanc, Just Perception made from pomegranate and Zinfandel, Pure Diamond from rice and Riesling, Remember Me which is orange and Muscat, and Discover made from grapefruit and Merlot.

In January 2020, the winery established a passionfruit vineyard, the first one of its kind in the Caribbean, and Ms Charles has also diversified into making wine jelly and plans to add chocolate wine bars to her product list.

Ms Charles named her brand in honour of her grandmother, Victoria Richardson Harper, and her handwritten initials, extracted from an old letter which she signed ‘VR’, can be seen proudly printed on the label of every bottle offering them her personal stamp of approval!

Feccano Lends Prestige to Cocoa Made in Haiti 

Promoting fair trade and organic cocoa among farmers and transforming the image of Haitian cocoa worldwide. These are the ambitious but realistic objectives of the Fédération des Coopératives Cacaoyères du Nord (FECCANO – Northern Cocoa Cooperatives Federation), which has managed to position itself both on the local and community level and on the international market.  

It has been said that the inhabitants of the Northern parts of Haiti are a proud people, particularly owing to their contribution to the founding of their nation. The 4,000 cocoa farmers who are members of FECCANO can also be proud. Founded in 2001 by six cooperatives, the federation has become in its 20 years a leading player in the production of fermented cocoa in Haiti. It now brings together eight cooperatives, has developed a formal structure and is constantly improving its skills, knowledge and the quality of its cocoa. This growth is encouraged by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) through its programme to support the cocoa/chocolate value chain in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. 

Haitian cocoa has a remarkable intrinsic quality. Whether criollo, trinitario or forestero, its fruity aromas and its characteristics stem from the old varieties cultivated by the farmers, but also from a soil favorable to the production of a high-quality cocoa. The average annual production is currently estimated at 400 tons with an annual growth rate of about 20%. This is very little compared to the national volume estimated at 6,000 tons annually, and 60,000 tons in the Dominican Republic. 

Haitian cocoa farmers have long been dependent on intermediaries: traders, hucksters, speculators and exporters, working within a monopoly market, who have always offered very low prices. Since its establishment in 2001, FECCANO works directly with the cocoa farmers. This arrangement has led to the recovery of the added value of the product and increased producers’ income. “Back then, we used to cut down cocoa trees, but today we plant cocoa” boasts Guito Gilot, one of the founding members.

In the ‘Jardin créole’ as the Haitian vegetable garden is known, in the shade of the cocoa trees, farmers not only cultivate yams and plantains, but also cassava, beans, corn, chayote, etc. Fruit trees, especially citrus trees, associated with cocoa trees, feed the family, but also give the soil and the land a quality that will give each cocoa its particular flavor. This Creole garden, at the heart of the Haitian ecosystem, is at the root of the Haitian family survival. Even though it has slowed down the development of cocoa production, considered as secondary, it could however be its future thanks to the promotion of the whole chain and the particular taste associated with each type of soil. 

In 20 years, the cocoa exported has changed category. Through training, sharing of good practices, and better knowledge of their product, FECCANO has helped farmers, both male and female (40% of the members are women), who grew a few cocoa trees underneath mango trees, become exporters of beans certified according to organic and fairtrade standards. It is worth noting that it is the fermentation process, an essential step to release the “precursors” of aromas and to obtain a quality product, which has been a turning point, when for decades the cocoa in the area (and in the country) was not fermented and therefore sold at lower prices.  

Since 2008, with the technical assistance of a French NGO (AVSF) and the support of the Conseil Départemental des Hauts-de-Seine (France) (Departmental Council of Hauts-de-Seine), FECCANO has undertaken to mastering the fermentation process to enhance the value of its cocoa. It has gradually positioned itself as the pioneer of quality cocoa across the country, before becoming the national leader and building a global image. In 2011, FECCANO obtained the Ecocert certification. Two of the largest international chocolate companies, Ethiquable and Valrhona, have become its biggest buyers. In 2013, FECCANO obtained the SPP (Fair Trade) certification, and in 2013 and 2015, it obtained the Cocoa of Excellence prize awarded by the International Cocoa Awards. It grew to 7 member cooperatives in 2014, and then to 8 in 2018. Simultaneously to this growth, the Federation is working to change mentalities.

We are committed to respecting the environment and are keen to incorporate practices relative to the conservation of biodiversity and food safety into our processes,” explains Jean Guillaume Célestin, executive director of the Federation. FECCANO plays a key role in raising awareness, providing guidance and personalized assistance to farmers. “It was not easy to convince farmers of the benefits of the cocoa tree “regeneration” program when it was put forward in 2015. We recommended introducing new seedlings on these 60 to 80-year-old plots and carrying out a diagnosis to implement the systematic pruning of the oldest trees. They were afraid that the plot would be less productive. I was afraid of it myself…” says Dejean Phanord, chairman of the board of directors. But it was proven to be the best approach.  

Today FECCANO wants to go further… And Caribbean Export supports it through a program financed by the trade and private sector support component of the bi-national HT-RD program under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) of the European Union.  In June 2021, the Agency organized a virtual training on quality management systems, certification management and cupping. The objective was to strengthen the knowledge of FECCANO staff in Haiti, to orient them towards competitiveness and enable the network’s cocoa to have a better image and to carve out a place for itself in the specialty cocoa market.  

Following this training, FECCANO intends to provide technical assistance and work on a strategy to improve the quality of their cocoa and direct it towards a higher value market.  A field visit will allow them to develop a concise, effective and appropriate strategy. These corrective and preventive actions should improve production and post-harvest processes, resulting in better quality and the possibility of reaching higher value markets. 

Early this year, Caribbean Export supported the creation of a website that will introduce FECCANO and its member cooperatives to customers and the general public, as well as the different services and products the federation provides. In February 2022, the Agency also organized meetings with other cocoa sector professionals. This project which aimed to exchange best practices was organized with the National Confederation of Dominican Cocoa Farmers, CONACADO (for its acronym in Spanish), with the aim of learning about their promotional strategies and marketing of Dominican cocoa, their production and processing techniques and organizational management mechanisms implemented in the Dominican Republic, the leading exporter of organic cocoa in the world. Following this, FECCANO has included the process of making chocolate from the bean to the bar in its future projects. “This is part of the challenges to be undertaken, along with our efforts to increase production and competitiveness, and therefore convince producers to plant more. But not only that… we need a real cocoa policy in Haiti, with institutional strategies on agriculture, and also on transportation. Most of the production areas are very isolated and fairly inaccessible,” explains JG Célestin.  

Changing the image of Haitian cocoa takes time, but the results are very promising. FECCANO has guided its members, accompanied the farmers, and stimulated a solidarity that has helped them achieve the vitality of an organized national producer. Of the 8 member cooperatives, all are certified fair trade (SPP), 4 are already certified organic and the other 4 are in the process of being certified. With a significant increase in exports (50% between 2020 and 2021) and support such as that offered by Caribbean Export which focused on the value chain, the dream of going from the bean to the chocolate bar could become reality. The 8 cooperatives now ensures the fermentation process is undertaken. The federation receives the beans ready for export and can test them in its laboratory. Thanks to the recent virtual capacity training on cupping, FECCANO is now able to evaluate its roasted product. It is only one step away from the bar! 

SANDILOU: Resort Wear Made in Haiti

Unique hand-painted pieces, drawings reproduced on clothing or beach accessories, stencils, silkscreens print or dyes, SANDILOU has developed a very original, “Made in Haiti”, resort wear garment collection that is just waiting to be exported! And this is what Caribbean Export wants to help make happen…

Under the arbor of SANDILOU’s workshop in Delmas 64, in the Port-au-Prince greater metropolitan area, the shimmering colors of the scarves and dyed fabrics flutter in the breeze. They will then be washed and dried in the sun, before being embellished and sewn.  

In this large garden, which is home to a hundred-year-old tree, the team members are concentrated on their tasks: some paint the backgrounds with dyes, others add outlines with brushes on dyed fabric canvases stretched on frames. Here they paint freehand and without pre-established drawing, on natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or rayon, using special fabric paints.  

Sandra Russo shares her inspiration for a collection with her team of artists (which is very family oriented: several family generations paint or sew). It is up to the team to interpret the idea on canvas….  “I decide which tone and colors to be used and everyone has free reign to deliver a different piece… that’s the beauty of unique handmade pieces,” she says cheerfully. And that is the essence of this small Haitian brand that wants to grow! 

In 2012, Sandra Russo registered SANDILOU as a “textile handicrafts” company. A very specific classification, obtained thanks to her determination and which allows her to operate within the taxes and transport rates bracket set forth for the handicraft industry and not the textile industry.  

She has been immersed in the painting and art world since childhood. “I was surrounded by women painters, starting with my mother, I grew up surrounded by artists. This led me to pursue painting, and then to SANDILOU. For the record, this name is the combination of my nickname and that of my sister… given by a family member who could never tell us apart, so he combined us into a single nickname…”, she concludes with a laugh. The small brand reflects the owner’s upbringing: it offers its pictorial art on several textile materials, a whole range of beach clothing and accessories, leisure-type garments, and also home goods such as tablecloths and a collection of cushions, each more colorful than the other. Many different techniques are used: tie-dye, stencils, silkscreen printing, airbrushing, printing… All of this contributes to making SANDILOU’s collections very original and unique works of art hand-painted on scarves (their best sellers) or reproduced on beach towels and cushions. 

When original accessories and garments are produced on an island, the challenge is to export them. For SANDILOU, as for many Haitian designers, the local market is always a useful laboratory for testing products, but only export can guarantee real growth. It is through this lens, and in particular to encourage a connection with the Dominican Republic (DR) market that Caribbean Export, through a program funded by the trade and private sector support component of the bi-national HT-RD program within the framework of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) of the European Union, has tried, for several years, to guide and assist the value chain of handicrafts companies, including SANDILOU.  COVID 19 slowed down these plans, but the meetings finally came to fruition through the virtual presentation of several Haitian companies to potential buyers from the neighboring country. The meeting with the Jenny Polanco company allowed SANDILOU to present its samples to a brand that is already well established in the DR. Sandra Russo also worked on the Symbiose project, another program initiated by Caribbean Export, which brought together the two countries on a jewelry design training course, to dress the models who will present these works during an exhibition that should take place in 2022.  

 

While waiting for opportunities to materialize on this side of the island, SANDILOU is working on its website and marketing tools, thanks to a direct grant obtained from the Caribbean Export’s Private Sector Development Support Program. “We have produced a short video and website ourselves and will improve or develop more relevant and up-to-date marketing and communication tools to tackle the market. With kaftans, scarves, beach dresses and colorful towels, our collection is really a typical resort-wear and leisure style product, and the Caribbean is one of the regions most receptive to this type of product. However, this market has changed drastically due to COVID-19: some resorts and stores have disappeared, and others are emerging,” explains Sandra Russo, convinced that the real challenge today is to conquer these new players. 

The Caribbean is an essential market, the Dominican Republic remains to be explored, especially in its resorts and hotels component, and in the United States, museum shops and marketplaces already offer interesting opportunities. SANDILOU has just created a collection that will be presented this summer at the Smithsonian Institution’s “Artisan Marketplace”. Sandra recalls with nostalgia the fairs which used to be held throughout the Caribbean islands until the arrival of COVID-19: “This is the real meeting place for buyers and artisans. Some things are done online, but us islanders we need the human touch, we need to feel the materials, to meet in the flesh…to know who we are dealing with” So the main challenge for the Haitian small business in 2022 will be to find ways to present its collections and penetrate markets. With a collection of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 original designs in its inventory, SANDILOU will not be short of inspiration and is ready to take up the challenge! 

Turmeric Trend Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

Turmeric has been in the top echelon of the ‘trending foods’ chart for the past five years and is still one of the most sought-after ingredients by health-conscious consumers.

The “golden spice” has been used for centuries in traditional and herbal medicine, as well as Indian and Asian cuisine, but its global popularity has risen in recent times because of its proven health benefits as a so-called ‘nutraceutical’.

Public interest in the spice’s ability to ease inflammation, improve liver function, relieve chronic pain, and aid in digestion, has led to it being sought-after as a supplement and in a range of food products.

Turmeric and its main active ingredient, curcumin, can now be found as an added ingredient in several items on supermarket shelves such as sauces, smoothies, soups, teas, salad dressings, and even packaged goods like cereal. It can also be used as part of a rub for meat or fish and its distinctive yellowy, orange colour adds vibrancy to cheese, mustard, and dried seasonings, without affecting the taste.

Turmeric’s emergence as a ‘food to watch’ started when Google Trends data recorded a 300% increase in searches for it between February 2012 and February 2016. This led to the spice being listed as the number one food trend in the search giant’s ‘Food Trends 2016: U.S’ report along with other foods which are also still garnering attention including jackfruit, cauliflower rice, and sourdough bread.

Since 2016, turmeric has been consistently mentioned in the ‘trending food’ conversation and that is not expected to end anytime soon. In fact, research by the CBI dated January 2022 found that “worldwide and also in Europe, the consumption of curcuma longa (aka turmeric) is forecast to increase by more than 10% per year in the next five years.”

The CBI added: “The trend of healthier diets is likely to remain the leading driver of food market developments in the next decades. This trend will positively impact demand for spices such as curcuma longa.”

Sourcing turmeric in its purest form is one way to make sure you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to demand. The spice is grown in various parts of the world, including the Caribbean, and is most potent when it is fresh and uncultivated.

Belizean-based company called Naledo has a head start in this regard as it was the world’s first manufacturer of wildcrafted, whole root ‘Truly Turmeric’ paste.

Founded by mother and daughter Umeeda and Nareena Switlo in 2016, Naledo is a social enterprise that works directly with over 300 small-scale growers based in Toledo, Belize to create a product that is sustainably produced from the forest to the table with minimal impact on the environment.

Naledo has won widespread recognition and awards for its 100% natural turmeric products, which also include fresh juices and even a skincare line. It has also earned admiration for its commitment to pay its farmers six times more than the fair-trade price for their produce.

The company will be taking part in the upcoming Speciality & Fine Food Fair from September 5th-6th 2022 at Olympia, London as part of the ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ pavilion comprising of small businesses supported by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union.

At the event, Naledo will showcase its flagship ‘Truly Turmeric’ product which comes in four sizes and two flavours – original and black pepper. The ingredients list for the original flavour is whole root turmeric, cold pressed coconut oil, fresh lime juice, and sea salt. Black pepper cultivated in Belizean forests is added to the black pepper range.

The variety of turmeric grown by Naledo’s team is called Allepey and it has the strongest colour and deepest flavour of all turmeric types. Allepey normally has around 5% curcuminoids but Naledo’s turmeric has 7.6% curcuminoids, according to the company’s website.

Naledo’s ‘Truly Turmeric’ paste is currently sold in over 1,000 retailers in Canada, America, UK, and Europe and online.

The taste, flavour, and story behind Naledo have made it stand out from the crowded turmeric market which has been further propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the global health crisis took hold in February and March 2020, Google Trends data has highlighted a 670% increase in worldwide searches for “food” and “immune system”. And the global nutraceuticals industry is predicted to be worth $722 billion (US) by 2027 with sales in the immune boosting foods and beverages segment expected to surpass $17 billion (US) by 2025

The public’s interest in turmeric and its health benefits is therefore not likely to wane anytime soon, so it seems likely that this ‘trend’ might turn into more than just a passing phase.

Heart and Sole: Regional Footwear Makers Aim to Impress at UK’s ‘Autumn Fair’

Christmas is coming and retailers around the world are getting ready for the so-called ‘Golden Quarter’ between October and December when sales traditionally spike.

This is an important time for shops everywhere and usually involves an intense amount of preparation for the rush, which includes attending trade shows and finding products that purchasing agents hope their customers will love.

In the UK, one of the biggest retail tradeshows is held just before the busy festive season gets into full swing. ‘Autumn Fair’ is a four-day event in Birmingham from 4-7 September that is billed as “a vibrant hub where ideas flourish and community, connection, and collaboration thrive.”

Autumn Fair has four distinct buying destinations – Home, Gift, Moda (fashion) and Design & Source – where over 600 exhibitors are hoping to attract the attention of leading buyers and retailers scouting for exceptional and unusual products to ‘wow’ their customers.

The Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union are supporting 10 regional womenswear, jewellery, and shoe designers who are travelling to the UK to take part in this important industry event.

The attendees include three established footwear brands, Catori’s Barbados, FETE-ish from St Lucia, and Haiti’s SANDILOU.

Catori’s Barbados was started by husband-and-wife team, Carson and Twena Cumberbatch, and is named after their two daughters Cara and Tori.

Carson has been repairing shoes and bags for almost 30 years and opened his own heel bar and shoe repair shop in Barbados’ capital Bridgetown in 2003.

A few years later, when Carson needed a pair of sandals, he decided to design and handmake a pair from scratch, and from there his business model expanded to include bespoke shoes for men and women.  

Since then, Carson has significantly advanced his repertoire and now also designs and crafts a full range of leather accessories including belts, purses, bags, wallets, passport holders, cell phone cases, and business portfolios.

Carson’s years of repairing shoes and bags have given him invaluable insight into what it takes to construct a product that will last, especially in the tropics, where the heat often causes inferior materials to quickly peel and fall apart.

He utilises hardwearing materials like burlap and denim to enhance longevity, with bamboo handles for the bags and stitched, brass ring details on the shoes.

Carson also credits additional training on shoe manufacturing and bag making which he underwent in Colombia, for improving his craft, and giving him the skills to make leather goods that are chic and classy with a Caribbean touch.

Fete-ish is a customised footwear company founded in 2019 by self-taught St Lucian entrepreneur Kayle Cassius.

Kayle started designing and making leather sandals as a side hustle but soon turned it into a fully-fledged business when interest in her made-to-order shoes steadily grew beyond just her close family and friends.

Fete-ish is different from mass produced or large-scale manufacturers because Kayle works collaboratively with her customers to design sandals that reflect their personality, colour preferences, and personal style.

She says her brand represents “uniqueness, individuality, beauty and strength”, and these values influence every pair of sandals she creates along with an “artsy and whimsical” feel which is 100% inspired by the charms of Caribbean life.

As a lover of shoes herself, Kayle is particularly proud of the fact that her shoes are built to last, and because of that, as well as her eye for every detail and willingness to please the customer, she has had many repeat orders.

Fete-ish has been featured in Elle Magazine, LIAT airline’s in-flight magazine Caribbean Beat, Tropical Traveller, and several other regional publications and Kayle plans to turn her brand into a global household name.

Sandilou is a passion project for Haitian businesswoman Sandra Russo. She started the business with her husband Fred in 2012, and currently works alongside a team of 10 artists to bring her designs to life.

Primarily focused on resort wear, soft furnishings, beach towels. and flip flops, Sandilou offers hand-painted products which express the unrestricted Caribbean ‘joie de vivre’ and love for everything colourful and exuberant.

All Sandilou’s designs start off as a sketch on a blank fabric like rayon, cotton, and linen, then the artist paints freehand using dyes, silkscreen, and paint directly onto the ‘canvas’ and the item takes shape naturally.

Every item is different depending on who painted it. Some artists prefer abstract or organic concepts, while others might use folk and traditional Haitian imagery for inspiration, and a local team of female seamstresses sometimes add appliques and embroidery.

Sandra explains: “We are not a fashion house with collections. We produce easy-wear, just like the Caribbean – we are happy and easy, we’re a lifestyle that’s a visual feast, effortless, with little stress and in no hurry to change what is comfortable.

“We still enjoy moments with nature, friends, family (close and extended) and have fun at carnival, where time has another rhythm and light makes everything beautiful.”

Caribbean Jewellery Designers Ready to Dazzle at Top UK Trade Fair

Four Caribbean jewellery designers will be taking their collections to Birmingham in September as they attend leading UK tradeshow ‘Autumn Fair’.

Jamaica’s Rêve Jewellery & Accessories, St Lucia’s Designs by Nadia, Trinidad and Tobago’s AYA STYLER, and Dominica’s Gisselle Mancebo Jewelry, are all exhibiting at the top retail event with the support of the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union.

Autumn Fair will give these Caribbean creatives a chance to present their individual brand story, whilst interacting with major buyers and retailers from around the world who are looking for the next big thing in jewellery.

Rêve Jewellery & Accessories will be sharing its authentically unique, trailblazing, and contemporary line of couture jewellery, which merges elements of goldsmithing techniques and the legacy of craft.

Founded in 2006 by sibling entrepreneurs, Teasea and Duane Bennett, Rêve is an award-winning company based in Jamaica which offers ready-to-wear and custom-made jewellery.

Rêve’s flagship store, which opened in Kingston in 2009, is not only a place where you can find their revolutionary, handmade jewellery line, but also provides a bricks and mortar location for other Jamaican and regional accessories makers to sell their clothing, bags, and footwear.

Rêve’s co-founder Duane is a highly qualified and skilled goldsmith who is known as a trendsetter in his field. He is also currently a guest professor at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, where he is training the next generation of Caribbean jewellery designers.

Over the past decade, Rêve has built a reputation for excellence and developed a strong and trusted brand image, based on exceptional customer service. It is a registered and trademarked company (including industrial) and currently exports to the Caribbean, US, Canada, UK, Germany, and France.

Teasea and Duane are ambitious and aim to create a long-lasting legacy business. They plan to elevate Rêve into a globally recognised Caribbean jewellery brand that is known for high quality, bespoke, and original designs.

Caribbean jewellery designer Nadia Jabour will also be attending the Autumn Fair to highlight her brand ‘Designs by Nadia’. Originally from Guyana, Nadia began designing jewellery from her home in Canada in 2007 and continued producing her pieces after relocating to St Lucia in 2010.


Designs by Nadia offers one-of-a-kind necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, created from indigenous and naturally occurring material such as fish scales, seeds, wood, sea glass, stones, leather, and metals. Most of the material used in Nadia’s jewellery is sourced from islands around the region.

Nadia initially built her brand through hosting pop-up events around St Lucia and at local hotels. She also created a website to showcase her creations and grew her social media presence on Facebook and Instagram. Nadia’s jewellery has been sold to customers in Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, Canada, the US, and the UK.

‘Designs by Nadia’ is available at Nadia’s shop (Island Mix) in St Lucia where buyers can also get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her production process. Two local hotels also offer Nadia’s jewellery to international guests.

Nadia says her jewellery attracts a varied clientele who are looking for bold statement pieces to complement their outfits, as well as those who are fascinated by the uniqueness of the designs, and the material they are constructed from, especially the fish scale selection.

The AYA STYLER (aka AYA) accessories brand originates from Trinidad and Tobago. Aya designs and makes retail-ready earrings, necklaces, anklets, and bracelets from high quality materials such as cultured pearls, wood, shells, rose quartz, and jade.

AYA STYLER offer clients a timeless feel by fusing classic, vintage looks with international and island trends. The brand’s Caribbean influence can be seen throughout its product range in the textures and colours, as well as in its marketing and promotion material, which utilises paradisical imagery.

As a female-led business, AYA STYLER is focused on women’s empowerment and development. Its clientele includes women of all ages, but it is especially popular with fashion-loving millennials who are looking for jewellery that is uniquely flavoured with tropical undertones and suitable for every occasion.

The AYA STYLER brand is gradually evolving into the largest distributor of locally made fashion accessories in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a well-respected label that is known for its exceptional shopping experiences, affordable prices, and assortment of pieces.

Gisselle Mancebo Jewelry is a high-end Dominican brand established in 2007.

Gisselle trained as an industrial engineer before becoming a jewellery designer “out of passion and conviction”.

She adds: “Since I was little, I had a great admiration for the world of jewellery, crafts, and fashion, because my maternal grandmother Gisela would adorn my neck with beautiful pearl necklaces and semi-precious stone chokers. Ever since then I have been delirious about exotic, different, unique pieces.”

Gisselle started off making jewellery for family and friends, but as word spread and the orders kept coming in, she realised that her part-time hobby was really her lifelong calling.

Gisselle is driven by a desire to add Caribbean character to the commercialisation of high-quality jewellery pieces and to share a slice of Dominica with every one of her clients. Her brand embodies the art of exclusivity while fulfilling its main objective to lift its Caribbean roots to the highest level.

Every Gisselle Mancebo Jewelry item is born out of the wealth of natural resources in Dominica, utilising materials such as larimar, Dominican Amber, cow horn, and wood which gives customers a product line that is truly authentic as well as sustainable and environmentally responsible.

As Giselle’s brand has grown over the past 15 years, she has not lost her love for making showstopping earrings, necklaces and bracelets, or her determination to learn from the continuous cycle of experimenting, failing, and starting over to produce the most striking jewellery possible.

Absolutely Ready for Speciality & Fine Food Fair

With just seven days until the doors open at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair 2022, ten absolutely Caribbean companies are ready to present their range of produce over two days at Olympia, London from 5-6 September 2022.

The authentic Caribbean companies include Naledo (Belize), Superb Blend (Barbados) Old Duppy (Barbados), Flauriel (St Kitts and Nevis), Pringa’s (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Shavuot (Jamaica), St Lucia Distillers (St Lucia), Kalembu (The Dominican Republic) and the Antillia Brewing Company (St Lucia), CariBelle Foods (Trinidad and Tobago).

Showcasing under an ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ branded pavilion the companies are being supported by the Caribbean Export Development Agency in collaboration with the European Union and aim to attract leading European buyers and distributors.

On the 5th of September at 11:30am Caribbean Export will host a guided tour for media of the stand providing an opportunity for press to get a first-hand look at the products that have been gaining interest.

In fact, whole root turmeric paste producer ‘Naledo’ has had their Truly Turmeric product selected by top Chef Consultant Steve Walpole to be used in the ‘Taste the Trends Kitchen’ on the 6th of September at 10am.

Visitors to the stand can also enter a competition to win a trip to Saint Lucia courtesy of St Lucia Distillers, and the Saint Lucia Tourism Board.

Join us at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair and take a journey through the islands of the Caribbean to discover the range of products from fiery hot pepper sauces, flavoursome natural and organic condiments to alcoholic beverages including Caribbean craft beer, rum and mamajuana!  Also discover wild craft turmeric products, natural teas and free from products.

We’ll see you there!

Win a trip image

Caribbean Fashion Aims to Steal the Show at Leading UK Retail Trade Event

Bold, bright and beguiling! Caribbean fashion is as expressive as the region it comes from and just as captivating.

Designers can be found on every shore, from Anguilla through to Turks and Caicos, with many Caribbean creatives drawing influence from the vibrancy around them in the people, places, food, history, art, and culture that intwine to tell each island’s distinct story.

In September, four Caribbean womenswear designers, with the support of Caribbean Export and the European Union, will be given the chance to showcase their unique fashion perspective at the UK’s leading retail home, gift, and fashion marketplace – ‘Autumn Fair’.

Exhibiting at the Autumn Fair in Birmingham will give these regional fashion entrepreneurs the ideal platform to connect with influential UK, European, and international buyers and retailers who are scouting for products that stand out from the crowd.

Let’s meet the three designers who will be attending the Autumn Fair.

Theodore Elyette is a multi-award-winning designer from the Bahamas. He grew up in a creative household and started designing at just 13 years old after spending many days at his mother’s textile factory.

Theo’s brand ‘TE’ offers clothing with a free-flowing, island silhouette that is sophisticated, feminine, and modern.

Theo loves colour, texture, and print, and this comes through in his sought-after custom designs which have adorned several celebrities including British actress and singer Cynthia Erivo, Real Housewives of Atlanta stars Eva Marcille and Porsha Williams, and Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams.

Lauded as one of The Bahamas’ most celebrated and recognisable labels,
Theo has worked alongside some of the industry’s leading celebrity fashion stylists and has featured in Essence Magazine, Cosmopolitan Philippines, and Vogue Italia.

In 2018, Theo also made history when he became the first Bahamian designer to showcase his fashion at Buckingham Palace before a royal audience which included the Duchess of Cambridge.

Theo is a proud Bahamian and recently conceptualised a resort wear collection with local screen printer ‘Bahama Hand Prints’ which incorporates his love for his island’s joyful culture.

The retail line includes dresses, tops and trousers in floaty, comfortable fabrics, and an eye-catching blue and white print with seashells and sea turtles. All the fabric is printed using traditional methods at a factory in the Bahamas and handsewn by local people.

Kimon Baptiste-St. Rose is a self-taught Caribbean fashion designer from St Vincent and the Grenadines.

She started her award-winning line Kimmystic.Clo in 2007, when she was still working as a junior accountant. Kimon’s day job initially funded her passion but after she was made redundant in 2012, she decided to become a full-time fashion designer, and has not looked back since!

Kimon prides herself on producing custom and ready-to-wear clothing that is ‘functional, timeless, and versatile’ while exuding Caribbean chic.

Kimon’s clientele is as diverse as her inspiration, from a classy college graduate to a business professional, or a fashionable mother who is always on the go. The Kimmystic.Clo woman, Kimon says, is “comfortable in her skin and wants to be comfortable in her clothing”.

All Kimon’s designs are environmentally friendly and made from 100% cotton or 100% linen fabric. The brand is currently available to international customers online and regionally via a flagship store in St Vincent and a small network of retailers in Barbados, Saint Lucia, Antigua, Anguilla, and Jamaica.

Kimon believes her brand can become an international fashion powerhouse, but she wants to keep production facilities in St Vincent and the Grenadines to provide employment for the local population.

Loud by Afiya (also known as Loud) was officially started in 2012 by Trinidadian designer Afiya Bishop as a jewellery line before evolving into an online retail clothing brand.

Afiya always had an eye for fashion and studied Fashion Management at the University of Trinidad & Tobago. She also worked as a freelance stylist on commercial shoots and TV shows with local entertainers while maintaining her full-time role as a marketing executive.

Afiya’s clothing embraces bright colours and printed fabrics and consists of accessories, tops, pants, shorts, t-shirts, dresses, jumpers, rompers, and kaftans which are available at her boutique in Trinidad or via an e-commerce website for regional and international clients.

Appealing to the “modern-day superwoman”, Afiya describes Loud as a “female empowerment brand”, carefully crafted to make every client feel strong, confident, and fabulous, regardless of size or shape.

Afiya is always looking for new and exciting ways to build her brand including having a section in the Trinidad Carnival, pop-up shops in America, Jamaica, and Barbados, and launching an annual Afrobeats Brunch Event.

Loud’s social media presence is strongly established with over 27,000 combined followers on Facebook and Instagram. They are attracted to Afiya’s unapologetically Caribbean and African aesthetic which merges casual comfort with unmistakeable island elegance.

Consumers Crave Healthy, Natural Products with Flavour and A Story

Natural products and ingredients were in high demand before the COVID-19 global health crisis, but the pandemic has added impetus to the market with consumers looking for healthy items that are also as pure as possible.

Research shows that the global natural food and drinks market was valued at $120 million in 2020, and is projected to reach $361 million by 2031, a compound average growth rate of 11.44% from 2022 to 2031.

The word ‘natural’ has several connotations, but according to a global study conducted by Ipsos in 2018, the three most common associations which consumers make when they see the term on labels are:

1.            Healthy.

2.            No artificial ingredients.

3.            100% from nature.

Consumers expect natural products to be good for them, minimally processed, and free of artificial colours, sweeteners, flavours, and additives.

Considering the continued push for healthy and natural products is likely to only get stronger, food distributors are always searching for partners who can supply food and drink that tastes and looks good and, as a bonus, are cultivated with an environmentally friendly approach.

In addition, if the supplier has an impactful story to go along with their offering, this element also enhances the marketability of the product, and convinces consumers that what they are eating or drinking is not only beneficial to them, but also of benefit to the people producing it.

In the Caribbean, local producers regularly use indigenous fruits, herbs, and spices in handmade skincare and haircare items, as well as food and drink.

Caribbean ‘superfoods’ are combined with handed down, generational recipes to make jellies, teas, sauces, and jams etc that are bursting with flavour and accompanied by a background and history that cannot be copied or replicated.

St Kitts-based company, Sugar Town Organics, is a shining example of a micro enterprise that combines the Caribbean’s natural bounty with sustainable practices and a powerful origin story.

Established by female entrepreneur Anastasha Elliott, the idea for the botanical business came about when her mother Myrtrice was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Mrytrice was told that she had just four months to live but she decided to fight the illness using a holistic approach. She transformed her eating and lifestyle habits and was declared cancer-free shortly afterwards.

Anastasha saw how her mother used the power of nature to help her recovery, and wanted to share what the family had learned, along with what generations before had already taught them through traditional recipes for soaps, shampoos, oils, sauces, and butters.

Flauriel was established under the ‘Sugar Town Organics’ umbrella as a vegan food brand which pays tribute to Caribbean agriculture and ancestorial practices.

Anastasha harvests a vast majority of the fruits in her products, along with medicinal herbs and spices, from a mini farm in the backyard of her home, and she also works with local, organic farmers in her country and across the region to source a wider variety of raw materials.

Anastasha’s degree in culinary arts enables her to formulate dairy-free and sodium-free jellies, wines, teas, jams, cheeses, sauces, and syrups which are nutrient dense and have a long shelf life. Some of the ingredients used in Flauriel’s products include coconut, hibiscus, mango, sorrel, soursop, avocado, guava, and ginger.

Every single product is methodically handcrafted by Anastasha and her small team using long-held extraction, blending, mixing, and infusion techniques.

Speaking about starting her brand, Anastasha said: “I looked at how, in the Caribbean, we use food to maintain our health, beauty and families, and to heal from disease. Our brands are therefore very food centric, and very Caribbean, of course with cultural influences that both affected the Caribbean and play a role in the geographical origin of my family.”

Flauriel’s full range of offerings will be available at the upcoming Speciality & Fine Food Fair from September 5th-6th 2022 at Olympia, London. Anastasha will be part of a group of the Absolutely Caribbean pavilion comprising of small business owners supported by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union.

The Fair showcases emerging and established brands within the artisan, fine food and drink industry and is a treasure trove for innovative and inspiring products as well as emerging trends.

Flauriel’s range will fit right in with over 700 other food and drink suppliers from around the world who are at the forefront of some of the world’s major food trends. But the background story of Anastasha’s company, along with Flauriel’s unique use of flavourful Caribbean-grown fruits, herbs, and spices, will make her products different from everyone else.

ATELIER CALLA: Timeless and Beyond Borders

When a passion becomes a profession and materials combine to support creativity and quality… Atelier Calla strives most earnestly to attract markets, with the Caribbean in mind! Caribbean Export intends to support the company’s approach and help Atelier Calla to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the region.

When Christelle Chignard Paul started to imagine jewelry and accessories out of horn or wood, it was more a hobby than a profession. Raised in Belgium, each stay in Haiti was an opportunity for her to find the beads and materials t traditional craftsmen used to produce all kinds of souvenirs. that inhabited her childhood memory.

In 1998, when she returned to her country, she realized the immense possibilities these materials offered. In 2007 she started a small production workshop, making pieces mainly from ox horn, which she assembled herself. After the earthquake, solicited by distressed artisans, she decided to formally establish Atelier Calla in 2011.

Paradoxically, the disaster marked a turning point in Christelle’s career and in the future of Atelier Calla. Donna Karan came to visit Haiti, which was under rubbles at the time and was captivated by Calla’s approach and products. She discovered the burnt appearance of the horns that the artisans removed through polishing that Christelle keeps in her creations. The American designer added her personal touch to this technique by working with the Calla workshop on original collections. This gave new visibility to Haiti and its artistic potential.

A showcase…that is exactly what Haiti’s creative craftsmanship needs, and even more so that of Atelier Calla, whose refined, contemporary and indeed timeless productions appeals to an international audience. Atelier Calla has already evolved from jewelry to tables setting accessories, which tastefully combines the noble pieces it transforms. And it is a success! In the workshop on Rue du Centre street, in the heart of downtown Port-au-Prince, twelve people, including five artisans, work with Christelle. Three young women work on assembling and finishing the products before they are shipped. She teaches them about quality control and the importance of being consistent in putting the final touches to the products and in their packaging.

Atelier Calla grows through innovation, focusing on research and quality. “Horn is a living material, which evolves according to the amount of humidity. You have to find the right glue and the right materials”, explains the entrepreneur, who continuously invests in creativity, quality and sustainability. Her designs are often copied, which is one of the challenges she faces in Haiti, however her strategy is to move on to another product when the market is flooded with copies, often of lower quality.

Following Donna Karan’s visit, it was Macy’s, the famous American retailer, who took an interest in Atelier Calla’s products. At that time, around 2015, the country’s leitmotif was “Open for Business” and Haiti was buzzing with activities and NGOs. It was then that Atelier Calla became acquainted with Artisan Business Network (ABN), an NGO that took her to a fair in New York and introduced her to the U.S. market. “Participating in a fair gives you a certain credibility. You have to have the means to participate and have inventory. This reflects on the seriousness of the company. It is an industry where you have to see, touch, meet and make sure that the person you are talking to is there for the long haul”, explains the entrepreneur.

Atelier CALLA was exporting its products while still satisfying the local market that appreciated its creativity, when COVID came along and put an obstacle in the way of its expansion…

At that time, Atelier Calla was working on a bi-national collection, within the framework of the Symbiose project, initiated by Caribbean Export. The initiative brings together students and designers around jewelry.

Caribbean Export is also supporting another project that will allow Christelle to get a foothold in the Dominican market, through a programme financed by the trade and private sector support component of the bi-national HT-RD programme within the framework of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) of the European Union.

Invited to a training in digital graphics design for jewelry, Atelier CALLA met with representatives of Jenny Polanco. Something clicked! The Dominican brand was captivated by the contemporary aspect of Calla’s creations, which were different from the often very ethnic or folkloric connotation of local craftsmanship. The combination of traditional materials such as horn and wood with modern lines and trendy designs, appealing to a wide range of cultures, hit the mark. Atelier Calla received an order for samples and then a test order for table setting accessories: napkin rings, knives and cheese boards. “It’s a great opportunity to be able to work with Jenny Polanco’s team. Their open-mindedness, their encouragement in providing a sophisticated and luxurious touch to the collection…. They trusted me and I think I convinced them of our ability to create and produce accessories under the Polanco brand name.”

Atelier Calla has seized the opportunity given this first commission and will continue the artistic collaboration by proposing its own creations, and making products which reflect the style and specific esthetics of the Dominican brand’s collections. The small Haitian company is familiar with manufacturing for foreign designers. Approximately 30% of its production is destined for these brands in the U.S. market, the most buoyant export market for Atelier Calla. To meet this demand and these orders, “the biggest challenge today is the supply of raw materials and the rising costs of energy and transportation, which affects everything. Every time we get back up after an obstacle, we are presented with another imponderable one”, says Christelle Chignard Paul. But the small workshop has managed to build an image and a reputation that allow it to envisage real regional and international expansion. The important thing is to be known and represented, to find opportunities and to attend trade fairs abroad. In our very promising Caribbean region, the first country we have conquered is the Dominican Republic!

Some Like it Hot: Caribbean Pepper Sauces Growing in Popularity

Hot sauce (also known as pepper sauce) is a staple in restaurants and homes across the Caribbean – as essential as ketchup or brown sauce to British households, or barbeque sauce and mayonnaise to Americans.

Caribbean hot sauce goes with almost everything and there are several brands in the region that have taken this product to new heights and are now exporting it to eager international customers.

A growing appetite for innovative and bold flavours has led to a steady year-round interest in hot, spicy, and peppery sauces especially from younger consumers around the world.

In fact, at the recently held 66th Summer Fancy Food Show which is hosted by the American-based Specialty Food Association (SFA), a Trendspotter Panel labelled peppers a top trend for 2022 with peppers and traditional pepper sauces and condiments from around the world continuing to be prominent.

Research by the Imarc Group has projected the global hot sauce market will reach $6.4 billion (US) by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 5.4% (2022-2027).

In the UK alone, the Caribbean sauces and condiments market grew by 16.8% between 2019 and 2020 to be worth £1.12bn, according to Caribbean Export’s ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ report. The same report (quoting Euromonitor) found this demand for hot sauces continuing all over Europe with German, Spanish, and Dutch consumers also looking for similar products with a tangy bite.

The Caribbean is well known for its linkages to hot sauce as a long-time producer and exporter of fresh peppers.

Scotch Bonnet was originally cultivated by the Taino Indians and is now the Caribbean’s primary commercial pepper variety after going through a process of repeated refinement based on elements such as flavour, pungency, aroma, yield and disease and pest tolerance.

With a rating of 100,000-350,000 Scoville heat units, the scotch bonnet can be up to 40 times hotter than a typical jalapeño pepper. It has high levels of capsaicin, along with most B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, magnesium, iron, and potassium and has been touted as beneficial for pain relief, arthritis, congestion and even to combat migraines.

Many of the Caribbean’s small to medium-sized pepper sauce producers have been selling their hot sauces to the discerning local market for many years. In some cases, these manufacturers utilise highly prized, secret formulas that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Recipes traditionally feature Scotch Bonnet or Habanero peppers, salt, garlic, spices, mustard, and vinegar, along with various other additions.

Producers also take full advantage of the Caribbean’s tropical climate, which is ideal for growing the indigenous main ingredient, to experiment with other flavours which complement Scotch Bonnet peppers such as guava, pineapple, coconut, papaya, and mango.

‘Old Duppy’ pepper sauce is produced in Barbados by creator and chef Nick Bynoe. It’s a relatively new kind on the block when it comes to Caribbean pepper sauce brands but has already attracted attention because of its wide array of options which appeal to genuine heat lovers and those with slightly milder tastes. It is also small batch, organic, and free of preservatives.

“We wanted to bring something bold and innovative to the market which represented authentic Barbadian and Caribbean flavours. Sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers, we enhance our sauces with real wood smoked peppers to provide a truly unique experience. We are burning with excitement to showcase our brand and hauntingly flavourful sauces to the UK market” shared Bynoe.

Old Duppy uses real wood smoked peppers as a base and then adds locally grown fresh fruits, herbs, and spices to elevate the flavour profile. From very mild to very hot, five pepper sauces form the permanent lineup – Zesty Jalapeno, Fiery Pineapple, Pepper Punch, The Traditional, and Fyahpooch, with the fan favourite, Mango Fever, released seasonally every summer.

Other products available under the ‘Old Duppy’ brand name include Tamarind Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Vex Vinegar, a Bajan Ganoush dip, and Chili Oil.

Old Duppy will be on show at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair from September 5th-6th 2022 at Olympia, London as part of the Absolutely Caribbean pavilion, a group of micro enterprises supported by the European Union and the Caribbean Export Development Agency, a regional trade and investment promotion organisation.

Attendees will get to sample the various hot sauces and see why Old Duppy has become so popular with locals and tourists looking for an authentic taste of the Caribbean.

Authenticity and originality are qualities that consumers admire and, along with the essence of a product, contribute to the long-term success and appeal of a brand.

Old Duppy has these attributes and more and that’s why many people are attracted to its versions of Caribbean pepper sauce.

Caribbean Flavours Delight Tastebuds and Spice Up the Global Food Market

‘Bold, impactful, fresh, diverse, colourful, hot, and spicy’ are just some of the words you could use to describe Caribbean cuisine, which is gaining international fans via supermarkets and street stalls and is also increasingly impacting the high-end restaurant scene.

Caribbean food has been on the cusp of worldwide recognition for a while and was recently identified as one of the top trends to watch in 2022 by the National Restaurant Association.

The highly respected annual hospitality trends report for 2022 from consulting firm af&co. and communications specialist Carbonate, went even further in labelling Caribbean cooking its ‘cuisine of the year’.

Now in its 14th year, the annual report (‘Through the Looking Glass: Finding Your Way in a New Era of Hospitality’) seeks to identify the trends and practices that will shape the hospitality industry in 2022 by identifying key influences in food, beverage, sustainability, and other areas.

The report stated: “Caribbean Cooking is Hot! – and we’re not talking about the chilis. Caribbean cuisine is taking the stage as chefs explore the diverse range of flavours, ingredients, and culinary influences of this region. “Caribbean” is a catch-all term for the islands of the West Indies and the Caribbean Sea, as well as coastal countries like Belize and Guyana. The area encompasses a melange of culinary traditions including African, Creole, Cajun, European, Latin American, and more.”

The Caribbean’s diversity is one of its strengths and the beauty of its appeal is that it draws from a wide range of backgrounds. Africa predominantly influences the combination of staple ingredients, India and Latin America bring the spice and tang, and Europe adds a touch of flair.

The history and heritage behind Caribbean cuisine is exciting and unique and adds to its appeal.
Another major aspect which makes Caribbean food so popular is the seasoning. Caribbean seasoning is the region’s ‘secret weapon’. It can be found on seafood, vegetables, or meat and has a special culinary twist from every island. In Jamaica, jerk seasoning is the go-to, while others simply call their blend ‘green seasoning’.

Most seasoning recipes contain garlic, onions, celery, green onions, scotch bonnet peppers, and herbs like thyme, marjoram, rosemary, or tarragon.

The exact combination of necessary herbs and spices in various Caribbean seasonings is usually classified information, contained in a memory muscle that has been passed down from generation to generation for decades. But whichever herbs and spices are used, in whatever quantities, and for however long they are left to marinade together, they all bring out the best in whatever food they accompany.

In St Vincent and the Grenadines, Pringa’s seasoning is a well-respected and long-established brand, known for using all natural herbs and spices along with seasonal fruits, and with no preservatives or unnecessary additives.

The business has been operating since 1997, after starting production from a small shop within the community. Pringa’s herbs are grown by local farmers and shortly after being freshly picked are transported to the nearby processing plant for bottling.

Pringa’s ‘Natural Flavour’ line of products consists of pepper sauces, green seasonings, jellies, and chips and its entire range will be on show at the Speciality and Fine Food which is taking place at Olympia in London on 5-6 September 2022.

Pringa’s is part of an ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ delegation of small Caribbean producers who are being supported by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union. Each company manufacturers food items that are healthy, well-balanced, natural, and flavourful.

The COVID-19 pandemic encouraged consumers to take a close look at the source of the foods they consume. Even though the worst of the pandemic seems to be over, many are still focused on eating products which are as healthy and authentic as possible, but they are also increasingly willing to explore new tastes, flavours, and foods again.

Most Caribbean recipes can be easily recreated at home, especially once you have a trusted brand of seasoning close to hand. But distributors, retailers, and restauranteurs can also capitalise on demand by finding a reliable Caribbean-based seasoning producer.

Caribbean food has continuously evolved but still has plenty of opportunity for growth so, unlike some other markets, Caribbean cuisine has space to move into and lots of new palettes to convert.