We all know dark chocolate and red wine go hand in hand, and that there’s no better companion to port than blue cheese. But what about one of our favourite Caribbean tipples – rum? This molasses-based spirit – sweet, spicy, and filled with sunshine – needs to be enjoyed alongside equally bold flavours to bring out all of its notes.
Caribbean Patties are similar to a Cornish pasty – just a lot spicier. Meat such as mine or pork is folded in between crispy pastry and mixed with herbs and spices like turmeric, thyme or chilli.
Patties are often eaten in Jamaica as a hearty snack between meals, or as a dinner in their own right beside a leafy side salad. Their savouriness and spiciness make them the ideal accompaniment for an early evening rum.
There's nothing quite like plantains to satisfy that 3 pm sugar dip. In Jamaica, these banana-like plants are tossed with plenty of brown sugar and then fried and caramelised for sweetness. A hint of salt finishes things off beautifully, as does a small tipple of spicy rum.
You can even use your rum during cooking – drizzle it over plantains along with some freshly squeezed orange juice before baking for a rich, deep flavour.
Particularly common in the Turks and Caicos Islands, conch is a large variety of sea snail. It has a mild flavour and a firm and versatile texture that makes it perfect for tossing into salads, stews and soups.
Conch fritters are a delicious and satisfying staple typical of the Bahamas, that, when paired with a rum cocktail, encapsulate the complex flavours and laid-back spirit of the Caribbean islands.
Synonymous with the island of Jamaica and a must-try on your Caribbean cruise, jerk chicken is a bold, punchy dish of barbecued meat and spices. Allspice (also known as pimento) and Scotch bonnet chilli are essentials, but you might also find your chicken coated with nutmeg, garlic and cloves, and served alongside rice and peas.
This meal demands a drink that can stand up to its intense flavours, and dark rum, given a citrus edge by a wedge of lime, is more than up to the task.
Flying fish and cou cou – a polenta-style accompaniment made from okra and cornmeal – is the national dish of Barbados. Although a satisfying and hearty meal, its flavours are traditional and relatively mild, making it versatile and easy to enjoy as a light lunch or more substantial dinner.
The freshness and saltiness of the seafood make it the ideal pairing for a sharply flavoured rum cocktail, such as a daiquiri or mojito.
It’s likely you won’t need a glass of rum to accompany a slice of this dessert, as it will already be soaked through with the dark spirit, as well as potentially cherry brandy. The rich, boozy flavour brings out the sweetness of the dried fruit, the tang of the citrus peel and the nuttiness of the almonds, making this a wonderfully indulgent and celebratory Caribbean dessert.
A speciality in Barbados, Bajan black cake is most typically eaten around Christmas time.
The Dominican take on arroz con leche is particularly tempting, as it’s made with luxurious cream rather than milk and contains a mouth-watering array of spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s just the thing to enjoy on a balmy Caribbean evening. If you’re making yours at home, customise it by adding in cloves, rum or condensed milk to your tastes.
This Caribbean rice pudding is a delicately spiced and multi-layered version of the comforting dessert we all know and love.
The sweet and spicy notes in rum perfectly complement the mellow creaminess of coconut, of which you’ll find plenty in a traditional Jamaican toto. A delicate, moist and spiced cake, a toto is ideal for soaking up rum and having as an afternoon snack or after-dinner dessert.
Rum doesn’t taste better anywhere than on a Caribbean beach as the sunset warms the rolling waves. Browse our Caribbean cruise itineraries to discover a delicious slice of paradise.
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