|photo by Oceandimages|
Anytime is a great time to visit Martinique, but with the Isle of Flowers having recently been named Best Gourmet Island of the Year by Caribbean World Magazine, the island’s 2010 line-up of culinary festivals and special events present truly tasty travel treats.
Topping the list is the Sainte-Marie Culinary Week, held in May. Held each spring in the small northern coastal town of Sainte-Marie, this weeklong festival celebrates Martinique’s unique gastronomy; combining the best of traditional French cuisine with Creole flavors.
At the center of the event is a cooking competition. Each year, several local ingredients are chosen for competing chefs to use as the centerpiece of their culinary creations. Local and international chefs engage in friendly competition throughout the week, designed to share knowledge and cooking secrets as well as improve preparation methods and the quality of the dishes to further elevate the overall culinary experience in Martinique.
Sainte-Marie Culinary Week cooking demonstrations are held at various picturesque and culturally significant venues throughout the Sainte-Marie area, including the famed Saint James Distillery and Rum Museum, which dates back to 1765.
Special menus commemorating the festival are also created for a selection of restaurants throughout Sainte-Marie during the festival enabling visitors to sample culinary creations born of the competition. There’s even a carnival-like parade to help festival attendees dance-off the calories.
Other notable food-related festivals on the 2010 Martinique calendar of events include the City of Rivière-Pilote Agricultural Fair (April), the Sugar Cane Harvest Festival (July) and the Sainte-Marie Rum Festival (December).
Martinique boasts a vibrant and eclectic culinary scene with local and international chefs elevating gastronomy to an art form. Traditional French cuisine is widely available throughout the island and rivals that found in Paris, but what really sets Martinique apart is its Creole flair. A sublime blend of African, Indian, European and Caribbean flavors, Martinique's Creole culinary creations keep visitors coming back again and again.