It is currently 11:30 pm and as I am laying in my bed underneath the warm security of my comforter, I begin to feel a sensation like no other. Tossing and turning relentlessly and my mind beginning to unravel with a single specific train of thought. It was none other than the memory of the very delectable dinner consumed earlier in the evening prepared both by the maternal figure in the household (none other than my mother) and I.

The lingering oral and olfactory sensation of fragrant jasmine rice, velvety smooth red peas soup with the mandatory and traditional pigtail & beef chunks (stew peas in the Jamaican lingo) and mince (goulash without the macaroni) washed down by a refreshing sorrel iced tea. Upon further analysis of this sensation, I have come to the realization that the joy felt from consuming today’s dinner goes beyond the dinnertable and the will of the stomach. This feeling has a much deeper rooting of the importance of the family unit and other internal emotions. The dishes were made out of not only time honored linear traditions but also of love and the family bond. Recipes are passed on from generation to generation in a majority of families and not only executed the traditional method but it is a process of maintaining a connection to one’s family.

From as far back as the Shakspearean era, literary great William Shakespeare deduced this synergy in his play “Twelfth Night” when Duke Orsino said:
“If music be the food of love, play on” (act 1, scene 1, 1-3).

Everyone has at least one memorable home cooked meal that can never be forgotten even as simple and basic as the ingredients are. Fellow gourmands, it is from this notion that every meal will be an outstanding meal prepared if it is served with a heart of love.

Good chefs use the best quality ingredients but excellent chefs put in their heart and soul.

– The Jamaican Gourmand

Jasmine rice, beef mince & carrots, red peas soup and sorrel lemonade

Jasmine rice, Beef mince & carrots, Red Peas soup and Sorrel lemonade

The Rock (Jamaica) is renowned for growing the most expensive and most sought after coffee beans globally. There has been in the last 5 years an unprecedented upsurge in coffee shops which in the 90’s was non-existent. Jamaicans were limited to daily Air Jamaica flights to the US to experience the “cafe” ambience, which to most travellers were the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts chain of coffee shops.

Currently, a multitude of options and facilities are now available to the local coffee aficionado such as coffee-based derivatives (mochachinos, frappachinos, lattes, etc.), a wider selection of coffee servings to appease the lactose intolerant and even the non-coffee lover, WiFi access (for all those college students and young professionals who need an early morning fix while finishing up an assignment), mouth-watering desserts and savory items, new age/reggae/coffeehouse music serenading the eardrums and most importantly, a calming haven away from the hustle and bustle of the Kingston metropolitan lifestyle.

Two (2) Bluechinos and a Smoked Turkey & Brie Panini at Cafe Blue

The Jamaican coffeehouse now represents an amalgamation of contemporary lifestyles and the traditional palette. We need to further support these businesses because of the direct and indirect effect on our tourism product and the agricultural sector. The use of local recipes and ingredients will encourage our farmers to produce more organic meats, vegetables and fruits which in turn promote consumer loyalty towards the Jamaican brand.

The simple act of purchasing a cup of coffee, panini/sandwiches and dessert will make a small but significant impact on the Jamaican economy. Plus, who can resist the sensual aroma of freshly brewed Blue Mountain Coffee, a coconut gizzada (or chocolate cake for those dietary sinners) and a hot toasted/grilled ham & cheese sandwich (or panini in some establishments)??

– The Jamaican Gourmand

Hello all,

Welcome to Jamaica’s premier source for candid restaurant reviews and details,  recipes and culinary tips.  Feel free to participate in our polls and leave a comment. Hopefully this venture will provide fellow Jamaicans and other interested parties with an insight into the diverse and artistic culinary palette of the Jamaican social fabric.

Much love to my fellow gourmands.

– The Jamaican Gourmand