As the famous saying goes, “all tastes are in nature,” meaning that nature is vast enough to satisfy everyone. Haitian Food is not left out when it comes to establishing a list of the best gastronomic destinations.
If there is a rich, authentic and colorful cuisine, Haitian cuisine is characterized by a mix of tropical flavors and multicultural influences. It is a cuisine that traces all the Haitian past because we find French Spanish influences and, of course, that of the island’s first inhabitants.
The objective of this text is to promote Haitian cuisine.
What does it mean to eat locally?
We always refer to Haitian Food as “manje lokal,” the Creole translation for local food.
Let’s start with a bit of definition: We can agree that eating local means giving priority to what grows here, meaning Haiti. That’s why we need to eat locally. Eating local food means encouraging local producers/farmers and supporting the local economy.
It also allows us to preserve our heritage: the local know-how, the diversity of cultures, the agricultural landscape, the pride of our production, etc.
In order to continue to develop and share our local know-how, it is vital to encourage our food producers. Food production is not an easy task. Having an entire population depending on your crops is a challenge that few can take on. That is why it is crucial to support agricultural producers. Favoring local products means supporting local markets before exportation, contributing to more healthy choices and food independence.
Eating local to protect the environment.
Eating local foods is a significant effort to restrict the impact of our food consumption on the environment. First of all, food produced close to where it is consumed reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the energy consumed during transportation, storage, and preservation. Sourcing food directly from a local farmer minimizes the amount of packaging since there are fewer intermediaries and less need for preservation elements.
Local Haitian food has more taste.
Local food is also a matter of taste! As you may have noticed, local fruits and vegetables are often tastier. There are several reasons for this:
By not having to bring them from far away, local food avoids picking food before it is ripe. However, food picked when it is ripe is optimally developed food. We can then appreciate fruits and vegetables when they are full of their most beautiful colors and flavors.
Mangoes and Tomatoes are good examples. When freshly picked tomatoes contain more flavor than the ones at the supermarket. Freshly picked mangoes have a distinctive aroma and taste to them. When freshly picked and ripened the right way, they are more enjoyable to eat. The taste, flavor, and smell of fruits and vegetables found in supermarkets will never come close to freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Long-distance traveling is the culprit.
Another fruit we enjoy very much is sugarcane. Have you ever had canned sugarcane? The taste is enormously not the same. Fresh sugarcane is better and more enjoyable.
Fruits and vegetables are harvested before they are ripe to give them time to ripen during transportation. Long-distance transportation and packaging affect their moisture content. The fruits and vegetables don’t have time to absorb the elements responsible for their flavor fully.
Another significant factor is sunlight. The sun provides the necessary elements for fruits and vegetables to grow. Have you ever watched a Youtube video on fruits and vegetable harvest? Take a look at the way the fruits and vegetables look. You will want to put your hand through the television to grab one.
More advantages to eating Haitian food or local food
Another advantage of choosing local Food is that it tends to be healthier. Local fruits and vegetables are generally more nutritious. There are two main reasons for this:
- They are more compliant with the seasons: generally, local fruits and vegetables are produced according to their seasons. In addition, the short distances they face limit the alteration of nutrients. Indeed, products intended for local consumption do not have to endure long journeys; they are picked when ripe and travel little before reaching our plates. And the fresher the food, the more of its incredible nutritional qualities we will benefit from!
- Another advantage is that local fruits and vegetables tend to be less expensive. Less expensive to produce and less expensive to ship (since there are no exorbitant transportation costs), they are sold at a lower price to the final consumer! This can considerably lighten our wallets!
Local products are generally more compliant with the seasons.
Favoring local food also means selecting seasonal products. Seasonal products offer us an incomparable quality and freshness because they have been picked at the right time. By valuing the seasons, the food can then benefit from optimal climatic conditions for their development (light, temperatures…), which results unquestionably in the taste.
In conclusion, Haitian cuisine is a mixture of tropical flavors and multicultural influences. Spain, France, the African continent, and later the United States have all left their mark in shaping the traditional Haitian cuisine. Several foreign countries have taken over Haiti throughout its history, introducing food and ideas from their native lands, many of which have greatly affected modern Haitian gastronomy. The harmonious combinations of these cooking techniques have refined Haitian cuisine and made it unique, charming all island visitors.