Trinidad and Tobago is a dual island Caribbean nation off the coast of northeastern Venezuela. They lie on the continental shelf of South America, and are thus geologically considered to lie entirely in South America. Until 10,000 years ago, Trinidad and Tobago were both part of the South American mainland. Arawak Indians inhabited what they knew as the “Land of the Hummingbird” before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498, who called the island La Trinidad, or “The Trinity.” Tobago got its name from its shape resembling a tobacco pipe (tavaco) used by local natives. In 1962, Trinidad and Tobago became independent but retained membership in the British Commonwealth.
Famous for the capital, Port of Spain’s annual carnival which is held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, the festival is associated with calypso music, however, recently Soca music has replaced calypso as the most celebrated type of music.
Other highlights for the visitor include Fort King George, Pirate’s Bay, Botanical Gardens, Brasso Seco rainforest village and Pigeon Point. Splash out for a week at the Coco Reef Tobago or grab a bargain at The Coral Cove Marina hotel.
Trinidad and Tobago has one of the most diverse cuisines in the Caribbean and is known throughout the world. Popular dishes include Baigan Chokha (spicy baked aubergine), Callalo and curried pumpkin soup, Cassava and saltfish pie, Doubles (curried chickpea sandwich) , Macaroni pie , Curried crab and dumplings , Gyros (spit roasted meat in a wrap) and Pelau (rice with pigeon peas, chicken or beef). I opted to make Pineapple chow (pineapple with lime, garlic, coriander & chilli), which was very unusual. The combination of garlic and pineapple was a little troublesome for my palate, but it had a nice zingy flavour of lime, coriander and chilli with sweet pineapple.
Serves: 4 as a small starter or snack
Prep time: 10 minutes + 20 minutes cooling time
1 ripe or almost ripe pineapple
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
Remove the skin from the pineapple, slice the fruit into rings and then cut each ring into chunks (about 1 1/2 inches wide)
In a plastic bag or container combine the pineapple chunks with the garlic, coriander, half the lime juice, half the chopped pepper, and a liberal sprinkling of salt and black pepper then shake well
Taste and add more lime juice, hot pepper and/or salt to suit your taste
The chow should have a nice balance of hot, sweet, salty and sour, with noticeable punch from the garlic and pepper
Set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow the flavors to develop fully