Non-meat eaters should read no further. Meats have always been a staple of any local traditional Christmas celebration in Saint Lucia. Stewed and roasted pork, beef and sometimes goat are easy to find at Christmas dinners, and locals usually secure their meat weeks before the animals are slaughtered on 23rd and 24th December. (In the Caribbean we don’t all buy our meats from a supermarket cabinet. As fresh as possible is considered best. And yes, the animal may have been considered a pet by someone, with a name, even!)
Only in the past generation or two has ham become a part of the usual fare on the glittering, green, red and gold-laid dinner table. Apart the frozen bundles now found year-round in the supermarkets, hams at Christmas-time are also sold in cute little cloth sacks. The local traditional method is to cook a Christmas ham on a coal pot (a vessel made out of clay which uses coal for fuel) but many now opt for convenience and stick it in the oven. Unlike our other highly seasoned meat dishes, we generally bake our hams pretty simply!
Coal Pot Method:
Store bought ham
5 pieces cinnamon bark
2 slices lemon/lime
3 cups water
1. Defrost ham thoroughly.
2. In a large pan, place cloves,
lime and cinnamon. Place ham
into the pan and submerge in water.
3. Leave to boil on coal pot until
meat begins to fall off the bone.
4. Place on a platter, carve
Black Cake/Fruit Cake
The memory of tasting potent black cake – our version of Christmas fruit cake – will remain with you for years after your visit to Saint Lucia. Fruits are collected and soaked in rum for weeks, even months. They are then mixed into a cake batter already infused with spices and sometimes gravy browning. The result: a sweet, moist, rich and moreish cake that packs a punch! So be careful on the portion sizes for youngsters. Black cakes are a common gift from one family to another at Christmas, especially by those who have perfected a recipe that maintains their reputation as a top-notch baker.
Sorrel and ginger (beer) beverages are essentials for the holiday season in Saint Lucia; they are flavourful and all natural. Preparing and soaking the sorrel flowers or ginger roots contributes to the delectable, spicy, fragrances filling the air. They are also the least alcoholic beverages for the season!
Bottles of Chairman’s Rum, Spiced Rum (a local concoction), Ponche Caribe (a cream liqueur based on rum, vanilla, eggs and herbs/spices) plus homemade rum punches and wine all flow copiously during the festivities.