CURACAO — Amazing Island of Diversity
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Forty-five hundred years ago a few Venezuelans decided to take a look at an island 35 miles to their north.  . It turned out to be what is now Curacao (Koor-uh-sow–rhymes with “cow”).To this day, produce-laden boats make their way daily to the island to set up an open-air fresh market.

Curacao produces oil and imports most all her food and for for the island’s broad culturally diverse population. Locally grown food is grains, vegetables some fruits and she raises goat, iguana, chicken, rabbit and pigs. Has many Chinese restaurants, and the cuisine adapts to foods locally available. There is a large Indonesian influence where the tradition calls for Rijstaafel, a 21-course meal. Even French fries are served with an African-influence peanut sauce.

Diverse is another word for Curacao and her remarkable population. Here 170,000 people represent all possible skin  tones, and most speak a minimum of four languages. Three percent of her population is Jewish descended from the island’s previous generations.

Today, the world’s largest cargo ships plunge silently along Wilemstad’s once-heavily guarded central canal, a floating main street, for ships seeking St. Ann’s Harbor.  They unload everything Curacao uses. This watery way separates Curacao’s Wilemstad’s Punda and Otrabanda districts.

The foods of Curacao are as worldly as the ships she receives.  Enjoy foods from America, Argentina, Chile,China, Holland, France, Indonesia, Italy and Mexico. Their decidedly gourmet Ft. Nassau Restaurant is a 1796 historic fort with 360-degree panoramic view of entire island. The Rysttafal Indonesia Restaurant is the island’s  elaboration on Indonesian connection.

Curacao lures visitors for its 38 Florida-like sugary beaches, lady-luck casinos, duty-free shopping, Dutch charm and Caribbean allure. This remotely located  Dutch culture is further preserved in zesty food, distinctive libations, tumba and salsa music and 85 exibits of folkloric art.  Her celebrated cheeses, century’s old liqueur recipes and imported spices top visitors’ shopping lists.

LOCAL DISHES:

§        Green papaya, cucumbers or cabbage are stewed with corned beef.
§        Okra and cactus makes a curious, shiny soup.
§        A sweet soup is made from plantains and vegetables seasoned with pppers and cinnamon.
§        Ayaka – savory meat tamales wrapped in banana leaves
§        Keshi yena – a stuffed cheese
§        A dish is made from Dutch cheese, stewed meat, raisins, olives, capers and baked until cheese melts.
§        Pickled fish, salted herring, salmon and mackerel marinated with onions, hot peppers and spices
§        Pickled p[igs ears and feet cut into thin strips, soaked in brine and flavored with onion and spicy peppers
§        Bolo pretu (black cake) quite possibly the world’s best fruit cake
§        Sunchi – meringue “kisses” made from sugar, egg whites and food coloring
§        Panseiku, a praline of toasted peanuts, almond essence cooked in a brown-sugar bittle.
§        Djente kacho (dog’s tooth), coconut cooked in sugar syrup.
§        Kokada, a freshly-grated coconut patties
§        Tentalaria – ground peanuts or cashews in a sugar cream
§        Zjozjoli  – chewy sesame seed bars

Curaçao the orange-flavored liqueur is name-saked for the island. It is made from the dried peel of bitter oranges found on the Caribbean island. Originally named after the island of Curaçao, whose oranges were the basis for its first production, the name is now generic. The island is also the home of the Amstel Brewery.

About Marty Martindale

Foodsite Magazine and Marty aim to help the cooking-challenged avoid dependence on others due to lack of cooking knowhow. We concentrate on quick breakfasts, portable lunches and “good-4-u” night meals. With readily available web translation, the magazine explains separate foods, a little of their history, their nutrition, suggested “go-withs,” serving ideas and links to foodsites with recipes.

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