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Caribbean community showcase common cuisines with Nigeria

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The African continent is regarded by most Caribbeans as the mother continent as a large part of the population of these islands is made up of descendant of slaves taken from Africa, most especially Nigeria. The common history has fostered a lot of commonality between Africa and the Caribbean in the area of music, religion, language and food culture.

It is in celebration of this commonality between Nigerian and the Caribbean that the CMD Tours, an Abuja based elite inbound and outbound tour company, organized a one-day food festival to showcase and popularize Caribbean cuisines to Nigerians and other nationals living in Abuja.

The event saw a display of delicacies from three Caribbean countries: Jamaica, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago.

Although the organizers had regulate the number of visitors to the fest in line with COVID 19 protocols, one take home from the event is the similarity between  Nigerian  cuisines and those of the Caribbean.

At the Jamaican stand, visitors had a taste of Okra soup, yam and so on, all common delicacies in Nigeria.  Cuba had the commonly prepared rice and beans. But in Cuba, the delicacy is called Kongri. The liquor culture in these countries  is also not different from Nigeria  with strong presence of  refined rums commonly called  ogogoro in Nigeria.

The managing director of CMD Tours, Cecile Doumbe said the idea is to create a food fest to showcase cuisines of different countries, popularize them and also foster greater understanding among these countries with Nigeria.

The Cuban ambassador to Nigeria, Clara M. Fulido-Escandell, while speaking at the occasion highlighted the rich common history between Nigerian and the Caribbean, calling for greater cooperation between Nigeria and the Caribbean. She said: “A very interesting and important point for me is that we the Caribbean have the same ingredient with Nigeria for most our food. Why? It seems to me that there are too many reasons for that. One, it is because we have more or less a common weather. So, it means we produce more or less the same things. The second point and the most important one is the cultural one, because we know the history. In our common history, thousands of Africans were taken from this mother continent to the Caribbean as slaves. Once there, they started cooking for their owners, and step by step, they were importing the African style. So, it was like a conquest from the food aspect. So today we can say in Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean islands, our food is mixed one, African food and Nigerian food, particularly in the case of Cuba, and Spanish food. So, that has huge influence in our culture.”

Speaking also on the food fest, the Jamaican Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Esmond Reid said: “We certainly believe this an excellent opportunity to showcase the cuisines of Jamaica that we believe the world needs to experience. Of course Jamaican cuisine has evolved from food from around the world, mainly West African origin, because we have had people coming from almost every corner of the world, they have brought their additional element to make it more exciting and more special.

“Here in Nigeria, we thought it is good to showcase how we have changed some the things we inherited 400 years ago, ago, and what we have done to it and we have now brought it back.”

Talking about the food culture in Jamaica, he said further: “We believe we have improved it in many ways and I believe we have diversified it.  For example you do pounded yam, we don’t pound yam at the moment in Jamaica, we prepare it full but we add various things to the meal when we are turning it and it gives an interesting flavor.”

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