♫Trini Christmas is the best, is the best, is the best!♫
Popular soca parang song by Susan Macio.
Parang and soca parang music are synonymous with Trinbago Christmas. Its roots are in our Spanish, Amerindian and African heritages.
In this month’s box, we’re bringing you some must-have items for a quintessential Trinbago Christmas.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
What is it? Dried hibiscus.
Suggested Uses: Boil and sweeten with sugar to make this popular Trinbago Christmas drink. Combine with alcoholic beverages to make your own cocktails!
Helpful Tip: Be sure to add cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaves and ginger while boiling.
What is it? The Trinbago version of English Christmas pudding, an influence from our colonial era. It’s a moist, decadent cake whose key ingredients are dark dried fruits (prunes, currants, and raisins), cherries, rum, brandy and sherry. The fruits are soaked in rum for up to 12 months prior. Many Caribbean islands have their own version of this cake. The commonality is that it’s synonymous with Christmas.
Suggested Uses: As the quintessential Trinbago Christmas dessert, it’s customary to offer a slice to guests who visit your home during the Christmas season.
Helpful Tip: To keep your black cake moist, occasionally pour a little rum onto it. It’s best enjoyed with the must-have Trinbago Christmas drinks, sorrel or ponche de crème.
Hot Chow (aka Chow Chow)
What is it? A spicy, mustard-based pickled relish that’s the Caribbean’s version of the English “Piccalilli”condiment. It contains small chunks of vegetables and tropical fruits.
Suggested Uses: It can be used as a condiment on anything as you would use sweet relish. It’s most commonly eaten with pastelles and baked ham at Christmas time in Trinbago.
Helpful Tip: Be creative and try it with anything! It’s slightly spicy so have in moderation.
Mauby Bark & Spices
What is it? Dried buckthorn bark, which is a species of tree found in many Caribbean islands. It’s been likened to root beer by many.
Suggested Uses: Like sorrel, it's boiled and sweetened with sugar.
Helpful Tip: It has some bitterness so be sure to add cinnamon sticks and a few teaspoons of Angostura Bitters and Mixed Essence for enhanced flavouring.
What is it? A combination of several tropical fruity extracts and essences.
Suggested Uses: It makes a wonderful flavouring aid in cakes, ice cream, juice, and Indian sweets. It’s a key ingredient when making the mauby drink.
Helpful Tip: A little goes a long way. Only a few drops are required.
Lime Flavoured Hot Sauce
What is it? A blend of hot peppers, lime & herbs, pickled in vinegar.
Suggested Uses: Can be used as a condiment for any dish, much like ketchup or mustard. Use together with the Hot Chow for an extra kick!
Helpful Tip: The lime in the hot sauce makes it a great complement to any seafood dish.
Split Channa (Chick Peas)
What is it? It’s salted fried chickpeas spiced with pepper. It was a popular movie theatre snack in Trinbago back in the 1950s and 60s. Today, it’s a staple especially at Christmas time.
Suggested Uses: It makes a wonderful snack.
Helpful Tip: Ensure it’s resealed properly to maintain freshness.