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Carnival cuisine

JUST THINKING about the wonderful aromas of traditional Caribbean food, gets our mouths watering. Notting Hill Carnival provides the perfect introduction to Caribbean spices and flavours - from jerk chicken and rice and peas

to rum punch, as well as the odd taste of other exotic cuisines. Bring a healthy appetite along to Carnival, as there is plenty of choice from the street stalls to sink your teeth into.

Here, we look at the carnival staples.


Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica where the meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called jerk spice or seasoning. Jerk seasoning is traditionally applied to pork and chicken, however, you can also have jerk fish, shrimp, beef, sausage, lamb, and tofu. The two main ingredients to jerk are the allspice, also known as ‘pimento’ and Scotch bonnet peppers. Wherever you see a long queue and lots of smoke at carnival, guarantee it will be the jerk line!



A patty is a pastry that contains various fillings and spices baked inside a flaky shell. Similar to a turnover but more savoury - a patty is commonly found in Jamaica but also eaten in other Caribbean islands. The patty is a product of colonialism and migration developed after the introduction of the English pastry in the Caribbean, mixed with cumin and curry seasonings of Indian indentured servants who settled in Jamaica and cayenne pepper from African slaves.



Also known as ‘Stamp and Go’, these popular Jamaican appetisers are perfect finger food. Usually made from salt cod blended with spices and peppers, it is said to be the original Jamaican fast food, getting its name from people stamping their feet to indicate their hurry and then taking it to eat on the run.



Sweet corn is the only variety of maize eaten directly off the cob and is a very popular meal within the Caribbean. The most common methods for cooking corn on the cob at carnival are boiling, roasting, or grilling. It can be grilled or roasted directly in its husk, or it can be husked first and then wrapped in aluminium foil. Normally eaten while still warm, it is often seasoned with salt and is buttered just before serving.



Up the feel-good factor of your carnival party with one of the most popular beverages from the islands. This delicious concoction has been passed down for years. The old rhyme goes, ‘One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak’. Any fruit juice can be used. Serve chilled over ice, with fruit garnishes and a sprinkling of grated nutmeg.

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