While this small country of one million people has a worldwide reputation for music and sport, Jamaica’s unique foodways also make it a singular Caribbean location for the food-obsessed, tropical vacation-goer. This island, a mere dot on the map, is home to three distinct microclimates and a diverse ecosystem. 146 miles long and 51 miles wide, Jamaica contains it all: six mountain ranges, including the world famous Blue Mountains (recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage site), 120 rivers and mineral springs, waterfalls, and multiple beaches. Its fertile soil produces some of the finest food products in the world; coffee, sugarcane (the main ingredient of island’s famous rum), cocoa, ginger, and myriad familiar and exotic fruits and vegetables.
This abundance of natural resources combined with a diverse ethnic melting pot has helped create a unique national cuisine—a culture of food, drink, and holistic nourishment that is currently being bolstered by an agricultural renaissance. Historical populations include the indigenous Taino, West Africans, Spanish, English, Scotch, Indian, Chinese, and Lebanese; a mix that has led to a vivid contemporary culture (and the national motto, “Out of Many One People”).