The Spice Necklace Blog

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Late dispatch from Dominica:
June 19, 2012:
Rum for what ails you

Even though we left Dominica more than a month ago, I’m still catching up here. In my last post, about our trip to Dominica’s Spanny Falls in May, I promised to tell you about our lunch stop afterwards: at Islet View, near Castle Bruce, midway up the island’s east coast. Steve and I had been there a couple times before, on our own, and knew that owner Rudy Smith is an excellent Creole cook. We also knew that he likes to smoke his own meat and fish. “Do you have any smoked chicken?” I asked him, remembering a top-of-the-yummy-scale leg quarter from his smoker on a previous visit. “No,” he said, “but there is smoked tuna.” What luck.

The spirited line-up behind the bar at Islet View
While we waited for lunch, part of our group gathered at the bar to taste-test a few of his extensive line-up of homemade rums. He and Franklin, who was handling the bar, steep “bush” herbs and spices in local spirits: everything from nutmeg to nym. The infusions not only help to mellow and flavour the harsh rum, but many also have medicinal purposes. Rudy prescribes the aforementioned nym, for instance, for men looking to put some lead in the pencil. Other herbal rums are said to settle upset stomachs, relieve gas, soothe sore throats, cure colds, and evict intestinal worms.

My review? Tasted worse than it looks
Feeling decidedly healthy, we focused our sips on the spiced and flavoured rums instead. The nutmeg was way too intense for me, so Steve suggested I try the one infused with fresh-out-of-the-pod cocoa beans. It had a mild cocoa-y flavor….which I thought didn’t do nearly enough to disguise the breathtaking alcohol.

Steve, however, was convinced it would make the perfect gift for our chocolate- and rum-loving Toronto friend Ron. “Franklin,” he said, “can I buy a small bottle of the cocoa rum to take home?”

No, we haven't tried Ron's
cocoa rum – it's a gift

So while we ate our smoked tuna with provision and salad, Franklin filled a large bottle with cocoa beans, still covered in the sweet white pulp that surrounds them in the pod, and then poured in locally made Belfast cask rum. The rum was clear when he handed Steve the bottle. Now, a month later, it has a cocoa-coloured cast. Actually, I think the colour is closer to camomile tea. Lucky Ron.

Me, I’m going for the sure thing: I’m giving him a Grenada chocolate bar.

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3 comments on “Late dispatch from Dominica:
June 19, 2012:
Rum for what ails you

  1. Kay Heath on said:

    Loved the rum story! We recently visited Rivers Rum in Grenada on our historical tour with CB. Too powerful! We are home until Oct. and I’m packaging up spices for friends. We walked to Lara to the garden tour–all those curing plants are wonderful. Wish we’d met you –we’ll be heading to the ABC’s in Nov. Kay on Finisterre

  2. Pingback: On-Site Dominica: Great Landings End at The Islet View Bar | Dominica | Uncommon Caribbean

  3. Mrs Pots on said:

    Loved your book An Embarrassment of Mangoes, read and re-read many times, will be on lookout for Spice Necklace. My thing is Coalpots…fell for them in St Lucia, and brought some home…as you do!

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