Martinique Specialist Program - (Page 12)

La Route des Rhums Both photos: Martinique offers good gastronomy and tasty rums. Food, Glorious Food Food is one of Martinique's many great pleasures; indeed, there are culinary tourists who go to this island specifically for its gastronomical choices. They range from down-home Creole to upmarket French, not to mention Indian, Middle Eastern and Vietnamese and all manner of fusion cuisines, but no matter what the culinary style, this island's chefs share a passion for getting it right, and they do. Unlike the many islands where farmers and fishermen have sold their land to developers and taken jobs at hotels, agriculture and fishing have deep and enduring roots in Martinican culture. Thus, the food on your plate is unlikely to include defrosted fish from China or oranges from Florida; Martinique's chefs prefer fresh, flavorful, locally sourced ingredients, and thanks to their fertile farms and fishing grounds, they can get them. Whereas Martinique's hotels, resorts, and condos are somewhat concentrated in the southwest corner of the island, there are good restaurants throughout Martinique. In part, this is because a fair number of Martinicans live in areas not given over to resorts, especially on the coast. In part, too, it's because most visitors to Martinique do not just stay put at a hotel, but explore the entire island to participate in different activities and admire Martinique's natural and man-made wonders, so along the way, they are bound to get hungry. And if they have kids with them, no problem. In restaurants, as in hotels, children tend to be given a warm welcome. For details on specific restaurants, see the Martinique Specialist Program at 1. The tourist office has based the Route of Rum upon Martinique's 10 distilleries. That's an unusual number of distilleries for one island, and they all offer tastings and/or tours. 2. Martinique's rum producers are not your average rum producers; they are consistent prize-winners in international competition. 3. Martinican rhum is the only rum on earth whose quality is so exceptional that it has appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) status. In theory, that status is related to the terroir, the special attributes of the soil and climate in which something is grown. However... 4. Terroir is just part of the reason Martinique's rum has so much character. For starters, this island's distilleries do not use molasses, which is really just a byproduct of table sugar production. Instead, they use fresh cane sugar to make rhum agricole, so the rum has a strikingly fresh, not bitter, flavor. 5. Whether the rum is young white rum or barrel-aged rhum vieux, Martinique's rums are so elegant they can be sipped straight, as one would sip a vintage brandy. The grand rums from Martinique receive yearly awards from connoisseurs all over the world. Following are just five of the Route of Rum's highlights: Musée du Rhum Saint-James (Sainte-Marie): In addition to tasting excellent rums, visitors also get to see a fine plantation manse from the 1700s, museum-quality antique machinery, and vintage photos and advertisements. When there's enough demand, visitors can also tour the property on the plantation train. Habitation Clément (François): The 19th century plantation house on this old estate has landmark status, and was classified an historical monument in 1996. The gardens are magnificent, and so are the rums. Rhum JM (Macouba): No train rides or landmarked mansions here, just a chance to see how rum is made using traditional methods, followed by a tasting of rums that have won more awards than many world-famous wineries. Château Distillerie Depaz (Saint-Pierre): Established during the 17th century in the shadow of Mount Pelée in Saint-Pierre, Depaz produces a renowned rum onsite. Château Depaz is open to the public and displays artifacts from Martinique d'antan (Martinique's past). Distillerie Neisson (Carbet): Located in Carbet, with 40 acres of sugar cane fields, Distillerie Neisson is one of the last familyowned distilleries in Martinique. Neisson rum is famous for its white zépol karé, considered by aficionados the best white rum ever. LUC OLIVIER KATSUYOSHI TANAKA Your clients need to know five things about rhum (rum) in Martinique: 12 8-13 AttractsFoodShop.indd 12 4/23/14 2:09 PM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Martinique Specialist Program

A Quick Tour of the Island of Flowers
Historic Sights & A Thrilling Backcountry
Food & Rhum
Shopping & Island of the Arts
Active Pursuits
Cruising Destination
Calendar of Events & Essential Facts

Martinique Specialist Program