PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (May 24, 2010) - While St. Maarten (www.VacationStMaarten.com) offers a rare history and culture that truly sets it apart from the rest of the Caribbean, one of its most unique offerings is the "Guavaberry," which is the key ingredient in the legendary folk liquor of the island. Travelers can sample a Guavaberry cocktail with free tastings daily during a "must-do" visit to the Guavaberry Emporium, located on Front Street in the heart of historical Philipsburg.
The Guavaberry Emporium (www.GuavaBerry.com) is in an old cedar house that was built on the site of an ancient Jewish synagogue. It is the primary retailer of the beloved folk drink, which is made from oak-aged rum and wild Guavaberries.
At the Guavaberry Emporium visitors will find Mango, Lime and Spice Liquors, Blackbeard's Rum, Cariba Nativa Rums and Bois Bande (an ancient Carib aphrodisiac). A variety of vintage rums, exotic preserves, honey, local fragrances and gourmet hot pepper sauces are also available.
Guavaberry trees or shrubs grow in a variety of shapes and sizes up to 60 feet high. The Guavaberry grows without stems directly onto the branches of flowering trees found high in the hills at the center of the island. The berries, which are roughly half the size of a cherry, have a center seed surrounded by juicy transparent flesh and a thin skin that is yellow-orange or dark red. After the fruit is gathered, it is washed and placed into wooden barrels, where it ages in a mixture of rum and sugar. The resulting liquor has a woody, fruity, bittersweet flavor.
To the indigenous St. Maarten, Guavaberry conjures up warm and treasured memories. The liquor was first made centuries ago in private homes and became an integral part of local culture and tradition with folk-songs and stories about the fruit. Guavaberry is an integral and distinguishing feature of local culture, heritage and tradition, a point of pride, a symbol of St. Maarten, and a living link to the past.
Visitors to the Guavaberry Emporium can bring the legendary drink home and enjoy with family and friends. An island-favorite recipe follows:
Guavaberry Banana Colada
One ripe banana, chunked
3 oz pineapple juice or pineapple pieces
2 oz Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
2 oz St. Maarten Guavaberry
Fill blender 1/3 with ice
Add all ingredients
Blend until smooth
Grate or sprinkle nutmeg on top
Garnish with flowers
St. Maarten is truly a unique island in several ways. It is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. St. Maarten is also the culinary capital of the Caribbean with an eclectic array of elegantly-perfected culinary fusion to keep “food lovers” returning each year. And with more than 300 restaurants, the island has tastes to satisfy every palate and pocketbook.
Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island’s 36 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions including the vastly abundant treasure of rare animal and plant species at the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Garden. Unique attractions include the historic Fort Amsterdam, the St. Maarten Museum, and the picturesque and symbolic Mount Concordia, where the Treaty of Concordia was signed more than 350 years ago to promote peaceful coexistence of two cultures on one island.
The Dutch capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with bustling city atmosphere in the heart of the Caribbean, while nightlife activities provide endless entertainment with 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs. During the day water sport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island’s scuba diving and snorkeling facilities which are located throughout the island. The island boasts a wide array of marine biodiversity and unique underwater dive sites that include the H.M.S. Proselyte, a notable British frigate which sank in St. Maarten’s waters since 1801.
Accommodations are varied with many designed to exceed the expectations of even the most discerning traveler and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.
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