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In Search of Black Pineapples on Antigua

Submitted by on January 20, 2017 – 8:25 amNo Comment

Photo by Susan McKee

Photo by Susan McKee

By Susan McKee
The Road Trips Foodie

Not only does the Antigua Black Pineapple sit at the top of the country’s coat of arms, it has been named the National Fruit of Antigua and Barbuda, a former British Colony in the Caribbean. Why then was it so difficult to find the fruit on a menu? I was staying at a posh resort on the southeast corner of the island nation, yet there was no pineapple on the breakfast buffet, or the lunch buffet, or even the dinner menu at the “fancy” restaurant requiring a surcharge at this all inclusive property.

When I asked the manager, he said that it “just wasn’t possible” to provide the fruit for his 600 or so guests at each meal. When pineapple was on offer, it was imported from Florida. Hmmm. So, I headed off to the Public Market in downtown St. John’s, the capital. There were Black Pineapples in profusion!Antigua Coat of Arms

It’s not actually black, of course. But other varieties of the tropical fruit turn yellow/orange when they’re ripe. The Antigua Black Pineapple (Latin name: Ananas comosus) is a dark green on the outside when it’s at its most delicious. According to local experts, the Black Pineapple came to Antigua from South America with the Arawak Indians more than 2000 years ago. As early as the 1640s, European settlers cultivated the fruit in fields near English Harbor. Today, there’s not much commercial agriculture on Antigua, but this local delicacy is grown for local consumption.

Finally, I found the Black Pineapple on the menu at a now-defunct restaurant overlooking Ffryes Beach on the west side of Antigua. Along with a sampling plate of the best local cooking, I had very thin slices of this very sweet and delicious tropical fruit. It was the best dessert possible. Unfortunately, all I can take home is the memory: United States agricultural laws prohibit the import of such fresh produce by tourists. I couldn’t take that Black Pineapple I’d bought at the market back home with me, so I enjoyed it on my balcony overlooking the turquoise Caribbean waters before packing for the flight back home.

Take another look at Antigua via Travel Video PostCard

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