There are plenty of reasons to visit Jamaica, and shopping is certainly one of them. The Land of Wood and Water is known for its distinctive culture that can be found nowhere else. From the world-renowned Blue Mountain Coffee to the Jamaican spices, Jamaicans take pride in blessing the world with items that represent their culture. Here are some unique products to take home with you to remind you of your visit to this Caribbean island.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
The Blue Mountain Coffee in Jamaica is the world’s best and one of the most expensive in the world. Its richness and lack of bitterness make it a commodity that attract people to the island. Although "World's best" is subjective, its unique flavor, strict industry regulations and small amount produced yearly means a flavorful cup of coffee.
The periodic coolness of the mists of the Blue Mountains and unusual volcanic soil give it its unique taste. Blue Mountain Coffee is sweet, aromatic, rich in flavour and full bodied with mild acidity.
The coffee is grown and harvested in a designated growing region in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica. Blue Mountain Coffee is grown at elevations above 3,000 ft. in the mountains close to Kingston. The area is small compared to other coffee growing countries.
Jamaica Blue Mountain® coffee is available in supermarkets, cafes and stores across the island.
Wood carvings in Jamaica are some of the most exquisite, creative and detailed art and craft items sold on the island. Jamaica is home to many talented and ingenious artisans, so it’s no wonder the most popular Jamaican souvenirs are wood carvings.
Quality wood carvings are typically made out of heavy wood like the Jamaican national wood –the lignum vitae, cedar, mahogany, or dogwood. The items are usually carved into items representative of Jamaican culture such as animals, rasta symbols and influential people.
The hand-carved wooden sculptures make ideal decorative items for homes and gardens. They are found in craft markets in Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
J Wray & Nephew White Rum
J Wray and Nephew is a renowned overproof rum produced in Kingston, Jamaica weighing in at 126 proof (63% alcohol content). Wray and Nephew, as it's known behind bars, is not only a very popular spirit in Jamaica, but is also the top-selling high-strength rum in the world.
J. Wray & Nephew Limited has been blending and bottling fine rums and spirits since 1825. Jamaican White Overproof Rum has the reputation of being the finest in the world and is a part of everyday life on the island. The white rum is dry, light-bodied, clear-coloured and slightly sweet in taste. It is made from the by-product of sugar cane grown on the island. Jamaican White Rum is a perfect choice for mixed drinks and cocktails because of its plain and delicate flavour.
You can find a flask in the homes of many Jamaicans, as well as in bars or restaurants, and of course in the bags of tourists returning home!
Jamaican Oil Paintings
Jamaica is home to some of the best oil painters in the Caribbean. The island is known for its beautiful weather, fantastic cuisine, rich culture and influential icons. It has a large number of painters and sculptors, working in a wide variety of styles. The woman who is now generally referred to as the ‘Mother of the Nation,’ Edna Manley, was an accomplished sculptor.
People who do know Jamaica will recognize the way in which these works of art convey some of the unique flavor of this vibrant Caribbean nation.
Each artist in Jamaica captures the essence of the country in art pieces that bring tropical charm into the homes and offices of people around the world. Beautiful Jamaican oil paintings can be found in galleries such as the National Gallery of Jamaica and The Art Centre, as well as in craft markets across the island.
National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica, +1 876 922 1561
The Art Centre, 202 Old Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica, +1 876 927 1608
Jamaican cuisine is an adventure for the taste buds due to the mixture of potent herbs and spices used in the food preparation process. The combination of seasoning that brings out the unique flavour is what so many enjoy about Jamaican food. The top five most used one in Jamaican cooking are: pimento (allspice), scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, scallion and thyme.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning is one of the most sought-after spice mixes in the world because it’s used to make Jamaica’s delicious jerk chicken. A variety of different spices for different methods of cooking can be found in supermarkets in Jamaica.
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Jacqueline Cameron is an editor/writer with years of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.