Discover HAITI- July showcase
HAITI is located in the province of Hispaniola along with its next door neighbor, the Dominican Republic. With over 10 million residents in an island larger than the state of Maryland by a fraction and measuring more than 10,000 square miles, HAITI is a special place for Adventure Travelers, Foodies, fun loving Music & Dance aficionados. Art Collectors and Shoppers, and for anyone who enjoys visiting historical sites, magnificent scenery, unique cuisine and more. Major U.S. carriers fly there. From New York’s JFK you can choose from JetBlue, Delta, American, even Air France. From LGA you have a choice. Spirit Airlines is one. And if your cruise minded there’s Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines. And yes, there are B&B type lodgings in HAITI, all reasonably priced. There are also a plethora of private homes and residence if you’re game. For more on this go to the HAITIAN tourist office near you or try : www.experiencehaiti.org
HAITI was the first European settlement in the Americas initiated by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage to the new world in 1492, naming it La Navidad after one of his early shipwrecks to the island. HAITI was also the first country to abolish slavery in the Caribbean and the first country to declare independence from its overseer, France, in 1804. Through thick and thin the country has survived to produce world class art, popular theatre, robust music and dance, and a heightened culture that is shared by people from all parts of the globe. HAITI is forever generating buzz! Noted individuals like Franketienne, arguably HAITI’s greatest author and a candidate for the Nobel Prize in 2009; Jean Lafitte, swashbuckling pirate of lore and a prototype for the recent spate of the film series, Pirates of the Caribbean;John James Audubon, internationally acclaimed ornithologist and author; Wyclef Jean, award winning Grammy hip-hop recording artist and educator, were all born in HAITI. Acting as Ambassador-at-large add the name Sean Penn, Oscar-winning actor, to the list of people who favor HAITI, though he was born in the U.S.A. And this is only a short list.
HAITI enjoys an abundance of historical sites. Two of the majors are Sans-Souci, HAITI’s national park and the Citadelle Laferriere, the largest military fortress in the Americas, built in 1805 and expanded in 1820. Both are World Heritage sites and are open to the public year-round.Of course, after you’ve spent a few days on the island discovering its domains, there’s the food of the people to consider. HAITI enjoys an abundance of native fruit and vegetables, like no other, along with its varied supply of rich spices and flavorings. Try maps moulu, a corn-meal type of grain eaten with sauce pois, a puree made of of as many as five different types of beans and banana pesee, flattened plantain deep-fried in coconut oil, usually eaten with tassot and girt, fried goat, pork, or lamb, or all of the above. For the more adventurous types there’s soup joumou, a hot dish of savory meats and vegetables served with rice and beans, a staple component of every Haitian. Many dishes include freshly picked tomatoes, cabbage, avocados, bell peppers, and an abundance of fresh fruit. Rhum Barbancourt is the national drink here. So while HAITI’s roots are heavily African, the mix of French and Spanish influences are noted in the their homes and restaurants in every part of the island but with a heavy accent on rich spices and flavorings. To note, there are more than 20 spices generally used in all HAITIAN Creole cooking, perhaps more than any other island in the Caribbean. Cumin, bay leaves, clove, chili pepper, gumbo file, mustard seed, nutmeg, oregano, celery seed, allspice, lemon, chives, and garlic are the most popular.
Since Haitian Art is considered robust and explosive in terms of color and scenery, we invited long-standing Art Collector and Appraiser, Myriam-NaderSolomon to join us today, along with Julio Jean from the COMBE Dance Company, Charly Gonzalve from the HAITI NOU LA travel service, Michael McGuigan, from the BOND STREET Theater, Sabin Blaizin, popular DJ and performer, and Joshua, General Manager of the LaCaye Creole restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. You’ll hear what they have to say about their favorite destination and their contributions to all things HAITIAN.
Michael Zufolo, Editor