Some exotic fruits such as banana, pineapple or mango are available all year long in the fruit and vegetable sections of supermarkets in mainland France. But the quality of the fruits consumed on the spot has nothing to do with it.
In Martinique, they were able to ripen quietly in the sun and did not suffer the hazards of a long journey. In fact, they have much more flavor than those that can be found in Metropolitan France.
Originally from Asia, the banana tree quickly became the reference plant in Martinique, before the sugar cane. There are more than 400 varieties of bananas, not all of which are edible, represented mainly by dessert bananas - considered as fruits - and cooking bananas - considered as vegetables. It is therefore not surprising that when you drive around the island you will come across bunches of bananas for miles and miles, especially on the North Atlantic coast.
As you drive around the island, you may be intrigued by the plastic bags in the fields that cover each bunch of bananas. They protect the fruit from rain, pests and birds. An entire museum dedicated to the banana even has a special place in the town of Sainte-Marie, in the northeast of the island.
The most important pineapple farms are located in the North Atlantic communes such as Ajoupa Bouillon, Basse Pointe, or even Le Lorrain. If you go around the island looking for pineapple fields, do not look up for trees but rather look on the ground because pineapple is a perennial plant. Several varieties grow in Martinique: the pineapple "Hawaii" with its golden yellow flesh very juicy and sweet to the palate. The "son of the calvet", cultivated especially on the side of Ajoupa Bouillon and finally, "The smooth Cayenne" which can exceed 2 kgs. It is orange when ripe and its flesh is golden yellow: a delight.
As you drive around the island, you will see that coconut trees are part of the landscape, they are everywhere. No need to cultivate them, they grow by themselves. The fruit of the coconut palm is composed of a fibrous envelope of green, yellow or orange color and becomes brown while drying.
Enderneath is the coconut. If you see street vendors selling bunches of coconuts on the roadsides leading to the beaches, take the time to stop. Coconut water is precious because it is rare and difficult to preserve: it is imperative to drink it on the spot !
Between April and July, you can pick up the fruits of the mango trees directly on the roadside. There are many varieties of mangoes in Martinique which are of different sizes and tastes. The julie mango is the must have mango, its subtle perfume and the fact that it is not fibrous at all make it an exceptional exotic fruit.
In addition to the 4 essential exotic fruits of Martinique (banana, pineapple, coconut and mango), there are many other fruits.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of varieties to discover during your stay :
The tamarind has many medicinal virtues. Available all year round
The quenette, juicy and tangy. From June to August
The carambola is often used to decorate dishes, this fruit is delicious and full of vitamins. From November to January.
The cythere plum, from the mango family, this fruit is very sweet. From September to March.
The acerola, or country cherry, is a small, red, tart fruit. From April to August.
The papaya, its sweet flesh is even more fragrant than the one available in France. All year round.
The pomegranate, a fruit with great antioxidant power. All year round.
The lime, present in the West Indies since the 16th century. All year round.
The lychee, a small pink fruit that combines the flavors of muscatel and rose. From June to August and from November to January.
Grapefruit, called chadeck here. From November to February.
The caimite, also called apple-milk, has a sweet flesh without acidity. From January to June.
The barbadine, a very large fruit, eaten fresh in cocktails or as a vegetable if it is still green. From April to August.
The cinnamon apple, also called attier. Rich in vitamins, this fruit is sweet with a taste similar to cinnamon. From April to July.
The guava, tonic and very juicy fruit filled with vitamin C. All year round.
The pod, the fruit of the cocoa tree. All year round.
The soursop, a fruit known as a miracle for its many virtues. From February to August.
The passion fruit, called here Maracudja, known for its exceptional flavor. All year round.
During your trip to Martinique, you will also discover other lesser known but equally tasty exotic fruits. Most of the exotic fruits that grow on the island cannot be exported for various reasons :
When transported by plane, the fruit suffers the shock of depressurization added to the temperature differences, which result in altering the flavor of the fruit by altering their flesh. The transport by boat takes time, the fruits must be picked before their ripening, then be placed to ripen in the cellars of boats, they will be less tasty because picked up too early, they will have received less sun. Some fruits such as fresh cinnamon apple, soursop, country cherry or caimit, cannot be picked well before ripening and they ripen very quickly. They could not be transported because they would be too blackened or rotten when they arrive.
Some fruits cannot be exported because the quantity produced does not allow for profitability
Other fruits are not exported because they would not be sold in large enough quantities in France. Plum of Kythera, country apricot and guava can be tasted only on the spot: a godsend for all the gustatory explorers.
The markets are a must to taste the flavors of Martinique. The merchants put on a colorful atmosphere to make you discover their products.
Almost each commune organizes its own market, so you will have no difficulty in discovering the local specialties. The most important market is the one in Fort-de-France. It is a covered market, located on Rue Blenac. The Perrinon parking lot is located only a few meters from the market.
If you have the opportunity to visit the Rhumerie Clément located in the town of Le François, don't miss a visit to the orchard adjacent to the house.
You will find a lot of fruits there and in particular a very old mango tree as well as a tamarind tree out of age.
On the road to Le Vauclin, heading south, stop at the village "Antan Lontan" to discover a magnificent arboretum. A parking lot is at your disposal along the road.
Let yourself be guided in a shaded walk which will end with the tasting of a home-made fruit juice. This natural garden is integrated into the coastal vegetation of the south of the island. It is located in front of the ilets of François and offers a magnificent panoramic view.
This arboretum is lovingly planted and cared for by a couple of enthusiasts. During the walk, the guide presents the different trees and plants of Martinique, many of which are becoming rare.
Finally, think about visiting some of the farms specialized in fruit growing such as "An Gryavla" in Robert, in the direction of Vert Pré.
Did this article make your mouth water ? Don't hesitate for a second and go hunting for exotic fruits in Martinique. Go to Europcar to rent a car in Martinique and go on a gourmet tour of the island.
Our teams provide you with vehicles adapted to your needs and your budget. For a day trip with your family or a week-long romantic getaway, we'll help you find the best way to get around the island. And to help you organize your trip, we have listed the markets of Martinique preferred by our consultants.
Discover them and don't hesitate to ask our teams for advice in our Europcar rental agencies.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our best offers of the moment exclusively
Subscribe to our newsletter
Customer Service : 00596 596 42 42 42 | Booking Service : 00596 596 42 42 53 | Assistance 24/24h 7/7j : 06 96 45 97 83