Caribbean Flavors:
Jerk Seasoning
Make it hot! Hot! Hot!
These are some of my favorites.
Including a love potion.

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Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning

They're preparing a new batch of jerk sauce in the small building where Walkerswood Caribbean Foods blends its world-famous seasonings. The pungent aroma of scallions, Scotch bonnet peppers and black pepper clears my sinuses like a blast of cold aortic air pumped up my nostrils.

That smell hurts so good. Just like jerk seasoning itself when you lather it too thickly on top of a hamburger in place of mustard.

Walkerswood, located in a small mountain village of the same name above Ocho Rios, may not have originated jerk cooking, but its jerk marinade is generally regarded as the Caribbean 's best. For jerk aficionados, it is Mecca.

And it's also one of the most successful examples of a business that took spices found only in the Caribbean, such as hot peppers and pimento (allspice), and marketed them in a distinctive way.

Every time I'm in Jamaica , I stock up with about 20 of the Walkerswood 11-oz glass bottles to hand-carry back home for my own backyard grilling.

However, at the Walkerswood small production facility, I discover I can buy jerk and several other seasonings in 5-pound plastic jars normally sold only to restaurants. I am in jerk heaven (though some would say I am there all the time).

Walkerswood started as a four-person community project in 1978 in an attempt to offer jobs to young locals who were leaving for more lucrative work in Ocho Rios. (Read about the history of Walkerswood.)

Walkerswood now offers a line of 15 seasonings, sauces, spices, condiments and canned vegetables. Never straying from its original goal of helping the local community, it buys ingredients from 120 different island farmers and everything is bottled on the island, though bottles and caps have to be imported.

Walkerswood products and its new cookbook are available all over Jamaica, of course, and in some U.S. and British supermarkets. Items can also be ordered online at www.walkerswood.com .

But you'll need to visit the factory for those special 5-pound containers.

To Page 2 (Hot Sauces from Belize & a Hot Love Potion from the BVIs)

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