The Meaning Behind Taíno Spice
Our vision for a flagship product is rooted in paying respects to our ancestors who paved the way for us. The Taíno were the indigenous people of the Caribbean, inhabiting Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, and the northern Lesser Antilles dating as far back as AD 1200. The African proverb illustrated as the Sankofa bird is “se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki.” Literally translated, this means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot”. Sankofa teaches us the importance of honoring our roots in order to move forward as enlightened. This is true of our African heritage and very much so in our indigenious roots as well. Through Taíno Spice, we celebrate the rich history, diversity, and melting pot of flavors that make up the Caribbean.
In particular, three ingredients we use in Taíno Spice were introduced to European cuisine as a result of voyages to the New World in the 15th - 16th century. Allspice (also known as pimento) is native to Jamaica. It contains the characteristic flavor and aroma of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper, all combined in one spice. Scotch Bonnet Pepper, also native to Jamaica, is like the sweet cousin of habanero - just as hot in spiciness with a fruity, floral taste mixed with notes of cherries, tomatoes, and apples followed by an intense, pungent heat. Sweet Spanish Paprika is native to North America (specifically Central Mexico), but it found its way centuries ago and is deeply ingrained into Caribbean cooking for its sweet flavor, full-bodied aroma, vibrant color, and versatility.