Cape Verde with Teddy Goitom

Food & People

This week's photos of Food & People is by Teddy Goitom. Below is what Teddy has to say about the photos and his experience of Cape Verde.

I celebrated Carnival this past year in Cape Verde, an archipelago of islands off the coast of Western Africa. The country of Cape Verde is composed of ten islands and eight islets. I stayed in Mindelo, capital of the island of Sao Vicente, where residents boast about a Carnival that rivals that of Brazil.

Carnival in Cape Verde is an explosion of colors. Island residents don costumes and feathered headdresses. The festival is celebrated with a parade, and of course, with lots of food.

The island is strikingly beautiful and is the best kept secret of Africa. Mountains jut skywards from the ground, and slope down to the sea, which provides plentiful fish for the Cape Verdian diet.

You see many versions of the national dish, cachupa, a stew of hominy and beans with either fish or meat. In the morning, it is reheated for breakfast and called "cachupa frita," or fried cachupa.  With a fried egg on top and local sausage, it is a delicious and hearty way to start the day, especially during the frenetic festival.

Fish is a central part of the food culture. You can buy fish straight from the harbor and go to the nearest restaurant and have them cook it. It was fresh and delicious. On one instance, I brought a medium sized bluefish to a nearby restaurant, and only a little while later, I tasted the fish transformed into Calde de Peixe. The fish stew was a vibrant mixture of potatoes, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and of course, the fish that was only minutes from the water.

I can't wait to return to this incredible country. The taste of fresh fish lingers in my memory, willing me back to these mountainous islands.

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