What is Cassava Farine?
Cassava is a mainstay in Caribbean cuisine. A long, starchy root vegetable, it featured prominently in the diets of the Amerindian people who populated the Caribbean before Christopher Columbus showed up.
In St Lucia, farine and cassava bread are two legacies of the Amerindian cuisine that have remained, and in many villages the cassava is still processed in traditional ways.
Where Does Cassava Farine Come From?
Plas Kassav’s small factory is open for guided tours, where visitors can see traditional methods used, watch Henry making the flat, brown cakes, and see them cooking in a traditional oven.
Activity at Plas Kassav begins early in the morning. The entire process, Wilson says, takes approximately six hours.
“We open about 7 am, clean up the building, and fetch the cassava, if there is no raw material. We used to grow it, but now we buy about 99 per cent,” Wilson explains.
“Sometimes the family wakes up about 5 or 6 am to start the peeling process, so when the workers come they can take over.
“After that we start the process to make farine. We grate the raw material in an automated grater, and from that you have to press it to extract the liquid in a screw press.
“You then sift the grated cassava and the parching begins in the big iron pot. You take the farine flour and make the cassava bread.”
The quantity depends on demand. On average, Plas Kassav sells over 100 cakes a day. St Lucian guest Tour and Trial