Around the World in 80 Plates: Cape Verde Islands

Captain Create has taken her balloon across the Atlantic to the Cape Verde Islands, 350 miles east off the coast of Senegal, Africa. They are very pretty islands with steep volcanic mountains, pretty blue water, and tasty food! These islands were colonized by Portuguese sailors as a stop during the peak of the slave trade, but now are a major tourist destination where people can hike, relax on the beach, or go fishing in the ocean.

Cape Verde is made up of 10 islands and 8 islets (itty bitty islands) and the national language is Portuguese even though they are an independent country and no longer owned by Portugal. Due to their diverse population of descendants of Italian traders, African slaves, and Portuguese traders, they love to play soccer, and eat food that is a mix of European and African flavors.

Since they are surrounded by ocean, they eat a lot of seafood, and mix it with traditional flavors of their ancestors. Fishing is big business, and if you ever get to take a trip there, you could hire a boat to take you out in the ocean to catch your dinner! Many people work in the tourism industry, since its a beautiful vacation destination for Europeans and Africans. While they may argue about which island is the favorite, they can all agree that Cachupa is the national dish of the Cape Verde Islands.

Cachupa is a rich stew of hominy, beans, seasoned meats and vegetables. Every family has their own version, and even within families, there are different variations, but all are fairly similar. Some families make them with only vegetables, some add seafood and others add seafood, meat and vegetables. It all depends on what is available and what they like to eat! You can try a pot of Cachupa with the recipe below, or mix things up and add your own favorites to it. We may not have easy access to fish and seafood in Utah like they have on the islands, but frozen fish can be brought to our mountain towns, and its pretty good in soup too!

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