There’s no dedicated Trinbagoan grocery in Ottawa, but there are a lot of Caribbean stores that carry products from Trinidad and Tobago! Both Kool Runnings and GB Caribbean Grocery had some finds.

Mauby – This is actually a Canadian-made brand of mauby, but I’m keeping my eyes open for imported Trinidadian brands like Mauby Fizzz. Mauby is a sweet drink, sometimes carbonated, sometimes fermented, made with bark from the mauby tree as well as other spices. The first sip is sweet and reminds me of gingerbread, with a very bitter and slightly vegetal aftertaste. Apparently it’s considered an acquired taste because of the bitterness, but I like it – it’s got the same kind of bitterness as bitter melon.

KC Candy Mango Chilli ChowChow is a Trinidadian dish of fruit, often unripe mangoes, with chilies and spices (it seems spiritually related to last month’s papaya salad). These little hard candies aim to replicate the flavour of chow – they start with a sweet and sour mango flavour, then some nice chili spice kicks in. I really like these, they’ve got some heat to them.

Charles Cheers – Cheers look a LOT like Smarties – they’re more brightly coloured, more like the Smarties I remember as a kid in the 90s. Cheers are pretty good, it’s a different chocolate – kind of reminds me of advent calendar or Easter bunny chocolate.

Addendum: I found the mauby I was looking for at M&J Tropical Supermarket!

Mauby Fizzz – Compared to the other mauby I tried, this one is less intense – it’s both less bitter and less overtly sweet – there’s the same lingering bitter herbal aftertaste though. The spice mix here is more subdued, there’s a nutmeg/cola-ish flavour, and I can also taste aniseed. It’s not bad!

PeardraxPeardrax (and its less popular sibling, Cydrax) was originally introduced in the UK in the 1960s century, but didn’t have staying power and completely stopped being sold there by 1988. However, it remains immensely popular in Trinidad and Tobago, so much so that all production of the drink moved to Trinidad after the UK business shut down, and in 2017 the company became Trinidadian-owned. It’s a fizzy pear-flavoured pop, almost more like carbonated pear juice. It’s got a very real pear taste, and it’s nice on it’s own, but it goes amazingly with dark rum.

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