A Haitian fresco with peanuts
Forewarning: Today, there won’t be an actual recipe with this article. I will tell you which fresco flavor is my favorite, and how I eat it. That’s about all you will get from me. There won’t be any syrup making from scratch. I promise, there’s a reason for it.
But first, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
We’re off to my fifth birthday party. The one and only birthday party my parents ever threw me, according to their say. My souvenirs tell otherwise. But perhaps, I had such a great time then that in my child’s mind I committed it as a sign that I always had parties. That’s a debate for another day, however.
Today, we will stick to the highlight of this celebration: the fresco bar.
I remember it as if it had happened yesterday. My parents had just built a barbecue area in our backyard. In honor of my birthday, they had turned the newly-built brick counter into a fresco station. On it, they had lined up different flavors of syrup, an ice shaver and an ice block.
Yep, they had stuck with the Haitian tradition of manually shaving the ice.
Red, green, white, flavor requests were pouring from everywhere. It’s as if every single child, but me, had set out to try every single syrup flavor available. As for me, I stuck to only one: red. I wanted each of my fresco cups to be filled with red syrup and peanuts. I had just discovered that flavor combination. And I loved it.
To this day, red remains my favorite. But it is not really called red.
While, all the kids referred to those flavors by their color, they each actually have a name. My favorite, red is grenadine. The green one is peppermint. The clear white, anisette. And the cloudy white is our sirop d’orgeat.
Though, I can probably tell you what the other four flavors are made of, I simply cannot do the same for the grenadine. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a recipe which tastes like the sirop grenadine I grew up with. No one in my entourage has a definite answer on which fruit is at the base of that flavor.
Online searches talk about pomegranate. But I tried that route, already. It didn’t work. It simply didn’t taste quite the same. And for that, I chose to stick with prepared sirop grenadine. When I don’t have any at hand, I use our grenadine extract. We have always had a bottle on our shelves. A few drops in some syrup is all it takes to get our Haitian sirop grenadine. And that, dear readers, is the real reason why I am not sharing a recipe with you today. I simply wouldn’t know how to prepare some grenadine syrup from scratch.
Haitian Fresco with peanuts, a delightful shaved ice treat
In Haiti, fresco is shaved ice drizzled with a thick and sweet syrup that comes in different flavors. Among these flavors are anisette, menthe, sirop d’orgeat and the sirop de grenadine, my favorite. As a child, I ate it with grilled peanuts. Below you will find that simple and quick recipe for a fresco lakay that will sure cool your hot summer days.
- Grenadine Syrup
- Haitian Grilled Peanuts
Shave the ice and fill one cup
Drizzle grenadine syrup (generously, the more the merrier)
Add a handful of grilled salted peanuts
Enjoy & Cool off.