JM | Aug 5, 2022

Celebrate Jamaica 60th with some traditional Jamaican treats

Mikala Johnson

Mikala Johnson / Our Today


When it comes to sweet treats and desserts, Jamaica without doubt holds its own. There are so many sweet treats out there that truly are delightful to try. How about having some of these treats this Independence. You can even take it up a notch and try and make some of these delicious treats yourself.


Gizzada is a flavourful Jamaican dessert consisting of a crisp pastry shell with a pinched crust filled with a sweet and savory coconut filling. Its distinct pinched crust, contributes its other name (pinch-me-round). Although gizzada is very popular throughout Jamaica, it is believed that this sugary treat is also a part of Portuguese cuisine. Jamaica’s Caribbean neighbour, Trinidad, also has a similar treat called coconut tart.

Coconut Drops

Coconut Drops, more popularly known as drops, is a traditional Jamaican treat that’s made from fresh coconut that is cut into small pieces, sugar (usually brown sugar) fresh ginger and water. The snack is very popular with young and older Jamaicans alike. The name of the treat comes from the way that drops are made by dropping a hot mixture of diced coconut, ginger, spices and sugar mixture onto a flat surface (traditionally banana leaf) to cool.

Grater Cake

Jamaican Grater Cake is not really a cake, it is actually a traditional treat/candy. This treat manages to be sweet, rich and creamy all at the same time. The dessert is called Grater Cake because the coconut is grated but it also goes by other names such as sugar cake and pink on top. When made correctly, the treat usually has a thin crusty outside with a tender, pliable and gently chewy inside.

Freshly grated coconut, granulated sugar and red or pink food colouring are the main ingredients. Grater cake is known as grater brute when wet brown sugar is used instead of regular white sugar.

Peanut Cake

This traditional treat is one of Jamaica’s favourite that is loved by both the young and old. This is a sugary, crunchy treat that brings your taste buds to life. Peanut Cake is commonly seen balanced on the heads of vendors in towns all across the island. It is made from grown peanut, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and, of course, some brown sugar.


Asham is a brown powdery sweet treat that is made from parched grounded corn. Asham was much more popular in days gone by, but remains one of Jamaicans’ favourite snacks to have. Asham is made by shelling dry corn kernels (seeds) from the cob. There are vendors who still make and sell Asham but it is not as popular as the other snacks.

Stagga Back

Stagga Back is a traditional Jamaican candy that is also called Bustamante Backbone or Busta. It’s a hard candy made of wet sugar, coconut, ginger, and lime juice. Stagga Back requires some form of strength to work your jaws to completely chew it out. Children loved this rock hard sweet that has been around for ages and was easily accessible at any corner shop, but is not as popular these days. Yes, this candy was named after national hero Sir Alexander Bustamante.


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