The smooth, sweet jam—literally melting into my warm bread—turned out to be a revelation. With its multiple Hermès boutiques and yacht-filled harbor, one tends to forget that tiny St. Barths is in the West Indies, not the Côte d’Azure. But in that one bite of coconut jam on baguette, it all came together. St. Barths is an island that was colonized by the French in the 18th century. Its harsh soil meant it wasn't much good for agriculture, but its deep-water harbor made it a natural trade port, filling the markets with sugar cane, citrus, and plants imported from Pacific colonies, like coconut, which thrived under the Caribbean sun—not to mention wheat flour so that the French expatriates could bake loaves of the bread that reminded them of home.