Barbados celebrates its 50th year of Independence on 30th November, and just before the celebrations began I took a trip over to the island to report on the Food and Rum Festival which is an annual event.
Breakfast at The Crane – Lunch at (and Rum) at Mount Gay – Dinner 150ft under the sea!
Breakfast at the Crane included true option of a full English breakfast but with a Bajan twist. Omelettes, bacon, chicken sausages, pork sausages, all made with island produce, and the opportunity of a selection of home produced fruit, simply mouth watering.
Off to the Mount Gay Factory where a tour of the premises inclusive of short film and taster session with 5 – yes 5 – different rums followed. But it was lunch at Mount Gay which topped the event off for me. A choice of baked Marlin or Chicken, pumpkin fritters, home grown vegetables, and a tossed salad (I left the carbs out, but the rice looked exceptional).
After all that rum it was necessary to have something to eat.
Dinner took place on the Barbados Atlantis Submarine 150ft under the sea with Chef Jason Howard providing the culinary delights; too many to mention, but from red cabbage infused rice, to picked tuna, avocado salad with plantain chips, mixed salad, crab salad, and a dessert inclusive of islands fruits all washed down with the local rum punch and a non-alcoholic cocktail which I needed to take the sting out of the spice but gorgeous salad.
The Agapey Chocolate Factory – so the word chocolate made its entrance! Not the immediate thought that came into my mind when I was on the island but an extremely enlightening visit. Derrick Hastick, owner and founder of Agapey chocolate, is extremely passionate about chocolate and conducts a tour of the factory complete with tasters of each type of chocolate available by Agapey. The demonstration started from the cocoa bean to the finished packet, and there were many samples of chocolate.
This personally owned business that supplies chocolate across the Caribbean region and may areas of America and Canada
Food, Rum and Whining at The Concorde Centre
This is where the main chefs participating in the Festival conducted demonstrations and created culinary infusions of herbs and spices. Each station housed at least 4 members of staff who cooked before your very eyes and presented modest – but very nice tasting – portions of food. The wine stations were flowing, as were the Cockspur, Mount Gay, St Nicholas Abbey and Four Square Rum stations – needless to say I stuck to wine and water!!
Sunday commenced with Breakfast/Brunch at the guest hotel greeted with gospel singing. For those who preferred to not attend church, there’s the option to enjoy breakfast in the company of a gospel choir providing the spirit as you ate. From old faithfuls, to spirituals, to modern gospel and even classical opera, Gospel Brunch gave the Sunday a true heart felt kick start to the day.
Thank you BTMI
The Food and Rum Festival opens eyes to Caribbean cooking and fine caribbean dining. The culinary options are endless and being able to create dishes with the staples of chicken, fish, veal, shellfish whilst adding and including herbs, spices, even rum and including ingredients which probably wouldn’t be at the forefront of your mind truly opens your mind up to look past the traditional rice and peas – which we love and always will love – but there is so so much more.
Thanks to the BTMI and Crane resorts for the experience.