Barbados is said to be the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Thus, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it is the home of one of the most anticipated epicurean events of the year: the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.
Every November, since 2010, big names in the food, wine, and rum industries gather in this island paradise for several days to share what they know and explore what’s new.
For the uninitiated, Barbados is more than just sand and sea. It is a country with a unique identity thanks to its diverse roots of English, African, and West Indian. These various influences are very much apparent in its cuisine. The country’s collection of destination restaurants is so impressive that Zagat even conducted surveys to come up with a catalog of the island’s best restaurants and night spots. It is the only island in the Caribbean that has its own Zagat guide.
Barbados is also the birthplace of rum. It has been over 350 years since this spirit was first produced from sugar cane that abound the island. And the locally produced Mount Gay Rum is the oldest brand of rum in the world. Rum has become an integral part of the people’s way of life, economy, and heritage that one can’t talk about Barbados without mentioning rum. Barbadians even have a national cocktail called the Barbados Rum Punch. Today, the island has more than 1,500 rum shops.
The Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival is now on its 4th year and it’s just getting bigger and bigger. This year’s celebration will kick off with two night parties: Oistins Night at the Oistins Bay Gardens on November 21st and Late Night at the Beach House at The Beach House in Sunset Crest on November 22nd.
The organizers have included Aaron McCargo, Jr., Marcus Samuelsson, Anne Burrell, Mark McEwan, and Jose Garces in the line up of international chefs who will grace the event and conduct cooking demonstrations at the Hilton Barbados Resort onNovember 23rd. Wine expert Josh Wesson will also be there to offer professional advice on wine pairings and just to help guests learn a little bit more about wine. There is also a Rum Cocktail Seminar that will be given by no less than the oldest rum brand’s ambassador, Chesterfield Browne.
Also happening on November 23rd are the Sizzle Street event at Queen’s Park and Ambrosia IV at the Lion Castle Polo Estate. Sizzle Street will feature authentic Bajan street food and local culture. Local vendors will get to show off their fares. There will be music, drinks, giveaways, cook offs, and more cooking demonstrations. Ambrosia IV is one of the most important events of the festival. It will feature a good number of international and local chefs who will each serve a signature dish. Guests will get to sample the finest food and drinks and dance the night away with a performance from one of Barbados’ local bands.
On November 24th, there will be a cooking demo with Aaron McCargo, Jr. and many other activities wherein kids can participate. Jose Garces’ cuisine can also be enjoyed by guests in a unique setting at The Cliff.
The festival will close on November 25th with an Indulgence Cruise and Rum Tour, which will allow guests to enjoy the best of what Barbados can offer.
For schedules and ticket prices for the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival, go to http://www.foodwinerum.com/.