Barbados will host its annual celebration of indigenous fine and fun cuisine from November 16 to 19. The eastern-most Caribbean island, Barbados was named after the bearded fig trees that once grew there abundantly. A British colony from 1625 until 1966, the country prides itself on being the birthplace of rum; the Mount Gay Distillery was established in 1703, and there are at least four outstanding local rums to be imbibed. Although formerly a producer of sugar, tourism has been the economic mainstay of Barbados for many years. Barbados is one of the most popular Caribbean holiday destinations, and remains a favourite with British sun seekers. Amongst the many tourist attractions which contribute to the country’s repeat visitor factor are the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, Harrison’s Cave and white sand beaches such as Crane Beach (voted one of the top ten beaches in the world). Bridgetown, the capital, is home to the world’s third oldest parliament, which has sat uninterrupted since 1639.
This rich backdrop enhances the four-day epicurean immersion to be had, sampling the abundance and variety of flavours that Barbados offers. The official festival launch takes place on November 16 at the historic fishing village of Oistins in Christ Church, where local chefs grill fresh fish under the stars. Also in Christ Church, on November 17, is the all-inclusive Concorde Rum Extravaganza. Whether one prefers a spiced and voluptuous tang or a sweet, tropical note, there are handcrafted rum cocktails for every palate alongside complementary hors d’oeuvres prepared by local chefs. National chefs participating in the 2017 festival include Henderson Butcher, Creig Greenidge and Top Chef for 2016, Damian Leach.
The Gourmet Safari Dinner Series from November 18 to 19 offers diners the eagerly anticipated opportunity to be treated to speciality menus prepared by international guest chefs. The first night sees Trinidad-born, Canada-based Chris De La Rosa whetting appetites at the Crane Resort in the eastern parish of St. Philip. Meanwhile, in St. James in the west, Jean-Georges Vongerichten from the U.S.A. will be cooking up a storm at the highly rated restaurant, The Cliff. Also on that day, the all-inclusive ‘Rum and Polo’ event at the exclusive Holder’s Polo Club in St. James awaits those up for taking in an exciting game of polo enhanced by delicious canapés and cocktails.
Chef Tom Aiken
The final night of the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, on November 19, sees Tom Aikens of the United Kingdom don his apron to delight guests at Tides restaurant, preparing a unique menu. The master chef has spoken of his anticipation, saying, “I am very excited to be working with the team at Tides restaurant, and to go back to Barbados after almost 15 years. It’s always a treat to be able to play with different local ingredients and produce, combine them with the local and magnificent Mount Gay rum and put together a menu. I am also really looking forward to spending some time re-acquainting myself with island life.”
Food-tasting stations and live musical performances will feature at the Feet in the Sand Beach Party, the festival’s all-inclusive climax to be held at Needham’s Point in the southwestern parish of St. Michael.
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. looks forward to welcoming one and all to the eighth edition of the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, and guarantees an unforgettable gastronomic holiday experience. See you there!
For more information on this year’s Food and Rum Festival visit visitbarbados.org/food-and-rum-festival