This was my first time attending the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, and I have to express a huge thank you to the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. for having me. This is my foodie review on Days One & Two of the Festival.
The opening: ‘Night Out In Oistins’.
A fun family affair, with Bajan cultural influences including a live tuk band presentation where dancers encouraged the crowd to participate and enjoy themselves. Adults and children joined in and danced with the performers, creating their own moves to the energetic sounds of the Caribbean music. There were two live demonstrations, beginning with Chef Creig Greenidge who prepared a smooth shrimp curry with a spicy kick. The dish included coconut milk, and sweet chilli, which he flambéed with rum and served samples to the crowd with basmati rice and peas.
The second demonstration was by Mixologist Cherie-Anne Charles, who created her Signature Cocktails: Rosemary Cucumber Delight, which was an effervescent dream, and her Roasted Summer Squash – a very creative twist, satisfyingly delicious. The night concluded with live entertainment from Bajan artistes, while families heartily indulged in some great fresh seafood from the vendors at Oistins.
The second night: ‘Taste The Exotic: A Signature Rum Event’
Local chefs and mixologists showcased their talents on Friday night at Limegrove. I loved how each dish was paired with a cocktail as your personal expertise guide to heighten your culinary experience. Your taste buds were taken on an appetizing journey. I am sharing my favourite cocktails and culinary dishes from the evening (in tasting order), which made a huge impression on my taste aesthetic.
Five & Five Punch: Doorly’s 3 year Old White Rum, Lime Juice, Kaiso “Special Edition” Ackee Liqueur infused with Fresh Mint & Thyme. Garnished with Bay Leaf and Accented with Kola Tonic Bitters by International Bar Chef Jamaal Bowen.
Awakening my taste buds for the evening was the Five & Five Punch. An exquisitely crafted cocktail which was fruity, yet not too sweet. The hint of the ackee liqueur celebrated a unique flavour to Barbados. Garnished with Mango Pearls which were a joyful delight to pop in my mouth – my kind of cocktail – fun and impressive.
Thad Thai Soup: A cheeky twist on Thai Basil Soup extracting key elements such as Coconut, Lime Leaf, Basil with an addition of pink Peppercorns and spices in the form of Doorly’s 3 Year Old by Mixologist Thaddeus Sealy.
An Asian delight. A creatively concocted cocktail made my Thailand vacay dreams come through. A breath of fresh air, which sparkled with its festive red and green garnishing; it twas a sweet reminiscent of the upcoming Christmas holidays.
Braised Black Belly Lamb Shank with a Goat Cheese and Corn Caramel with Fresh Corn Puree by Chef Rhea Gilkes.
The smooth goat cheese filling melted in my mouth with the fresh, creamy corn puree. The ingredients blended seamlessly together with the tender belly lamb shank, and danced a medley in my mouth.
Smoked Rabbit with Pumpkin and Pesto, Barley Risotto by Chef Rhea Gilkes.
This presentation was absolutely phenomenal. Served in a traditional Asian Takeout Container, each dish was infused with smoke which infiltrated the meal. As you opened your special box, an aroma of smoke escaped into the atmosphere. Tasting the fluffy risotto and moistly prepared smoked rabbit, each bite was a savoury treat.
Ginger BBQ Pigtails with split pea puree & spiced pineapple chutney by Chef Damian Leach.
Chutney? Pigtails? Pureed split peas? That spells an A++ for me. Sweet, tangy, savoury, lip-smackingly good! With the meat falling off the bone and the smooth puree absorbing the sauce and juices from the meat, this blended happily with the spiced pineapple chutney… I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Mango and Scotch Bonnet Lionfish Ceviche: Lionfish marinated in citrus with fresh mango, cilantro, red onion, scotch bonnet & breadfruit crisps by Chef Damian Leach.
I’m a ceviche girl, tasting lionfish for the first time, and relishing the Bajan touch of a breadfruit crisp. The lionfish was sweet, and the tangy flavours of the mango naturally gelled together effortlessly. The only thing I wanted was a few more crisps!
Pumpkin Suga Darling: A fusion within fusion, spiced rum, raisins, the blend of flavours of coconut, pumpkin liqueur & a homemade orange cinnamon essence by Mixologist Antonio Busby.
Garnished with raisins soaked in rum, this richly flavoured dessert cocktail was the perfect choice for persons who aren’t too ‘oh fey‘ with traditional desserts. A little alcohol made this drink shine even brighter.
Spiced Mango Pineapple with a Breadfruit Crumble & Coconut Rum Cream by Chef Jamal Whittaker.
Tart Pineapples and Sweet Mangoes dressed in the silky coconut rum cream spoke to my soul. As the crunchy breadfruit crumble hit my taste buds, the dynamic combination exploded like fireworks to my inner foodie.
Braised Lamb with whipped potatoes and yams, truffle oil, garlic mushrooms, and guava jus by Chef Michael Harrison.
Texture: As delicate and smooth as velvet. Taste: Mouth-watering, Hearty, Delectably Satisfying. The moist texture of the lamb and the whipped potatoes and yams, matched with the warming flavours of the mushrooms, truffle oil and sweet hint of guava jus.
Fresh From Countryside: Guava Puree, Spiced Rum, Fresh Mint, Ginger Syrup, Lime Juice, Topped with Soda Water by Mixologist Shane McClean.
Guava, ginger and fresh mint harmoniously danced on my palate to a refreshing beat. After indulging in the rich braised lamb, this cooling drink paired perfectly as suggested by the Food & Rum guide.
Herbal Seafood Corn Meal Dumplings topped with Creole Salt Fish, Shrimp Stew & Toasted Bread Crumbs by Chef Creig Greenidge.
An Orgasmic combination if there ever was one. A soft corn meal dumpling swam in a rich shrimp stew which was topped with the crunchy bread crumbs, molded famously together as a successful match.
I ended the evening with the ‘Espresso Bang’ created by Wyndhams. Blended with their roasted specialty coffee beans to create their fresh espresso, mixed with falernum, milk, rum, and ice. I thoroughly enjoyed my coffee “night cap” to cleanse and close my palate for the night.
My overall experience of indulging in a tasteful, diversified presentation of cuisine and cocktails displayed by some of our country’s best professionals is one I will always treasure. Meeting some of the chefs and mixologists opened a whole new appreciation I have for their professions. Day 3 & 4 Festival Reviews are up next!