Day Three: Gourmet Safari
The next lucky stop: ‘Relish’, located in Limegrove. I was thrilled to experience their Gourmet Safari dinner menu specially designed for the Barbados Food & Rum Festival. Relish is a quirky, casual cafe – normally serving breakfast, lunch, coffee and drinks. Their theme for the evening: Rum Talk Food & Folklore Cocktails, was filled with rich Barbadian cultural influences represented throughout the menu. The staff at Relish was attentive, friendly and informative, providing us with a lovely first-time dining experience.
My gourmet safari experience began with their signature cocktail called the Corn N Oil Fizz, made with Falernum, Rum & Pomegranate Fizz – it was a bright, fruity, and effervescent treat. The Rum N Ginger Lemonade (also pictured below) was sprinkled with fresh ginger, adding an exhilarating punch to the cocktail.
Small Talk Plates: Designed to start d’talk
The Beach Lime Ceviche: Sea Cat, Shrimp & Scallops, marinated in coconut water and chilis, served with tortilla chips. The sour juice from the limes blended with the sweet notes of the tasty coconut water, creating a blissful serenade to the fresh sea cat, shrimp and meaty scallops.
Finger Licking “Corn N Oil” Chicken Wings: Served with Mac Pie Croutons and Breaded Fried Okra. The chicken wings were prepared with Falernum & Rum and deep fried in a thick breaded coating. The Mac Pie croutons were the hit for me from this dish – little macaroni pie balls, breaded, deep fried and garnished with pepper jack jelly. A Cheese Marriage to Jelly if there ever was one.
Big Talk: Designed to be talked about
Flying Fish Tacos: Served with Bajan Pepper Mayo, Pumpkin Salsa & Spicy Slaw. This gastronomic delight was the champion of the evening for me; hands down my prized possession! Soft taco shells filled with seasoned flying fish, fried to a perfect crisp, garnished with creamy avocado, papaya chutney, pumpkin salsa, and their signature Bajan pepper mayo – a powerful infusion of flavours was bursting from every bite.
Chicken Lollipops: Served with Mac Pie Croutons & String Beans. These juicy chicken lollipops were cooked with a heavenly Asian style sauce and garnished with peanuts. The nutty flavour mixed with honeyed taste of the sauce was a dreamy concept executed wonderfully. Yummm…
Day Four: Taste The Spirits of Polo
The Festival Finale: Taste The Spirits of Polo held Sunday afternoon began with a lively performance by the featured tuk band and their dancers, who moved smoothly through the crowd with their festive presentation. Next was the polo game which began about an hour after, where lots of spectators took their drinks and eats closer to the sporting action, cheering on and engaging with the players.
For the final showcase of the featured Barbadian Chefs and Mixologists, there was a thrilling anticipation in the air for everyone to begin their own culinary journey. Once again I am highlighting my top champions for the afternoon which were presented with flair, and more importantly, included a Bajan touch.
Mixologist Dameain Williams
Absolut Sunset Sangria: Absolut Pear Vodka, Cointreau Liqueur, Shiraz, Dimes Red Grape Juice, Mulled Wine Honey Tea, Simple Syrup, Fresh Lemon Juice, Limes, Lemons, Oranges, Grapes.
When I tell you this drink stole my heart from the beginning?! Literally the first cocktail I had the pleasure to taste was this Sunset Sangria which was a beautiful explosion of heart warming flavours.
Bajan Guava Cosmo: Absolut Mandarin Vodka, Absolut Vanilla Vodka, Triple Sec Liqueur, Guava Puree, Dimes Pomegranate Juice, Fresh Lime Juice, Falernum.
The cosmo was garnished with a dried five finger fruit – a delicate, pretty touch. The sweetness from the guava, pomegranate and vanilla vodka flawlessly combined for a tempting cocktail, satisfying my inner drink connoisseur.
Chef Paul Norville
The Smoked Snapper on a Sweet Potato Roti with Spiced Tomato Salsa: The snapper was perfectly cooked and served on thin, tasty sweet potato cakes, with a tangy burst of tomato salsa.
The Smoked Lamb on Breadfruit Cou Cou with a Plantain Crisp & Mint-Rum Sauce: The lamb was tenderly prepared, drizzled with a hearty gravy, served on top of a velvet-like cou cou. There was a sweet and sour element with the mint-rum sauce, and the crispy texture of the plantain added versatility to the dish.
Chef Marcel Clarke
Passion Fruit Ceviche with Sweet Potato and Barracuda was an absolutely gratifying joy. With hints of passion fruit and generous servings of barracuda, I relished in the creativity of the ingredients used. It was a refreshing perspective on a ceviche, especially by adding tiny cubes of sweet potato.
Breadfruit Parmesan Soup with Rum Braised Lamb and Bacon Jam. Who would’ve thought to cream breadfruit into a soup? Innovative ‘propa’ Bajan cuisine – a mellow soup laced with soft lamb and bacon jam was a wholesome, rich surprise filled with savoury flavours and fun textures.
Chef Javon Cummins and Chef Wayne Maynard
Passion Fruit Gazpacho & Smoked Barracuda was served on a bed of a pineapple and radish salsa. Freshly smoked to “order”, the intoxicating aroma created a lineup for this dish. The barracuda was tender to bite with a crispy skin. It paired perfectly with the zesty salsa and the cool, tangy passion fruit gazpacho.
Mixologist Cherie-Anne Charles
Watermelon Festival Swizzle: Watermelon juice infused with basil, ginger syrup, ESAF rum, and garnished with fresh basil and a spritz of ginger. Do I need to say more? This cocktail was everything I love about a signature drink – refreshing, fruity, excellent alcohol to chaser ratio, and each flavour was released as you continued to sip and get lost in your own cocktail fantasy…
Chef Alicia Olton
Lemon and Black Pepper Macaroons: I’m not a Macaroon person, but these light, little lemon treasures were also filled with a lemon frosting which I surprisingly liked, especially with the hint of black pepper giving a mild fiery kick! Creative!
Mango & Passion Fruit filled Drunken Chocolate Cupcake with Salted Chocolate Frosting: The salted frosting was my cup of tea when it came to this dessert. I love a sweet and a salty rendition any day.
Minted Mixed Berry Trifles with Bay Leaf, Nutmeg Cream & Champagne Espuma: My top pick of the three! The mint and the nutmeg! These two ingredients made this trifle shine with the fresh berries, which balanced the sweetness of the cream with the spongy texture of the cake.
Ultimately I had an amazing experience attending the Barbados Food & Rum Festival events, exploring the phenomenal talent we have in Barbados in the culinary and mixology industries. For next year’s festival I would love to see even more cocktails and dishes with unique ingredients to the Barbadian culture such as Bajan Cherries, Flying Fish, Sour Sop, Golden Apples, Gooseberries, Cassava and Eddoes. The champion dishes and cocktails which showcased the Barbadian Culture creatively for me were:
Braised Black Belly Lamb Shank by Chef Rhea Gilkes.
Ginger BBQ Pigtails with Spilt Pea Puree by Chef Damian Leach.
Mango & Scotch Bonnet Lionfish Ceviche by Chef Damian Leach.
Five & Five Punch made with Ackee liqueur by International Bar Chef Jamaal Bowen.
Spiced Mango Pineapple made with breadfruit crumble by Chef Jamal Whittaker.
Fresh From Countryside cocktail made with Guava puree by Mixologist Shane McClean.
The Smoked Lamb on Breadfruit Cou Cou with a Plantain Crisp & Mint-Rum Sauce by Chef Paul Norville.
Passion Fruit Ceviche with Sweet Potato and Barracuda by Chef Marcel Clarke.
Breadfruit Parmesan Soup with Rum Braised Lamb and Bacon Jam by Chef Marcel Clarke.
Bajan Guava Cosmo by Mixologist Dameain Williams.