. . . was the first overseas media event I have ever attended so naturally I was excited and bound to be blown away. Add to that the fact that I have never gone to the Caribbean and well, let’s just say I do realize how lucky I am. While one could say “geez Ali, you ate and drank in Barbados for a week, way to gloat!” I am also here to share what was a week loaded with experiences so you too can experience what I did.
My Barbados Food and Rum festival began with a lux party at a pretty lux beach side home. This first night set the tone for the food theme of the week: amuse bouche bites from Bajan chefs who were flexing their culinary skills. The flavors of the island which represents a melting pot cultures, was an experience I did not see coming either.
The flavors of South Asian food were as prevalent as the fresh fish I would eat for the the rest of my time there. Usually my overseas vacations mean eating Mexican food in Mexico(which I love,) but sinking my teeth into Bajan cuisine was equally as flavorful and reminded me of the cooking of my parents and their friends, albeit in a more refined manner and with superbly fresh seafood.
Well you can’t go to the Barbados Food and Rum Festival and not spend some time drinking rum. Our first day took us to the Mount Gay Rum Distillery where we did a proper tasting of rum served neat. This is probably why I took home a bottle of Mount Gay’s Eclipse but as I’m sure you can imagine, the birthplace of rum is teeming with other distilleries. Enter the rum route which was a bus tour of three distilleries plus karaoke. The rest of that evening was lively to say the least.
More info on the Rum Route tour here
My experience at the Barbados Food and Rum Festival peaked twice during my week long stay. Once was when I went snorkeling for the first time ever which also coincided with the first time I swam in the Caribbean(well floated). The other was this epic party. A few things to get out of the way: it starts 4am, you must wear yellow and you might get wet because it rains during October and it is so worth it. Honestly I don’t have any words I can share except one: GO!!!!
More info on the Rise and Rum party here
The last hurrah of the Barbados Food and Rum Festival is a black tie affair. Liquid Gold is as blingy as it gets and it’s fun for both tourists like myself and Bajans who get down in their finest threads. Like pretty much everywhere this year, it was a hot one Barbados but I kept my jacket on the whole night. And yes the suit is currently at the dry cleaners.
The food and drinks at Liquid Gold are the best showing of the whole festival. Both Rise and Rum and Liquid Gold showed off the Rum of Barbados through the lens of accomplished Mixologists. I walked way learning there is a lot more you can with rum than just a daiquiri.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the South Asian flavors kept coming through in these beautiful bites from these Bajan Chefs. But take into account that you aren’t saddled with the typical heaviness in volume and richness with a traditional serving of curry and rice or naan. When I think about where South Asian food is evolving in terms of fine dining in the US(most notably at The Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel), taking notes from these Bajan chefs would do wonders with fine dining and the aromatics of the Indian Subcontinent.
More info on Liquid Gold here
That covers the events but there are more posts coming including where I stayed, non food activities and of course the restaurants I experienced as well. For now I will leave you with this: Barbados is worth the flight, the culture of the Caribbean is a harmony of diversity and Bajans can get down with curry. I might have found the place I should retire . . . .