Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Food + Wine + Rum = Fun in Barbados

From the woman who sells the Trinidadian treat known as “doubles” outside the Trimart supermarket; to the fresh seafood at Oistins Fish Market; the local produce, meats and poultry of the Cheapside market; and restaurants known for their refined versions of traditional Bajan fare, Barbados has a lot to offer food lovers. Not to mention Barbados is the only
Caribbean island to have its own Zagat guide.

Chef Tom Colicchio (right) chatting with Nilou Motamed (left), editor of Travel + Leisure magazine.

So it is with this backdrop that the folks at American Express Publishing and Food + Wine magazine presented the first, "Barbados Food + Wine & Rum Festival," November 19-22. The event held throughout the island included cooking demonstrations and special meals with celebrity chefs such as Tom Colicchio, Ming Tsai and Marcus Samuelsson; wine demonstrations with expert Anthony Giglio; and cruises with food and drink as its central theme. All of it washed down with large amounts of rum--the sugarcane based drink believed to have first been distilled in Barbados.

Chef Ming Tsai signing a book for a fan.

Local food experts played a major role. Peter Edey, Caribbean chef, editor television show host; and John Hazzard, co-owner and executive chef of Marketfive restaurant were among local food experts who held cooking demonstrations and food tastings. This was a program for locals to get to know the International celebrity chefs and for tourists to learn more about island food and drink.

Maria Ling DeMarco (who contributed to this story) with chef Marcus Samuelsson.

Philly and the World attended the opening night “Moonlight Magic” party at the Hilton Barbados. It was an outdoor event with live Caribbean music and plenty of food. On the beach a tent was set up where Colicchio, Tsai and British chef Fergus Henderson signed copies of their books for attendees.

The gnocchi station.

Hilton chef Angela Garroway-Holland led the food service with recipes from the visiting chefs. Local favorites such as Bajan fishcakes shared the night with Asian-influenced kimchee pork belly buns and Italian-themed gnocchi with sundried smoked tomato pesto. There were petite filet mignon, pepper-crusted roast beef and grilled prawns with watermelon and guava coulis. Robert Mondavi had a strong presence in the wine booth. Women from Banks, the local brewery, were serving draft and the bar featured, what else? Rum.

Petite filet

The blue and white backlit dessert table created a frosty appearance on the warm Caribbean night. The obvious standout visually was a pyramid made of profiteroles (left). There was a display of molasses brulee (below), an island twist on the traditional French dessert, topped with local brown sugar. And there were small replicas of rum bottles made of white chocolate.

There were many members of American Express Publishing in attendance led by Ed Kelly, president and CEO, Christina Grdovic, Food + Wine publisher, and Nilou Motamed, editor of Travel + Leisure magazine. Richard Sealy, Barbados minister of tourism, welcomed guests touting the island’s reputation for hospitality.

White chocolate rum bottles

As Sealy noted, this is not a one-off deal. The next event will be held November 18-21, 2011.

Prawn station