For the past decade, there’s been one particular weekend per year when the atmosphere in Barbados becomes even more magical than usual with the celebration of the annual Barbados Food and Rum Festival in Bridgetown. This year, from Thursday, October 24 through Sunday, October 27, guests experienced the bold and unique flavors of the Caribbean and beyond all in one place, while sampling the very best rums the world has to offer! Barbados is the birthplace of rum, after all.
Barbados is often referred to as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, making the festival’s hosting location perfectly suited. The incredible Barbadian weather and rich island culture are only additions to the one-of-a-kind experience. Regardless of the time of year, Barbados maintains its warm, tropical climate, with a steady breeze to combat scorching heat. Local chefs and mixologists along with international celebrity chefs who travel from far and wide in order to participate in the festivities shared their magnificently crafted culinary creations with food lovers from around the world. The four day festival serves as an incredible opportunity to sample the best of the best when it comes to unique flavors and bold recipes.
When it comes to rum, Barbadians are the absolute experts. Using local sugar cane to concoct a sweet and irresistible beverage boasting 40% alcohol content is simply an essential portion of Barbadian history. Since Barbados initially claimed its creation around 1650, the sugary delicious spirit has become a staple in the island’s culture. From samples of a variety of variations and flavors of rum, to incredible pairings, rum cocktails and even rum’s incorporation into cuisine, rum was most certainly found in nearly every corner at the 2019 Barbados Food and Rum festival.
The festival’s daily events were as follows:
Thursday, October 24:
6:00 PM-11:00 PM – Night Out in Oistins – Official Festival Launch
The festival was kicked off in the historic fishing village, Oistins. Guests experienced local chefs crafting culinary masterpieces under the Barbadian starts.
6:30 PM-10:00 PM – Dessert for Dinner – Cerulean Restaurant at Sea Breeze Beach House
A unique “dessert for dinner” experience like no other, guests satisfied their sweet tooth with a few extra helpings of sugar. They witnessed the bold, daring flavors crafted by internationally acclaimed pastry chef Simon Jerkins from the UK along with a celebrated local culinary team. On the menu was a selection of local bajan flavors deconstructed into irresistible sweets to result in the very best of both worlds.
Friday, October 25:
5:30 PM-10:00 PM – Gourmet Safari – Dine Around
For this event, festival-goers were encouraged to explore the local culinary selections around Barbados. Some of the best restaurants in the area came together with other acclaimed chefs to form fixed menus and unique creations especially for the 2019 Food and Rum Festival. Guests had the option to select from a variety of the best restaurants around the island and find the custom event that peaked their interest the most!
One guest, George Arango (@mr.eats305) chose Cocktail Kitchen as his restaurant of choice and noted his utmost satisfaction with the flavors and overall experience. “My favorite dish was the Smoked Black Belly Lamb Risotto with creamy roasted corn and goat cheese and parsnip crisps. It was packed with flavor! Plus, it was paired nicely with the rum Old Fashioned cocktail that was prepared for us. It was a nice night on the rooftop of the restaurant overseeing the beautiful Barbados Gap,” he recalls.
2:00 PM-10:00 PM – Food and Rum – Food Truck Mashup
Food trucks are an excellent way to dabble in the category of Barbadian home-cooked meals and street food. Local bajan favorites were prepared in small passenger vehicles and all brought to the same location for festival-goer’s convenience and enjoyment. Guests especially enjoyed trying out different food trucks to indulge in the creations of various chefs.
Saturday, October 26:
2:00 PM-10:00 PM – Food and Rum – Food Truck Mashup
At this event, guests were able to enjoy the very best Bajan mobile culinary experiences in one location.
Sunday, October 27:
6:00 PM-1:00 AM – Epicure – An Evening of Elegance
While some attended the festival for the magnificent eats, others had a different mouth-watering concoction in mind – rum! Guests could experiment with different notes and flavors as they took in the colorful musical event while sipping on their specialty rum cocktails. Local award-winning chefs accompanied the experience with absolutely delectable hand-crafted hors d’oeuvres.
George Arango (@Mr.Eats305) recalls of the experience, “My favorite dish of the night was prepared by Chef Nicholas Ifrill who followed his grandmother’s recipe of rice and shrimp that came out incredible. Chef Craig Harding made a fantastic pork belly with a tasty guava sauce on top that reminded me of Miami. International Award Winning Bartender, Phillip Antoine, entertained the crowd with the making of his delicious Smoke ‘x’ Tamarind cocktail. I loved how the cocktail was smokey and spirit forward. Overall, it was a great night bringing attendees together to celebrate this year’s festival and its 10 year anniversary.”
From Thursday through Sunday, each day brought new experiences and lifelong memories for festival-goers. These carefully coordinated events were an opportunity for attendees to submerge in Caribbean culture. They were greeted by live music and entertainment as a compliment to the entire adventure at this awe-inspiring festival. It appealed to all senses beyond just taste to create a colorful, all-encompassing experience to hold as a treasured cultural experience forever.
Hilton Barbados Resort is a gorgeous and accommodating location nearby the festivities to welcome guests during their visit to the 2019 Barbados Food and Rum Festival. Between festival activities, guests found themselves basking in the warm Caribbean sun with their toes in the sand, or exploring the countless amenities and beautiful views from the comfort of their hotel in their free time!