“When you have the privilege of dining with some flying fish and cuckoo, pudding and souse, cassava pone, great cake, sugar cakes, rum, mauby, and lemonade, you’re are partaking in the centuries-old cultural traditions of our Barbados heritage.”
The words of greeting of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) chairman Alvin Jemmott at the launch of the sixth year of the Food & Wine And Rum Festival on Wednesday night at Fairmont Royal Pavilion.
Jemmott told a group of hoteliers, real estate agents and tourism industry officials of a proud diverse mix of food options –– “from the fine dining restaurants, to the bars, the roadside vendors serving fast and slow food, and all between that . . . . Barbados is a foodie’s delight”.
This year’s festival runs from November 19 to 22, and will feature international chefs, mixologists and other connoisseurs putting out dishes and drinks, while talking about wine and rum for the benefit of local and overseas-based foodies.
Jemmott said that an aim of the festival was to give visitors a unique experience of Barbados.
“. . . Tales of taking a $2 bus to that spot off the beaten path and whittling down a bread-and-two with some Extra Old and Coke; that makes Barbados special to repeat and prospective visitors . . . . These are the stories that we want to tell . . . .
So join us in creating a narrative around this festival.”
The BTMI chairman said industry research had indicated that the trend among visitors of wanting to live like a local “has barely scratched the surface . . . . It bodes well for community tourism”.
Added Jemmott: “With the niche market of culinary tourism, we believe we can move closer to truly establishing Barbados as a year-round destination.”
Executive vice president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Sue Springer, declared: “The Food & Wine And Rum Festival is a celebration of the Barbadian culinary landscape . . . . We are the culinary capital of the Caribbean.”
Springer spoke of delivering “unforgettable” experiences to locals and visitors.
“There is a fresh look to the programme this year and will involve more of our member hotels hosting some of the top chefs from around the world.”
Noting that the festival marked the one-year anniversary of the BTMI, chief executive officer William Griffith pointed out that the organization’s mandate was to increase visitor arrivals, with a long-term vision “to promote the diverse Epicurean experience of the island, at the same time serving to expose and develop the great skill of our local chefs”.
He said the BTMI had upped the ante on global marketing strategy for the festival this year, and teams in the Caribbean, Britain, Canada, and United States are set to host launch events, “beginning with a Bajan invasion media event at the Red Rooster in New York on September 17, hosted by chef Marcus Samuelson, and showcasing several of our local chefs”.
This it to be followed by similar events in Toronto, Trinidad and London.