Whether it was the fish fry at Anse La Raye or an evening of culinary decadence at the Rodney Bay Village Culinary Pavilion, there appears to be consensus that the return of the St Lucia Food and Rum Festival was long overdue.
Drawing on the island’s rich culinary heritage, the festival featured a wide array of culinary and rum experiences across three days with participating restaurants throughout the island featuring rum inspired Prix Fixe menus.
Patrons first indulged their appetites at the fish fry, the launch party, which offered rum tastings, rum inspired sauces paired with seafood and entertainment along the bay front.
The festival then went into full drive when Rodney Bay village was transformed into a ‘culinary pavilion’ that featured sampling booths from surrounding restaurants coupled with live entertainment.
That same night, patrons ventured to the celebrity dinner that featured a successful collaboration between the island’s national culinary team and award-winning chef, restaurateur and television personality, Marcus Samuelsson. Together they presented a Saint Lucian twist to Chef Samuelsson’s Obama state dinner.
The main attraction of the festival though was the inaugural Caribbean Rum Awards that showcased the diversity and quality of rum.
It was a collaboration with Caribbean Journal which has been sampling rums from Caribbean and international distillers last year. A team of nine judges, engaged in a series of blind tastings that covered six categories.
Barbados’ Doorly’s Macaw was voted the Best White Rum while Guyana’s El Dorado 12 was named Best Rum.
The Best White Rum Agricole went to Martinique’s Rhum Neisson Bio 52.5; the Best Rum Agricole to Rhum JM VO; the Best Spiced Rum to Florida’s Siesta Key Spiced Rum and St Lucia’s Bounty Premium Gold won Best Gold Rum.
The festival culminated with a culinary fair, which showcased the tempting creations of restaurateurs, chefs and rum makers. The open-air festival featured sampling booths, live cooking demonstrations, rum tastings and a power-packed live concert featuring the soulful sounds of R&B legend Freddie Jackson and the Soca rhythms of Teddyson “TJ” John.
“The collaborations were key to the success of the festival, providing both a platform for skills transference, mentorships and a sublime showcase of Saint Lucia’s culinary excellence.
We believe the partnerships forged will only serve to further develop our product by elevating Saint Lucia.” Executive Chairperson of the St Lucia Tourism Authority Agnes Francis said.