The 2019 Barbados Food and Rum Festival got off to an unofficial start last evening when Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) hosted the first pop-up at Copacabana to promote the event.
Director of Marketing at the BTMI Robert Chase told Barbados TODAY the pop-ups have become increasingly popular since they were introduced in 2017, and this year they will be held every month until October.
“It’s our way of saying thank you for supporting the Food and Rum Festival,” Chase said.
Last night’s event featured a mixology competition and a rum identification competition, where patrons were asked to guess the identification of four different brands. The main prize was dinner for two at the Rum Vault at Colony Club in St James.
“We’re giving everybody a chance to try their hand at what our tremendously talented chefs and mixologists do year in, year out and [how they] win prizes all across the globe. [For example], Chef Javon Cummins from Tapestry Restaurant, which is part of the Elegant Group, recently won in Washington, the Ambassadors competition where chefs from all across the various countries were challenged. He came out first with the Golden Pineapple Award,” Chase said.
Chase also disclosed that the BTMI will be adding a new feature to this year’s festival, which is scheduled for October 24-27.
“We’re gonna have a food truck event where we’re going to block off part of Bay Street, and we’re going to have all the food trucks across Barbados that are interested come out and demonstrate the street food experience that Barbados has to offer. So we’ll give locals and visitors a chance to experience all the different street food and food truck experiences that Barbados has to offer,” he said.
The BTMI has been seeking to attract more locals to the Food and Rum Festival over the years. Chase explained that this is in an effort to promote greater interaction between locals and visitors, while boosting visitor interest in local activities.
“How we see it is that tourism in Barbados is really about locals and visitors interacting together; we recognise that the visitors want to go where locals go. So it’s not necessarily that we’re targeting locals, but we recognise that we have to create events that locals are interested in, and then visitors almost invariably will flock to that. Because the traveller of today really wants to know what the person in that country likes,” Chase said.
Mount Gay Rum, Barbados’ oldest brand, will be among those featured at the upcoming festival. Brand Ambassador Chesterfield Browne shared with patrons the story of Barbados rum, and said they can expect a new special edition later this year to add to its offering of five brands which includes Silver, Eclipse, Black Barrel, XO, and 1703.
“Every year, Mount Gay will be bringing out a new special edition rum. So the one you can look forward to this year coming up in September will be called Pot Sill, and that will be a ten-year-old rum made from just a pot still distillate,” Browne said.
Browne has won numerous accolades for his craft locally, regionally and internationally. (MCW)