Every delectable plate of food has a story. From the hands that prepare it to the mouths that consume it, food is an experience.
When you try new foods, cocktails, or desserts, it’s like adding a new stamp to your culinary passport. But how do you add more?
We have the best recommendation…the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, which takes place from October 19th to 22nd 2023.
A Vibrant and Flavorful Food Scene
Barbados is known as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean as it is home to over 400 restaurants and eateries that would impress any foodie traveller. From the most vibrant street snacks and food trucks to acclaimed restaurants serving international cuisine, a meal in Barbados can be as casual or luxurious as desired. Local favourites include freshly caught fish, home-grown grass-fed meats, sweet plantains, rice and peas, macaroni pie and delectable West Indian curries and rotis.
The island is also proud to be the Birthplace of Rum and continues to provide the beloved beverage throughout the island.
Each year, the Barbados Food and Rum Festival continuously reflects this vibrant and flavourful culinary scene and celebrates the island’s rum heritage.
Discovering the Food and Rum Festival
The festival is like a foodie’s nirvana with four days of culinary events that showcase Barbadian and international culinary talent, unique food experiences, and the most exquisite rum cocktails.
But the fun isn’t just for four days; from as early as August the island ignites with several pop-up events in various local communities to get every foodie ready for the festival.
Unlike most festivals where all events are isolated to one spot, the events are set across the island of Barbados to truly create an authentic experience.
Though this is exciting, what truly makes the festival special is the focus on nurturing future culinary talent on the island. Under the theme “Feed the Future”, the Jr Chef Cook-Off Competition has made its return. Twelve students will go head to head over the course of eight weeks putting their culinary skills to the test. Then the final four will battle it out at the finals which will be held in front of a live audience for the first time.
So, with all that being said, here is what you can expect at the 2023 Barbados Food and Rum Festival
Community Pop Ups ( August 26th – October 7th)
The festival is where it all culminates but the community is the heart and soul of Barbadian cuisine. This year the community pop-up events have returned and will take you on a Journey through Barbados’ vibrant culinary. The locations are White Rabbit Bar, Fisherman’s Pub, Bathsheba and Worthing Square.
Learn all things food and rum at these two engaging, fun and informative talks. The discussions will be hosted by comedic duo Rum and Koke and held at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) theatre with bottomless rum punches included. The first talk on September 17th will be about Food from Then to Now: The Evolution of our Delicacies and the second talks will be on October 1st and will discuss Out of Sugar: Rum, Its History, Heritage and Future Prospects.
Oistins Under the Stars (Thursday, October 19th)
No one in the world can grill a fish like a Bajan and you can experience it at Oistins Under the Stars. This fish fry fuses Bajan cuisine with the rhythms of local entertainment.
Chef Classics (Friday, October 20th)
In these intimate cooking demos, you will discover the artistry behind the most exquisite cuisine and learn insider tips from Columbian Chef Juan Diego Vanegas at Colony Club, Food Network’s Chef Anne Burell at O2 Beach Resort & Spa or UK MasterChef Shelina Permalloo at Asian Spice, All Season Resorts.
Rum Route (Friday, October 20th)
Discover all the “Birthplace of Rum” has to offer onboard colourful party buses, touring West Indies Rum Distillery and Mount Gay Rum Visitor Centre. This one-of-a-kind experience includes cocktail making, rum tastings, rum shop stops, fun challenges, Bajan tradition games like dominoes, Bajan bites and even karaoke. The route starts and ends at BTMI Headquarters, Warrens.
Rise & Rum: The Breakfast Beach Party (Saturday, October 21st)
This is a premium all-inclusive breakfast beach party. Featuring award-winning chefs and mixologists, Rise & Rum: Breakfast Party is the type of party where you can grab your sunnies, sundresses and enjoy a mouth-watering spread of your fave breakfast delights on the beach. Plus expect more vibes this year with headline acts Leadpipe and Saddis featuring Skinny Fabulous. Remember to wear your sunrise yellow!
Bajan Fair (Saturday, October 21st)
This new event is 12 hours of non-stop fun, laughter and food! Imagine non-stop rides, market vendors with fresh produce, a rum shop village for the adults, live entertainment, and prizes being given away all day!
Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition (Saturday, October 21st)
This is the ultimate culinary showdown for the Festival! Four young chefs will go head-to-head to see who the next Junior Chef Champion will be. This year it’s higher stakes and bigger prizes so head to the De Bond, Kensington Oval and show our young chefs your support! The winner will receive BBD $3000 cash, a scholarship to the Caribbean Cuisine Culinary Institute plus an internship at the Crane Resort, one of Barbados’ premium fine dining restaurants.
Liquid Gold Feast (Sunday, October 22nd)
Featuring Afrobeats sensation Ayra Starr, this ultra-premium all-inclusive event will take you into a unique culinary realm. There will be award-winning chefs and mixologists, and the best entertainment. This is a black-tie grand finale event, so step out in your finest fits.
So, what to bring?
Vibes, stamina, and an empty stomach.
So secure your tickets NOW via www.foodandrum.com/buy-tickets/
By Rhe-Ann Prescod