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Barbados - Food, Wine and Rum Festival

Marcus Samuelsson at Food, Wine, & Rum Festival

For four days in November, Barbados hosts one of its most talked about events of the island; the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival. The festival allows you to experience the beauty of the island, exquisite food, drinks and mingle with some of the most highly acclaimed chefs of the cooking world. With numerous events to choose from it’s hard to select an event as you don’t want to miss anything. The festival includes a wide range of events from cooking demonstrations, dinners, wine tastings, tours and parties. Urban Navigator traveled to Barbados to partake in a few of the festival events and found each event to be rewarding in its own right.


Opening Act


Located on the roof of the newly developed Limegrove Lifestyle Centre under white linen tents with iridescent lighting and calypso music playing in the background you will find the official kick off party of the weekend. The Opening Act is where you get a chance to meet the chefs and purchase your signed copy of their most recent cook book. Urban Navigator got a chance to meet world renowned Chef Marcus Samuelsson and purchase his latest cook book, “New American Table”. While you rub elbows with your favorite chef you will also enjoy a variety of hors d’oeuvre, wine, and rum. The Opening Act definitely set the tone for the remainder of the festival.


Ambrosia II


If you consider yourself a fan of the cooking world or a big foodie, then Ambrosia at the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival is the event for you. By far the best event of the weekend as you taste more food, wine, and rum than your taste buds can image. All the guest chefs are in attendance and have created a dish for everyone to enjoy. 


The event is located at the Lion Castle Polo Estate with an ambiance that looks and feels regal. Upon entry to the event guest are given a wine glass that fits perfectly into the buffet plate that will hold all your food for the night. Guest hop from food station to food station indulging in dishes from local Bajan chefs and culinary creations from guest chefs. Highlighted dishes of the evening included maple glazed duck atop a sweet cornbread muffin by chef Tom Brodi, a crostini topped with lamb bolognese and mint ricotta by chef Mark McEwan, and of course the fried and grilled marlin by local Bajan chefs from Oistins. The wines of the evening were great but the drink that topped it all was the rum punch filled with Mount Gay Rum at chef Paul Yellin’s table.


If you don’t get a chance to experience the rest of the festival, it’s ok because thanks to Ambrosia you get a chance to experience it all in one place.....food, wine, and rum.


Oistin’s Fish Fry


Everyone that travels to Barbados must experience Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry to get an authentic taste of the island. A 30 minute cab ride from most Barbados hotels lies Oistins, a place swamped with locals ready to start the weekend. In Oistins you will find rum shacks, grills, music, dancing and people hanging out.


Once you arrive to Oistins the first thing to do is to decide which brightly colored wooden building to eat from. It will be hard to make a decision, because it all smells delicious. The most talked about grill in the area is Uncle George’s Fish Fry Grill. Besides spotting the sign you know you are in the right place due to the extremely long line wrapped around the grill.


The menu on the chalkboard consists of marlin, shrimp, salmon, lobster, fish pie, and mac pie.Once your order is placed the chef puts your food on the grill and chars it to perfection. Take a seat at the wooden table and sink your teeth in! The food is priced fairly as you are given tons of food. The lobster which is $125 BBD (about $63 USD) is so large that it hangs off your plate. The marlin and shrimp plate are also a nice proportion as the shrimp are jumbo. To complete the meal wash it down with a Banks Beer, the official beer of Barbados. It gets no more authentic than this.......Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry.


When to go: November


Where to stay:  The Fairmont Royal Pavilion Barbados


What to do: Attend all Food Wine and Rum Festival events


Where to eat: Uncle George’s 

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