PRESS RELEASE – THE Saint Lucia Food & Rum festival marked its return with a proof of concept pilot held from January 12-14. The festival featured a wide array of culinary and rum experiences across three days, drawing on the island’s rich culinary heritage with participating restaurants throughout the island featuring rum-inspired Prix Fixe menus over the weekend.
The Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum Cocktail Challenge showcased the talent and creativity of the island’s best mixologists as they competed for glory and the rights to create the island’s first signature cocktail.
The inaugural Caribbean Rum Awards were a central point of the festival. The awards were curated by Caribbean Journal, with a team of nine judges, through a series of blind tastings that covered six categories which celebrated the deep history and excellence of Caribbean rums.
The Friday night’s “Fish Fry” in the village of Anse La Raye became the grounds for the festival’s launch party, offering rum tastings, rum-inspired sauces paired with seafood and first-class entertainment along the bayfront.
The celebrity dinner featured a brilliant 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 Rodney Bay Village hosted an evening of culinary decadence with the “Rodney Bay Village Culinary Pavillion”, featuring sampling booths from the surrounding restaurants coupled with live entertainment which transformed the street into a mini-food fair.
The festival culminated in “The Main Course”, a culinary fair which showcased the delectable 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 pulsating 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,” said Executive Chairperson of the SLTA, Agnes Francis.
The festival attracted thousands of patrons and over a dozen international journalists representing 20 publications across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe, who all lauded the festival’s unique blend of experiences.
Caribbean Rum Awards Winners
White Rum: Best White Rum — Doorly’s Macaw (Barbados), Double Gold — Bounty Premium White Rum (Saint Lucia), Gold — Brugal Special Extra Dry (Dominican Republic)
Best Rum: Best Rum — El Dorado 12 (Guyana), Double Gold — 1931 by St. Lucia Distillers (Saint Lucia), Gold — Chairman’s Reserve, The Forgotten Casks (Saint Lucia).
Best White Rhum Agricole: Best — RhumNeisson Bio 52.5 (Martinique), Double Gold — Rhum Dillon Ti’ Fle’ Ble’ (Martinique), Gold — Rhum Clement CanneBleue (Martinique).
Best RhumAgricole: Best — Rhum JM VO, Double Gold — RhumDepaz XO, Gold — Rhum Clement 10 Ans.
Best Spiced Rum: Best — Siesta Key Spiced Rum (Florida), Double Gold — Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum (Saint Lucia), Gold — Clifton Estate Rum (Nevis).
Best Gold Rum: Best — Bounty Premium Gold (Saint Lucia), Double Gold — Island Company Rum (Trinidad), Gold — Siesta Key Gold (Florida).
The Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum Cocktail Challenge Winners were as follows: 1st Place: Bertrand Sydney – The Body Holiday; 1st Runner-Up: Dwight Joseph – Coco Palm Resorts; and 2nd Runner-Up: Travis George – Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort.