|Flying fish sandwich from Hilton Barbados|
Yeah, you know you wish you were in Barbados. Heck, who doesn't? It's stinking February, and if you're like me, you've got some serious cabin fever going on right now. Virginia has been nothing but cold, snow, icy rain or generally depressing overcast days that make one want to hit a local watering hole and waste an entire afternoon downing cheap beer with the locals while inhaling gobs of secondhand smoke. Not that I've done that or anything....
A couple of months back, I was fortunate enough to acquire a hall pass from all this crappy weather and make my first visit ever to the land best known as the birthplace of rum for none other than the annual Food, Wine & Rum Fest which featured all kinds of culinary genius, from foodie television gods Tom Colicchio and Ming Tsai to culinary innovators like Texan/cowboy cutie, Tim Love and "nose to tail" man-of-the-moment Fergus Henderson.
In addition to the events that surrounded the festival itself, which included intimate cooking classes with all of the chefs in attendance as well as a grand tasting where both local and guest chefs served up mini-tastes of their best of the best, Bajan food in general is nothing to snicker at. Generally, Barbadian food is hearty comfort fare dominated by fried goodies like flying fish sandwiches topped with plantains, platters of fried chicken or snapper served up with a big wedge of macaroni pie or alongside okra and cornmeal-laden Cou Cou with nearly all of it drizzled in Bajan hot sauce (a vinegar and habanero blend that'll set you right).
|Stuffed pork, macaroni pie & fried snapper|
And, don't forget the street food: saltfish cakes, Indian-inspired roti's, cutters (fried fish sandwiches topped with egg or cheese), souse (boiled pig's head and feet) and grilled pig's tails. You can sample most if not all of these goodies in one fell swoop if you're lucky enough to hit Oistin's Fish Fry on the weekends, which is a must.
|Curried pork & potato roti. Hearty and dirt cheap.|
Then, there's the fine dining options, which like rum shacks, can be found all over the island. Local fare goes upscale at most of these establishments yet also comes with a hefty price tag, but when you're enjoying delights such as warm lobster salad in a truffled vinaigrette or Parmesan encrusted Barracuda while overlooking a moonlight ocean, I say, save your pennies and splurge a little.
Here are a few drool-worthy highlights from the Food, Wine & Rum Fest and the lovely island of Barbados:
Chef Tim Love (left) whips up his local Black Belly Lamb Sandwiches from the Food, Wine & Rum fest at the Lion Castle Polo Estate's grand gala.
Not a bad view for a beach side picnic of cutters, roti's and rum punch.
Bajan brunch: fried chicken, peas and rice, plantain stuffing and a good squeeze from the hot sauce bottle.
No meal is complete without a platter of fish cakes. These were from Tapas Restaurant and were uniquely Thai inspired with just a touch of lemongrass.
For more about visiting Barbados, check out Visit Barbados
To get in on next year's, Food, Wine & Rum Fest check out the dates for 2011
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