Monday 21 May, 2018

Food and Rum Festival Scores High

St. Lucia may have produced a gem in the just concluded Food & Rum Festival, one that may very well put it on par with well-known food festivals across the world.

The Festival, which ended Sunday night at the Pigeon Island National Landmark, left in its wake pleased, well-fed patrons; a better informed group of fish vendors; a more intelligent group of bartenders; praises for locally grown produce; an excited group of people at the Tourism Authority and at the Prime Minister’s Office; and a weary but enthused group of about 200 local, regional and international journalists, among other things.

Saint Lucia Food and Rum Festival 2018

Workshops by chefs from several of the island’s top hotels instructed fish vendors, primarily from the village of Anse-la-Raye, on how to prepare rum-infused fish diets leaving the vendors more informed about ways in which fish can be prepared.

A workshop at the Landings attended by bartenders from around the country also gave them an education on the various drinks they could shake up using the 32 types of rums that were available at the Festival. They are now more knowledgeable about rums and the experiences they could create out of mixing them with other ingredients to produce exciting drinks.

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And the praises showered on locally produced foods by internationally acclaimed chef, American Marcus Samuelsson, who visited the food market in Castries last week to purchase produce for the celebrity dinner he prepared on Saturday night, a replication of what he prepared at Barack Obama’s first state dinner using local ingredients, seemed to have scored high points with just about everyone.

The media turnout to the Festival was another win for the Festival, as noted by the Tourism Authority’s Chairwoman Agnes Francis.

“The ultimate goal of the Festival is to bring in more visitors. But to do so you need to get international media to support it and we had a significant amount of media and that was another measure of success, I think we achieved,” she said.

Then there was the inaugural Caribbean Rum (Awards) Competition that involved 32 rums around the region and further afield.

“For us to inaugurate a Caribbean rum awards right here in St. Lucia during the food and rum was a success story. It will continue every year,” Francis said.

The Tourism Authority’s goal is to position St. Lucia to be known in the world as a place where any visitor looking for fine rums would come to.

“It’s a positioning statement we are trying to create and we think we have made one step in that direction with the Caribbean Rum Awards,” Francis said, further stating that St. Lucia rums were the anchor of the competition.

Prime Minister Chastanet thinks the Festival was a smashing success and that it built a platform organizers will now have to work on.

Another high-point of the Festival, as pointed out by the Prime Minister, was the cost associated with it. Although he did not reveal the cost, he noted that it was held on a very frugal budget.