Spice Up Your Jamaican Vacation With Authentic Jerk Cooking Classes, Farm-To-Table Rastafarian Meals And Island-Wide Culinary Events
Jamaica is a food-lover’s dream that offers a plethora of culinary experiences and unique festivals introducing visitors to the island’s celebrated cuisine. Known for jerk cooking, Jamaica has recently attracted world renowned chefs like Mario Batali, April Bloomfield, and Johnny Iuzzini, who will be participating in the island’s upcoming NyamJam Festival this month.
Jamaica also offers a range of specialty dishes such as ackee and saltfish (the island’s national dish), bammy (a flat, toasted wafer made of cassava and flour), mackerel rundown (pickled mackerel with a thick, custard-like sauce made of coconut milk) and gizzada or “pinch-me-round” (a sweet Jamaican pastry).
“Our motto is ‘Out of Many, One People’, and the influences in our food reflect the various cultures which together make our dishes distinctively Jamaican,” said Paul Pennicook, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “Our yearly calendar is filled with many events that highlight our diverse cuisine. Additionally we host a number of authentic, hands-on culinary experiences which is one of the best ways for visitors to sample the island’s culture.”
Below is a sampling of the island’s diverse culinary offerings:
Organic Farm-to-Table Rastafarian Meal
Stush in the Bush is a local culinary experience located on the 15-acre organic Zionites farm near the Ocho Rios resort area where guests can embark on an organic farm tour and farm-to-table lunch or dinner in the Rastafarian (Ital) diet of fresh fruits, vegetables and spices. It’s a great way to learn about the flora of the island, and have a home cooked meal while taking in the beauty of Jamaica’s lush landscape.
Authentic Jerk Cooking Class
Jamaican Jerk Outback Adventure is a hands-on cooking experience offered at the historical Great House at Prospect Plantation in Ocho Rios. Guests will tantalize their senses with a variety of herbs and spices as Chef Irie guides them in the preparation of a traditional Jamaican dish. The cooking class takes place on a verandah with a panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea.
Eat Your Way through History
Falmouth Food Tour offers a delicious blend of Jamaican food and history on a guided walking tour of the historic town of Falmouth. Through various food tastings, visitors will learn how Jamaicans have used a fusion of cooking methods and practices from different cultures to develop dishes that sustained the Jamaican people through slavery, colonialism and independence.
The following is a list of 2016 events highlighting Jamaica’s culinary offerings:
- Portland Jerk Festival (July 3): Portland is the home of jerk, and its Portland Jerk Festival is one of the largest annual jerk and food festivals in Jamaica. Staged at the heritage site at Folly Estate in Portland, the event includes live performances and family entertainment.
- Little Ochie Seafood Carnival (July 10): The Little Ochie Seafood Carnival is a celebration of the wide array of culinary delights available on the south side of the island. Top local reggae musicians and vintage artists are featured along with the cuisine and a non-stop party.
- Montego Bay Jerk Festival (August 1): An outdoor family oriented experience, this festival highlights authentic Jamaica culinary delights. Features of the event include presentations of various jerk meats and food, children’s activities and celebrity cook off, culminating in a stage show.
- Oktoberfest (October 7-9): Oktoberfest is an annual German festival put on by the Jamaican German Society. The festival will feature specialty German food and beer, as well as German wines.
- All Jamaica Grill Off (October): The annual All Jamaica Grill Off competition takes place in Kingston and attracts the destination’s best recreational and professional grilling chefs. This event is a must-do for foodies to enjoy an unlimited sampling from competitors’ booths along with all-day music and stage entertainment.
- Jamaica Food & Drink Festival (October 28-31): Jamaica Food & Drink Festival is a 4-day celebration of the finest food and drink Jamaica has to offer. The festival features over 30 celebrated chefs representing the Jamaican gastronomic experience bringing exotic flavors, exhilarating spirits and unforgettable experiences.
- Jamaica Restaurant Week (November): Jamaica Restaurant Week is a week-long event celebrating culinary offerings in Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. It is a unique opportunity for visitors and locals alike to experience a taste of Jamaica at significantly reduced prices.
- CB Pan Chicken Championship (November): The CB Pan Chicken Championship provides Jamaicans an opportunity to show off their culinary talents by creating mouthwatering jerk recipes using a jerk pan. The elimination rounds are held across the island, with the championship in Kingston.
For more information on Jamaica or to book a culinary inspired vacation, please visit www.visitjamaica.com or contact your local Jamaica Travel Specialist.