One of the best sandwiches anywhere is the cheese and blue marlin cutter at Cuz's Fish Stand. Unfortunately, sometimes they run out of fish. Today they were out of blue marlin, tomato, and pickle. The fried egg and cheese, while not as revelatory, certainly has key elements to get you ready for the local cuisine. New Zealand Cheddar, salt bake rolls with great ply, and, of course, Barbados' signature Scotch bonnet sauce.
From Cattlewash (one of Barbados' longest beaches) to Bath (one of the island's best beaches to swim at), there are plenty of beaches to swim, jet ski, surf, and dive at. But it's hard to go wrong looking for a spectacular view from all of them at sunset.
The 2011 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival kicked off on the roof at the Limegrove Lifestyle Center, a new 10-acre "mixed-use lifestyle centre" in Holetown that includes about 85,000 square feet of high-end retail space.
Travel + Leisure's features director, Niloufar Motamed, thanked chefs and attendees and welcomed everyone to the second annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.
Barbados' Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy reiterated his desire to make the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival one of the premier food-festival destinations in the world. Click here to read an interview with Barbados' Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy.
Chef Mark McEwan, chef and owner of several restaurants in Toronto, host of Food Network Canada's program The Heat with Mark McEwan, and more recently the host of Top Chef Canada poses with a festival attendee. He dished on some Canadian chefs to look out for and said that you have to fancy-up poutine.
While not on the festival's itinerary, no trip to Barbados is complete without a stop at Oistins Fish Market on the south coast of Barbados. It's a real fishing village, of course, but on Friday and Saturday nights (more Friday than Saturday), it becomes one of the island's culinary epicenters and also, one of its biggest parties. There are about two blocks of stand after stand serving excellent fresh grilled and fried fish like mahimahi, blue marlin, swordfish, as well as other types of seafood specialties and local cuisine. Macaroni pie, fish cakes, flying fish, Banks beer, fresh coconut water — Oistins has it all — along with music, dancing, and enough people-watching to inspire a daytime soap.
With all the great fish stands at Oistins, it's not surprising that some take to grandiosity to stand out. This stand pulls no punches, proclaiming its fare to be no less than "Hot Legendary Fish Cakes." When these warm, fried fritters are topped with Bajan Scotch bonnet sauce, it's hard to argue with the name.
There are so many stands to choose from. Ask the locals, or a taxi driver, and you're likely to hear that Pat's Place is generally referred to as the best. But when you see fresh fare on every grill, you start to get the feeling that you can't really go wrong, especially on the inside courtyard. Here lobsters and fish get prepped on the grill.
Pat's Place is great, but Shirley's Food Hut puts out some delicious seafood, too. Moist and juicy blue marlin grilled simply with seasoning needed nothing except a side of macaroni pie. Incidentally, in Barbados, macaroni pie is a dish that's recipe is as personal an undertaking as any other iconic food in the world. One recipe given by a taxi driver during the festival in 2010 listed the ingredients as: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and, the thing that truly makes it, New Zealand Cheddar, an island staple. This simple dish was one of the best eaten during the festival.
Though not quite as moist and juicy as the blue marlin, there was a delightful little bite from the blackening.
A coconut vendor hacks open the coconut with a machete. As is the tradition in the Caribbean and in parts of South America, after you've finished drinking the water, they'll hack open the coconut and use a piece of the skin to create a spoon with which to eat the jelly inside.
It's not all about food at Oistins, there's some heavy-duty socializing going on. That includes a heated game of dominoes on the far end at a serious club. Players pause, building tension, quiet onlookers and players waiting and watching, and then... THWACK! A player smacks a domino down on the table as if to pass his hand through it. Then there's a pause until... THWACK! And again until the game is over, when the winner pulls in the dominoes, and everyone points, shouts, and discusses what just happened, dissecting the game with as much vehemence as exhibited during a Parliamentary debate.
After the kickoff, the festival's next event was the Late Night at the Beach House party. There was music and dancing, as well as more bites to eat, including ham cutters, and plenty of wine and rum.