TORONTO — Acclaimed Toronto chef Craig Harding will be among those heading to the Caribbean next month to participate in the 6th edition of the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival (Nov. 19-22).
A celebratory launch event in Toronto last night was held at Harding’s restaurant Campagnolo, where members of the media sampled Barracuda Crudo with mango, pink peppercorn and Bajan citrus; sweet potato agnolotti with braised lamb, and a cocktail called ‘Jungle Bird’, which uses Mount Gay XO (a Barbados rum), Campari and pineapple.
Saxophonist Elan Trotman, a Bajan native now based in Boston, provided the entertainment.
“That we have been able to host this event – food, wine and rum – is testimony to our strength as a destination relative to things epicurean,” said Peter Mayers, Barbados Tourism Marketing Director in Canada, who thanked Craig for “so well incorporating things Barbadian” into the evening’s event. Mayers said that along with Harding, the festival has attracted key culinary talent from other important source markets such as Marcus Samuelsson (U.S.) and Andrew Pern (UK).
The festival, billed as a “sophisticated” and “upscale” celebration of gastronomy, will also feature local chefs, wine experts and mixologists and take place at venues around the island.
The events include Oistins Coastal Blend – a sunset grill with local music; Taste the Spirits of Polo – an opportunity to watch a polo match while top local chefs provide world class dishes; and Feast in the Sun, an all-inclusive party at Hilton Beach with performances and food demonstrations.
“Somebody asked me what’s your connection to Barbados, and I said I don’t have it yet – yet, but I guarantee you I will and we’ll all come back as better cooks,” said Harding, who said he’s excited to fuse some Italian heritage with the local foods of the island.
“The black bellied lamb is something they’re famous for,” he added. “And the list of fish that I got that we could work with is stuff we’d never get here, so it’s exciting for me to go down and experience that.” Harding’s event is a four-course dinner with wine pairing at The Cliff Beach Club on Nov. 21.
“Barbados being the birthplace of rum, we’re uniquely positioned to host events like this,” said Mayers. “How many countries host an event of food, wine and rum? That’s one of the things we’re proud about.”