October 23, 2020

A Taste of the Caribbean

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From Travel Pulse By Brian Major

Times have never been better for travelers who are fond of fine cuisine. Seeking to appeal to vacationers’ increasingly peripatetic palates, today’s all-inclusive resorts are joining with celebrity gourmet chefs to launch a new generation of specialized eateries. The resorts are also partnering with highly regarded cuisine brands to offer guests outstanding choices.

In addition, Caribbean destinations closely tied to the all-inclusive market are sponsoring cuisine programs featuring menus designed by gourmet celebrity chefs, as well as partnerships with top-shelf cuisine providers. Even boutique properties are getting into the act, offering special cuisine packages for travelers.

“In the past, visitors came to the Caribbean for sand, sun, and sea, and the food was just simmering on the back burner,” said Richardson Skinner, a St. Lucia-based executive chef, adding that food-related travel is “driving the business.”

Travel agents who learn the food-related offerings of top suppliers will more easily rise to the challenge of matching their cuisine-focused clients to perfect experiences for the palate—and provide them with lifetime memories. Following are some examples to keep in mind.

Palace Culinary Partnerships

Palace Resorts has made world-class epicurean encounters a key component of its guest experience. The brand announced an exclusive partnership with Certified Angus Beef in 2017, making the signature specialty beef available at steakhouse eateries across its10 all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and Jamaica.

This year Palace launched an exclusive partnership with world-renowned pastry chef Antonio Bachour, recently named one of the 10 best pastry chefs in America. Palace has also launched its own cooking school and pastry shop where resort chefs have access to ongoing educational seminars and additional training, helping them to stay up-to-date on the latest culinary trends.

Palace also regularly launches special culinary events at its resorts. Earlier this year the company arranged for master chef Joan Roca to bring the magic of the three-Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, to . Dubbed the El Celler de Can Roca Experience, the unique gastronomic event gave guests a chance to meet the award-winning Catalan chef and help raise money for schools.

A Year-long Celebration of Bajan Culinary Experiences

destinations are also focusing on travelers’ heightened desire for culinary experiences. Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. () officials have designated 2018 as its “Year of Culinary Experiences,” highlighting a series of culinary events focused on Bajan cuisine traditions, including the use of rum and sugar.

“The revered culinary landscape of Barbados will be heavily integrated into our marketing and public relations efforts in all of our source markets this year,’ said William “Billy” Griffith, BTMI’s chief executive officer.

Vacationers will also have opportunities to experience tours of famous Barbados distilleries and former plantation manor houses, mixology road shows, exclusive dinners, and local entertainment and activities. For complete information on the events, visit visitbarbados.org.

A highlight of Barbados’ culinary events is the annual fish festival in Oistins, a small but popular fishing town on the island’s south coast. While the annual festival is a one-week affair that takes place at Easter, fish fry events are held every Friday night in Oistins, so travelers can enjoy this local spectacle year-around.
Cultivating Cayman Cuisine—for Kids!

This summer the Cayman Islands will be the scene of culinary events focused on families traveling with children.

The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) is launching its first-ever “Kids Culinary Capital of the Caribbean” program, taking place throughout the summer. Designed to introduce the destination’s youngest visitors and their families to the Cayman culinary scene, an array of interactive activities and educational classes are being held at several participating resorts and restaurants.

For example, the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s “Ambassadors in the Kitchen” program offers chefs ages 4 to 9 opportunities to experience a day behind the scenes as a culinary master. The day includes a hands-on learning experience at the resort’s Andiamo restaurant and a visit to the Ritz’s organic garden, where the young chefs will source ingredients to prepare with their local cuisine.

The recently opened Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa is offering children ages 4 to 12 a backstage pass to the resort’s largest kitchen—at the Ave restaurant—for an exclusive meet-and-greet experience with the property’s executive chef. Young foodies will be able to observe all of the elements of a world-class gastronomic preparation at the luxury resort.

For full information, including pricing for various events in the program, visit visitcaymanislands.com.
Boutique Cuisine Packages in the Bahamas

The Caribbean’s heightened food focus extends to top boutique hotels, including the Bahamas’ historic Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant, which this year is offering a Romance Package featuring food and winemaking experiences in the resort’s casually elegant setting.

The packages offer couples three-night stays at the historic Nassau mansion during which they learn to make wine at Bahama Barrels at Graycliff, the territory’s first winery. Guests also sample international wines, learn about winemaking from vine to glass, and blend their own bottles, creating ideal souvenirs.

The hands-on experience continues at the five-star Graycliff Restaurant, where guests will learn Bahamian culinary traditions via interactive demonstrations with the hotel’s executive chef. Later, travelers sit down to dine at a three-course meal they’ve personally prepared. Accompaniments also include a glass of wine and a tour of Graycliff’s world-renowned Wine Cellar led by a sommelier. For more information, visit graycliff.com/specials.

IMAGE:
Lebanese dishes at The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun’s Habibi restaurant
PHOTO: Lebanese dishes at The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun’s Habibi restaurant. (photo courtesy of Palace Resorts)

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