Jamaica Food & Drink Festival -- il primo, un successo

Jamaica Food & Drink Festival -- il primo, un successo

at the Wine Rack

With Christopher Reckord

Thursday, November 05, 2015

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This newspaper has long believed in the world-class capabilities of our culinary artists, amply illustrated by the creation of the Table Talk Food Awards 17 years ago. Fast-forward to October 2015, and we now see the beginnings of our very own Food and Drink event. As their website states: "Think South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBE) with a dash of Caribbean mojo, we refer to it as our own 'SOBE ON THE ROCK'. The Jamaica Food & Drink Festival is a celebration of great spirits, fine foods, live entertainment, culinary celebrities and more. It's four days of diverse, all-inclusive gastronomic exploits". I had the wonderful opportunity to attend two out of the six events and here is my short assessment from "a wine point of view".

RED, WHITE & YOU -- A Taste of Italy

Patrons were invited to sample an array of fine Italian wines, paired with sumptuous canapés and entrées - carving station, pasta, seafood and decadent desserts. Wine sponsors for this event were the Winning Wines of J Wray and Nephew with two of their Italian brands, MASI and Cecchi. Chefs at the event included Ashebre's Oji Jaja, Whip it Up's Celeste Gordon and Fromage Bistro's Lisa Chin. Desserts were provided by Nestle and Terra Nova's Regency Patisserie. Generally the food was excellent all around: however, Chef Celeste Gordon's Seafood Salad and Risotto station had me coming back over and over. While this festival is not a wine event by any stretch, wines were the beverage of choice at this event with about 8 or 9 different wines available to pair with the foods.

My disappointment was that at each of the stations, save for the first, all of the wines were offered, instead of having just the ideal pairing for the dish served. I can't begin to tell you the number of people who asked me which was the best wine for a specific dish. With that said, my on-the-spot tasting suggested that the Masi Masianco, a fresh, fruity, aromatic white blend of Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo, proved to be a great companion to the seafood station because of its refreshing acidity and slight hint of sweetness.


This private affair, curated by Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau of Two Sisters and A Meal inside the tastefully inspiring National Gallery of Jamaica, was magical. From my wine point of view, it's always challenging to pair wines with a buffet, so my go-to wine is usually sparking. Wine sponsor Select Brands understand this challenge and had on offer Sperone Processo, Sperone Sparkling Moscato and a Pimms-based Sangria cocktail on arrival. The energy around the exquisitely styled tables was infectious. After the brunch buffet was open, Primal Roots Red Blend, Montes Classic Merlot and Montes Classic Sauvignon Blanc flowed. The grand finale was the amazing dessert installation created by Pâtissier Nadine Burie -- simply irresistible decadence.

Upward and onward; congratulations on the first Jamaica Food & Drink Festival. Let us do our part to shine the light on this cultural superpower -- Jamaica Land we love.

Christopher Reckord -- Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. Instagram: @chrisreckord Twitter: @Reckord

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