Last Wednesday, October 26, the award-winning official rum sponsor Worthy Park Estate took centre stage with its 360-degree bar at the romantically lit Hope Gardens to offer Jamaica's finest "single estate" rum for the Jamaica Food and Drink Festival. This year's Pork Palooza had the theme "Pork, Rum, and Reggae," and it served just that.
As Jamaica's only single-estate rum producer, Worthy Park Estate's rum cocktails: Pineapple Park and Fancy Farmer instinctively pair well with dishes flavoured with traditional Jamaican spices like Scotch bonnet, thyme, and pimento â€” ingredients typically used to season authentic Jamaican pork dishes.
Worthy Park Select can be best described as a smooth, mellow, sweet dark rum with flavours of spices, vanilla, a hint of cinnamon, tropical fruit, banana, and orange.
We sampled several dishes from the distinguished chefs competing. No surprise that Sheriff's BBQ offered a sizzling, crispy pork belly that had a meaty, chewy taste only complemented by the incredible medium-bodied rum.
Flaming Wok, however, was a pleasant surprise with its smoked BBQ and cornbread combination. The sweetness and smoky nuances were enhanced by the mellow rum cocktails.
ROK Hotel's combination of coffee jerk pork served with cabbage and cilantro slaw had a zesty crunch that amplified the sweetness of the Worthy Park Select rum.
The salt pepper pork combination from Kerry Lyn's Caterers had a spicy Asian bite that complemented the Worthy Park Select cocktails quite well.
Honourable mentions include pulled pork from Terra Nova and sliders from National Bakery.
Marketing Manager Tamika West applauded the event. "We're so proud to be the official rum sponsor for this world-class culinary event. We're centre stage this year and hope to continue to be a part of this experience. Worthy Park Select came on the scene in 2021 and is made from molasses from the estate's finest sugarcane. This rum has been matured, distilled, blended, and bottled all at Worthy Park. So we hope the patrons enjoyed it."
Worthy Park Estate, the island's oldest estate with a history spanning over 350 years since its founding in 1670, uses the double retort pot-still distillation method to create a heavy-bodied rum. By creating exquisite spirits, Worthy Park Estate has become a favourite both locally and internationally, winning numerous awards every year for the past decade.