Barbados has long been known for its stellar restaurant scene (it’s the only Caribbean island with a Zagat guide), but now it has an annual festival celebrating the island’s culinary scene – with the help of some well-known American and international chefs. The second annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival (www.foodwinerum.com) will take place from November 18 to 21, 2011 at a variety of venues around the 166-square-mile island.
This makes it an appealing time for food-centric couples to visit Barbados and not only sample the temptations of its top restaurants – among them The Cliff (shown above at left), Champers (www.champersbarbados.com), Scarlet (www.scarletbarbados.com), and The Fish Pot – but also attend special festival events, which are co-sponsored by Barbados Tourism (www.visitbarbados.org) and American Express Publishing’s Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure and Departures magazines. Attendees will be able to participate in cooking classes with and savor dishes prepared by visiting chefs during tasting events.
This year’s line-up again includes U.S. culinary masters Tom Collicchio, Marcus Samuelsson, and Ming Tsai, as well as Barbados’ own “Rhum Chef” Paul Yellin and Food + Wine’s wine expert Anthony Giglio. New this year are visiting international chefs Mark McEwan, a star of Top Chef Canada; Tom Brodi of TOCA by Tom Brodi in Toronto; Bruno Loubet of Bistrot Bruno Loubet in London; and Vitor Gomez of beachfront Café Riso Plage in Florianopolis, Brazil.
JetBlue (www.jetblue.com) offers daily nonstops to Barbardos from New York’s JFK, and accommodations on the island range from small guest houses and inns to five-star luxury resorts. I have visited Barbados three times over the past six years and can recommend Coral Reef Club, an elegant, classic resort with 88 rooms and suites on 12 beautifully landscaped acres, from $445/night; The Crane, set above beautiful Crane Beach and offering a variety of accommodations, including rooms in the historic circa-1887 inn and luxury one- and two-bedroom suites with private plunge pools, fom $313/night; Fairmont Royal Pavilion (www.fairmont.com/royalpavilion), with 48 recently renovated Oceanfront Deluxe Rooms and 24 Beachfront Suites, from $515/night; Tamarind Cove (www.tamarindbarbados.com), also recently renovated with 104 rooms and suites, all with private balcony, from $340/night; The Hilton Barbados (www.hiltoncaribbean.com/barbados), set on a pretty beach with 350 rooms, from $259; and Little Good Harbour (www.littlegoodharbourbarbados.com), a tranquil boutique property with rooms set in 19 eclectic hillside cottages, from $249/night.