Festival Green at Camana Bay was full up with foodies: They had come to eat, savor delicate aromas, and tickle their taste-buds with delicious delicacies. They had come to find out for themselves the very best fine food, wines and spirits that Cayman can offer. There were more than 40 food and drink vendors represented at the 29th Annual Taste of Cayman – and more than 5000 people in attendance, making it the Island’s most popular food and drink festival. Taste of Cayman began life in the late 1980’s when a small number of local restaurants met in a field to compete in what was then known as the “Chili Cook Off.” Since those days the event has grown and grown.
Hoshawn Williamson works at Rum Point in North Side. “We’re doing seafood today, with Lobster, shrimps, scallops, fish, and rice. Our special is a little lemon on the side and a little scallop on top of it and we serve it warm and spicy – its wonderful!” he said.
But taste is as much about drink as it is food, and one of the many liquor vendors represented was Tortuga Fine Wine and Spirits, where Sales Representative Massimo was eager to let me taste some of the wonderful wines they were offering: “We recently acquired the Robert Mondavi brand which is the oldest winery in upper California and we are presenting the private selection: Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. On the other side (of the display tent) we are serving Stoli vodka,” he said.
Coccoloba is a very exciting new idea – bringing authentic Mexican street food to the heart of the new Seafire Hotel. Mr Himnshu, Director of Food and Beverages at the new restaurant said: “We really thought of bringing the street-food concept with us here, so we have created a large ‘food truck’ and the food is very popular.” On the menu was delicious slices of beef, but that wasn’t all: “We also have some Mexican spice brownies, so you can enjoy some Mexican food and then enjoy some brownies as well,” he added.
Some of the food vendors were not so new, and are already very well- known, such as Island Taste. “My mom and dad started it in 1975,” said Island Taste’s Ken Thompson, “’Island Taste put a smile on your face and a little wiggle in your waist.’” That might well be so – they were certainly serving the most delicious Cayman-Style beef I have ever tasted.
“Tonight we have beef patties, chicken patties, vegetable patties. and then we have our loaves,” Ken continued, “which is almost the same as a patty but it’s in a bread dough rather than in a patty. We have a Cayman Loaf which is Cayman-style beef mixed with rice and beans in a coco-bread dough, and then we have a meat loaf, which is a regular patty meat put inside the coco bread, and then we have a curried chicken loaf. Cayman beef is cooked for normally about seven hours, that’s why it tastes so good. Don’t get mad at me when you find your clothes don’t fit in a few weeks’ time. That’s because your clothes start to shrink when you start eating our food,” he joked.