Miami com

Can’t afford a trip to the Caribbean? This event will give you a taste of the islands

Take a tour of Hispanic and Caribbean food

The Festiva Hispana de Pascagoula brought cooks from the Caribbean, Central and South America for a day of food. Here is a small sampling of the dishes that celebrated numerous food cultures.
Up Next
The Festiva Hispana de Pascagoula brought cooks from the Caribbean, Central and South America for a day of food. Here is a small sampling of the dishes that celebrated numerous food cultures.

You can take a trip to the Caribbean without even leaving South Florida.

That’s what the Taste the Islands Experience is offering with its culinary event this weekend in Fort Lauderdale featuring Haiti’s J. Perry, Julian Marley and an all-inclusive day of Caribbean cocktails and food.

But this isn’t just any food festival, David Muir of Island Syndicate said. It’s an event where the food (and the chefs) are the stars of the show.

Not to be confused with another Caribbean culinary event — Caribbean305, where chefs compete for top honors in Miami every June during Caribbean Heritage Month — Muir said this weekend’s “taste” is “completely different.”

TTIX-1311.jpg
Taste the Islands Experience features food and drinks from various islands of the Caribbean. Photo by Mark James Courtesy of Taste the Islands Experience

For one thing, the $95 all-inclusive Taste the Islands Experience is outdoors, taking place from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday in the History Fort Lauderdale complex around New River Inn, 219 SW Second Ave. There is also an island-theme mimosa brunch, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the same location. Cost of the brunch is $65 or $90 for the brunch plus a river cruise afterward. Brunch sales end on Thursday.

Secondly, along with Caribbean chefs such as Hugh “Chef Irie” Sinclair and Cynthia “Chef Thia” Verna, and mixologist Philip “Casonova” Antoine or Barbados, Taste the Islands will also feature Restaurant Row. About 10 local caterers and restaurants including Bamboo Shack will be showing off signature dishes.

“People have never experienced this type of food festival,” said Muir, one of the organizers. “What makes ours so much different is that we have such a rich culture surrounding the food, that the food is the star of the weekend. But it’s also about Caribbean culture, which is so rich and so diverse. We’ve really made this not just about the actual food you eat but the culture around it.”

TTIX-8016.jpg
The Taste the Islands Experience in Fort Lauderdale allows fanatics of Caribbean cuisine and cocktails enjoy the different tastes of the Caribbean without leaving the area. Photo by Mark James Courtesy of Taste the Islands

With the tourists boards of the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and the U.S. Virgin Islands all sponsoring, their specialties will also be on display for tasting. There’s guava duff from the Bahamas and Jamaican escovitch fish. Also available will be callaloo soup and fish cakes, plus Haitian coffee and Valmas cremas (think Haitian eggnog).

Another addition this year is singer Julian Marley. The son of Reggae icon Bob Marley, Julian will be introducing his Juju Royal CBD-infused olive oil and joining chefs in a cooking demo of his new product.

Meanwhile, partygoers can enjoy the sounds of Haitian singer J. Perry while sipping on their favorite Caribbean cocktail.

Taste the Islands Experience

  • When: April 27-28
  • Where: History Fort Lauderdale complex, 219 SW Second Ave.
  • Tickets: $95 for Saturday’s main event; $65 for the Sunday Brunch or $90 with the river cruise; www.ttiexperience.com or call 417-812-5663.
Jacqueline Charles has reported on Haiti and the English-speaking Caribbean for the Miami Herald for over a decade. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for her coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she was awarded a 2018 Maria Moors Cabot Prize — the most prestigious award for coverage of the Americas.
  Comments