It was a delicious affair of gastronomic proportions as Missouri natives Jim and Darcy Fangman, and a few other specially invited return guests at Couples Tower Isle, gathered at Tumbleweed - the pristine home of Couples Resorts' Corporate Executive Chef Stefan Spath, for the annual charity dinner in aid of The Animal House.
For seven consecutive years, the Fangmans have placed the highest bid on eBay for the dinner, which is sponsored by Couples Tower Isle. The proceeds go towards the Ocho Rios-based animal shelter.
It's little wonder the Fangmans have been so consistent. When you're having dinner at a chef's house, you know it has to be good. But when you are having dinner at the home of one of the best in the business, you know you are in for something absolutely extraordinary.
Accompanied by Romaine Bennett, Errol Sewell, Valentine McKenzie and the resort's new Asian chef, Anish Kumar, from India, Spath took the intimate group on a culinary journey.
The evening started with arrivals consisting of vegetable summer rolls, pak choi sesame rolls, and shrimp cocktails. As the servers made their rounds, the morsels were so divine, it took tremendous willpower to keep reminding oneself that space had to be left for the other courses.
The dinner party, all friends, sat down to a beautifully decorated table under the stars on Spath's patio.
This year's menu was an Asian fusion, so it began with appetisers of Indonesian chicken satay, steamed chicken dumplings, red island shrimp satay, lamb chops, and steamed vegetable dumplings, all served family-style with a choice of sweet chilli and peanut sauce.
taste buds electrified
The table immediately went silent, and it was obvious why - the lamb chops were tender, the dumplings savoury, the shrimp delectable and the chicken bursting with flavour. Everyone's taste buds were electrified without being overpowered.
Then it was time to enjoy some hearty roasted pumpkin soup infused with leeks and ginger. A dash of almonds was a welcome crunch that added exhilaration to every sip.
The passion fruit and rosemary sorbet was the perfect palate cleanser before the main course.
The curried lobster and grilled beef tenderloin were perfection. The food heavens opened up and flavour rained down. This was served with callaloo rice, grilled vegetables and green salad with Dijon dressing.
The sentiment around the table was that nobody wanted the moment to end. Luckily, Spath and his team softened the heartbreak of the festivities' end with an unforgettable dessert of coffee orange crÈme br°lÈe, and petits fours.
All this in aid of a most worthy charity. Who says giving isn't sweet?