The tantalising taste of Jamaica Rum Festival
“Rum is the tonic that clarifies the vision, and set things in true perspective.” And the vision was clear last Tuesday morning for the launch of Jamaica Rum Festival.
Sponsors, government officials and the media fraternity all gathered in the banquet hall at the Office of the Prime Minister in high anticipation of the main event. The formal proceedings, hosted by the lovely Paula-Ann Porter Jones, began with an overview of Jamaica’s versatile rum industry by the chairman of the Spirits Pool Association, Evon Brown.
CEO and Managing Director of Mystique Integrated Services Limited Valon Thorpe dished to his attentive audience the palatable plans already put in place and pending endeavours for the two-day festival. Jacob Borsa, director of marketing at J Wray & Nephew, the event’s presenting sponsor, and Dr Carey Wallace, executive director of Tourism Enhancement Fund, which is a partner of the event, gave wonderful endorsements.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett took to the podium for his keynote address. He shared that over 80 per cent of the world travel for food experiences, and noted that Jamaica’s culture is a melting pot of delectable cuisine and rich spirits. “The spirit of the people comes out in the products of the people, and our biggest produce is still sugar cane. That’s where Jamaica’s finest rums and the rum festival come in,” he added. He went on to highlight Appleton Estate, among other rums, who are known both locally and internationally for lifting the spirits of many, and explained their great impact on bringing people together and boosting the tourism sector.
After his speech, those in attendance were treated to the euphoric likes of rum-infused dishes – fillet mignon with drunken plantain, rum and coke pulled pork sliders, crispy fish fillet with rum sauce, red rum barbecued chicken bites, grilled fruit kebab in rum sauce, ultra reserved shrimp and vegetable quiche. Special guests were also invited to have a taste of Appleton Estate’s line:
Signature blend, Reserve blend, Rare blend 12- and 21-year-old, Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum, Monymusk Whispering Breeze Coconut Flavoured Liqueur and White Overproof Rum, Rumfire white Overproof Rum, Hampden Estate Gold Jamaican Rum and Charley’s J.B. White Overproof Rum Trelawny Blends. All were sampled on the rocks or chased with juices and coconut water. Sangster’s Rum Cream was also available to smooth things over for the creamy lovers.
The Jamaica Rum Festival is scheduled to tantalise taste buds at Hope Gardens on Saturday, March 9, and Sunday, March 10.