Nashauna Drummond, Lifestyle Coordinator
Giving can be such delicious fare. For the second consecutive year, Jim and Darcy Fangman from Missouri, United States, successfully outbid everyone else in an online auction to benefit The Animal House, an animal shelter in the resort town of Ocho Rios, St Ann. What they were bidding on was an opportunity of a lifetime - a private dinner created by super chef Stefan Spath. Spath is the corporate executive chef of Couples Resorts.
As the Fangmans told Food, "We made sure we got it!"
And it was worth it. As the golden rays of the setting sun coloured the lawns of Spath's majestic Upton home, a small group of specially invited guests from Couples Tower Isle got ready to experience the genius of Spath.
Guests had their tastebuds teased with hors d'oeuvres of grilled jerk sausage with Scotch bonnet marmalade, fried breadfruit with pumpkin jalapeño dip and chilled watermelon with feta olives. These were complemented by perfectly chilled flutes filled with to-die-for lychee mint fizz.
The stage for the evening's dinner was the newly renovated pool area. The gastronomic delight began with an appetiser of sugar cane-skewered tempura shrimp-coconut, lemon grass with ginger sweet-and-sour sauce served in a halved coconut. The flavour of the lemon grass exploded on the palate as the silence at the table was broken only by oohs and ahhs. This was complemented by glasses of Las Moras Chardonnay.
The soup was equally delicious. Cream of tomato and garbanzo beans, jerk sausage and basil sour cream, straight through to the sorbet of green apple and rosemary with champagne. The only chatter was focused on how good everything was. And it was divine. Whenever the man of the moment made an appearance, his guests made sure he didn't leave without a genuine compliment or two.
But the pièce de résistance was the Caribbean Surf and Turf - tamarind-brushed beef tenderloin and garlic-grilled lobster tail, brown rum and thyme glaze with sautéed island greens and sour cream, smashed sweet potato and plantain.
One bite and you could hear the angels sing. Of course, it could have been the serene symphony of the chirping crickets, or the pool's cascading waterfall.
"I'm in heaven", "I couldn't be happier." The sporadic exclamations said it all.
The cherry on top of the feast was the decadent dessert. Passion meringue pie-watermelon carpaccio and pumpkin-seed brittle. Spath put all his 20 years of experience into creating the perfect balance of sweet, tangy and refreshing masterpieces. His guests' taste buds will forever be grateful.