Explore

5 Must-Attend Food Festivals In Jamaica

By Travel Noire

Share

Written by Sharine Taylor

I’m sure you’ve heard all about Jamaica’s delicious culinary selections: jerk chicken, oxtail, rice and peas, mannish wata (yes, I’m willing to die on this hill), stew peas, ackee and saltfish (our national dish), and even the array of flavours found in Rastafari ital meals. However, there are a plethora of other cuisines that we’ve remixed to add our 876 touch. All these dishes and more are can be experienced firsthand at one of the nation’s many delectable food festivals.

Jamaica is steadily working its way towards being the Caribbean’s hub for gastronomes locally and afar. Whether it’s fusing flavours native to the island with cuisines and dishes from abroad, or even just celebrating our own fare, these festivals in the nation’s capital put Jamaica’s eats on a platter to dive in fork first.

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival | Early March

Jamaica’s Blue Mountains are home to its infamous coffee beans and if you’re a fan of all things java, art and culture, the Blue Mountain Coffee Festival is for you. You’ll be whisked away to Newcastle, a historic military centre, that is transformed into the Blue Mountain Culinary Trail. Attendees will be met with plenty of music, crafts and food native to Jamaica, and will be able to enjoy the scenic mountain scenery as their backdrop.

The Jamaica Rum Festival | Early March

Rum, music, art and food, what more can one ask for? Even though rum originated in Barbados, Appleton Estates, Monymusk, Hampden Estates, Charley’s, Wray and Nephew (and my personal favourite) Sangsters, are among our best beverage exports. Though 2019 is the festival’s first staging, in typical Jamaican fashion, the event haffi sell awff! Set to be held in the beautiful Hope Gardens, with promised food pairings and live performances from top-tier reggae and dancehall acts, the Jamaica Rum Festival is sure to be a foodie favourite.

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum on display at "Life's A Beach, Then You Eat!" dinner hosted by Gaston Acurio, Jonathan Waxman, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Samuelsson, Paul Kahan & Hedy Goldsmith during the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival at Mandarin Oriental on February 21, 2014 in Miami City.

(Photo by Randy Borges/Getty Images)

Pasta Supreme | Late June

Pasta Supreme combines pasta, music and charity for an unforgettably tasty and feel-good experience. With 10 chefs, 20 dishes (on their menu last year they had ackee pasta in a pumpkin creme sauce and bourbon oxtail pasta, mm!), two seafood stations, a kebab grill, a dessert bar, fruit bar, soup and salad bar and a bread station, Pasta Supreme is definitely not an event you want to miss! In addition, a portion of its profits go towards a charitable organization, making the event #PastaWithAPurpose — this year’s recipient will be JAMHAN, a mental health advocacy and support group. To satiate the appetites before the big day, this year Pasta Supreme will host a series of pop-ups where attendees can interact with chefs and sample dishes that will later be featured at the event.

Jamaica Food & Drink Festival | Late October

The Jamaica Food & Drink Festival is one of the most highly anticipated festivals of the year! The annual, week-long staging is a celebration of Jamaican and international food with themed events to guide the culinary experience. Showcasing the gastronomy and creative brilliance of chefs on the island and abroad, yuh cyaa miss the Jamaica Food & Drink Festival.

Restaurant Week | Early November

Restaurant Week in Jamaica is full ah nuff vibes! Select restaurants across the island offer prix fixe menus with familiar fan favourites or specialty Restaurant Week-exclusive items. If you’re looking to experience a specific kind of taste, Restaurant Week divides up participating restaurants into flavours that ignite various parts of your palate, like ‘Delectable,’ ‘Savoury,’ or ‘Morning Bites.’ Encouraging attendees to reacquaint themselves with cuisine they know or discover new dishes to enjoy (including my personal favourites), Restaurant Week is a foodies’ dream and the perfect cap to end a year of food festivals.

Sharine Taylor is a Toronto-based music and culture writer, and Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of BASHY Magazine

Share
Travel Noire

Travel Noire

A platform of cultivated insights from a global community of black travelers.

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Virtually Immerse Yourself In St. Lucia’s Culture With This New Live Web Series

Virtually Immerse Yourself In St. Lucia’s Culture With This New Live Web Series

We’re all feeling the effects of self-isolating due to COVID-19 and many travelers around the globe are missing their favorite pastime — seeing the world. As a way to curb your travel blues, the St. Lucia Tourism Authority has come up with a way to allow the world to virtually travel to the island. 7 […]

DeAnna Taylor

If You’re A Foodie And Beach Lover, You’re Gonna Want To Visit St. Maarten And St. Martin

If You’re A Foodie And Beach Lover, You’re Gonna Want To Visit St. Maarten And St. Martin

The Caribbean arguably has some of the best food in the world. If you’re a foodie and love relaxing by the beach, your next island destination should be St Maarten/St Martin. Encompassing only 37 square miles, this is the smallest landmark in the world. If you’re wondering what the difference is between St Maarten and […]

Kelsey Marie

Cheap Flights You Can Purchase In April For Post-Quarantine Travel In May

Cheap Flights You Can Purchase In April For Post-Quarantine Travel In May

We may be social distancing and under quarantine until late April, but it’s not too early to begin making plans to travel in May. If you’re already considering your first post-quarantine getaway, we have rounded up the best flight deals to destinations that are not a high risk due to coronavirus for less than $350 […]

Parker Diakite