Slow Food joins global feast

Terra Madre Day celebrated

For the first time, the Cayman Islands chapter of Slow Food International joined 119 other countries around the world to celebrate Terra Madre Day with a harvest dinner at the Brasserie Restaurant on 10 December.

Terra Madre, which means Mother Earth in Italian, is a network of food communities, coordinated by Slow Food International, that are committed to producing quality food in a responsible, sustainable way.

Cayman Islands Slow Food leader Alan Markoff said holding the event at the Brasserie was a perfect pairing, given the restaurant’s focus on a farm-to-table approach to dining.

“In my mind, the Brasserie was ground zero for the trend in Cayman restaurant’s toward fresh, organically grown produce,” he said. “Many other restaurants have now followed suit, either through chef’s gardens or arrangements with local farmers, or a combination of both. From a culinary standpoint, it’s quite exciting to see this movement taking root here in Cayman.”

The event was a take-off on the Brasserie’s popular Garden Harvest Dinner series, which runs monthly between November and April and features whatever happens to be fresh. The Terra Madre Day meal featured many ingredients obtained locally, including fruits, vegetables, meats and fish.

The evening started with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in the Brasserie’s screened-in outdoor garden area. Served were King Flowers’ recipe for conch salad with boniato chips; a Cayman pork taco on local coconut bread; and a local June Plum Bellini cocktail created by Brasserie General Manager Kyle Kennedy.

The dinner was served family style at tables of eight and 10 in the Brasserie patio room. Chef Brad Phillips created five different dishes with eight different vegetable accompaniments. The dishes included chilled zucchini soup with fresh dill; coconut fried snapper; crispy cassava; carambola (star fruit) salad; pickled garden peppers; local fennel and callaloo.

“Everything was delicious,” said Mr. Markoff. “The chilled zucchini soup was a particularly big hit, and I really loved the tangy carambola salad and pickled hot peppers myself.”

The meal was served with Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from Cooper Hill winery in Oregon. The wines, which were provided by Blackbeard’s Fine Wines, Beers and Spirits, were appropriately both organic and biodynamic,

Dessert paid tribute to the holiday season, with local pumpkin cheesecake, guava pie and eggnog crème brulée.

In all, more than 172,000 people attended 1,150 Terra Madre Day events around the world this year.

Mr. Markoff said he intends to make the Cayman Islands celebration of Terra Madre Day an annual event.

“All 28 of the attendees really enjoyed this year’s event,” he said. “The local Slow Food movement picked up a lot of steam this year and Terra Madre Day epitomises the Slow Food philosophy.”