The 23rd annual Taste of Cayman Food and Wine Festival is rightly feted as one of the key moments of Culinary Month.
Since its early days, the festival has evolved to such an extent that this year’s shindig at the Camana Bay waterfront features around 40 top Cayman culinary establishments, all offering special treats to tickle the epicurean tastes of more than 3,000 attendees.
The first 3,000 adults who enter the festival will receive a Taste of Cayman Swag Bag, which includes spot prizes within the Swag Bag to give added value to attendees.
All adult tickets will be entered in the raffle drawing to win great prizes; the Grand Prize this year is a trip to Santiago, Chile, for a food and wine experience by Concha y Toro.
Other prizes include two tickets to each Cayman Airways destination, plus accommodation packages.
The raffle will be drawn in the week following the event. Children’s tickets also will be entered into a separate prize draw for fun prizes.
This year, CITA will have a new system to facilitate the people’s choice award, Cayman’s Favourite Restaurant.
Each attendee will be given a wooden coin, which allows them one vote for their favourite.
Trina Christian, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, said that during the event there will be several zoned areas which are sure to appeal to all the family.
“The Kids Zone by Kiss 106.1 will feature activities for the entire family, including games, edible crafts, bouncy castle and face painting.
If you need to cool down, the Bacardi Mojito Lounge by Elements features its own funky setting.
Don’t miss the Zen Lounge by Taikun Sushi & Veuve Clicquot Champagne with a top-shelf bar by the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, which will feature an upscale vibe with champagne reception.
“Another new feature this year is the Hot 104.1 Hangout for Tweens which will have a Wii competition and break-dancing lessons.
For those who want to kick back and view things from a hammock, they are in for a treat on Corona Island with service by Kaibo. All of this takes place in the midst of the beautiful backdrop of the waterfront setting.”
At the All Things Cayman area, you can find the heavy cake competition plus cultural entertainment including silver thatch palm demonstrations, performances by Swanky and a mini craft market, which will include Cayman Pepper Jelly and Cayman Taffy.
Ken Hydes, Camana Bay’s Town Centre Manager, added that they are pleased to be hosting Taste of Cayman for the third year.
“It has been the cornerstone of culinary events in Cayman for many years and is fast becoming one of the largest food festivals in the Caribbean.
With Camana Bay’s dining scene continuing to grow, we see this festival as the perfect event to showcase our unique culinary offerings.
“Cayman is evolving as a culinary destination within the Caribbean and as a destination within a destination Camana Bay is doing its part to add to the culinary delights.”
In 2008, the festival was modified to include an international wine tasting element. Blackbeard’s Fine Wines & Spirits will be featuring six wine tents to create a pairing for all flavours found at the festival.
Matt Bishop of Cayman Distributors said the company has a long association with Taste of Cayman and feel that Cayman has the potential to truly become a significant international culinary destination.
“We feel a genuine belief that Camana Bay is the obvious place for it, that CITA has done a wonderful job in growing this event and that we want to be a part of it in the long term ,,, as well.”
This year the festival will take place along the waterfront at Camana Bay beginning with the Main Entrance between Cayman National Bank and Ogier and spreading along the boardwalk to the Crescent, where the main stage will feature live music from local bands from the Cayman Islands Music Association, including BackBeat, EZ Street, Red White & Blues, Gary Ebanks & Intransit, Notch & Local Motion, BluWater, Bona Fide and Exile.
There’s also fireworks, drummers, Cirque du Cayman, and Derek Marshall, hypnotist. Isadora Ferrer noted that the bands will add another flavour to the event.
“This shows the cultural diversity we have in Cayman; this year we have different bands including rock and roll, contemporary music, jazz, soca, reggae and more.
It will show how much quality music you can find in Cayman and we can compete musically with anywhere else in the world plus keep a portion of our culture.”
The official T-shirt was designed by one 345, explained Luigi Moxam.
“Tastes Just Like Paradise, the limited edition t-shirt, is a vibrant and colourful concept inspired by the fact that with each sample of food and glass of wine from so many amazing vendors, serves as a fashionable reminder to us all that we are proud of what our delicious piece of paradise has to offer.”
During the event, all shops and restaurants at Camana Bay will remain open, but the Crescent and waterfront area will be closed following the lionfish tournament at 1.30pm.
The main entrance for Taste of Cayman is on Nexus Way (next to Cayman National Bank), where there will also be a ticket booth.
It is also possible to arrive by boat.
Adult ticket holders receive 14 food tickets that can be exchanged at any of the booths for portions of food; because these samples all feature different ingredients, vendors charge 1 to 4 tickets per portion.
Children’s entry tickets receive 10 food tickets.
The event runs from 5pm to 11.30pm with food served until 9pm.
Proceeds from the Taste of Cayman support the nonprofit Cayman Islands Tourism Association and their efforts to enhance the tourism industry.
Tickets are available from the Cayman Islands Tourism Association Office, Books & Books, Icoa, Paperman’s and at Big Daddy’s and Blackbeard’s stores.
Check out www.tasteofcayman.org for more information or call 949 8522.