The islands of the Caribbean are famous for several things: pristine white beaches, warm and sunny climates, friendly locals and delicious, fresh food.
The Cayman Islands is known throughout the region as the culinary capital of the Caribbean and every January, residents and tourists alike can sample an abundance of the islands’ offerings at the Taste of Cayman Food and Drink Festival. This year, all are welcome at the Festival Green, Camana Bay, on Saturday to sample a variety of dishes and beverages, followed by a concert until midnight.
Born in the late ‘80s, Taste of Cayman is the largest annual fundraiser for the Cayman Island Tourism Association (CITA). The festival has grown from a small gathering of restaurants that would meet in a field to compete in a Chili Cook Off, into Cayman’s largest foodie gathering with thousands of festival goers attending. They come from far and wide to taste the offerings from over 40 restaurants, bars and vendors.
A favorite in Cayman’s social calendar, the festival celebrates its 29th year in 2017, following a recent evolution in its name. It has been re-branded from the “Food and ‘Wine’ Festival” to be the “Food and ‘Drink’ Festival,” reflecting the wide range of beverages, including wine, cocktails and smoothies on the menu.
Restaurants, bars and vendors from around the island come together for this culinary celebration, serving up delicious dishes and drinks. There is also a great lineup of live entertainment scheduled as well as fireworks, the Mixology and traditional Heavy Cake competitions, live chef demonstrations, immersive culinary experiences and much more.
Oldies and newbies
This year’s Taste of Cayman will bring back several crowd favorites from past years, including The Westin’s Beach House, Wok-N-Roll, Cimbocco and Rum Point Club. The festival is also welcoming many newcomers to the event, including Vivo and Coccoloba from the recently opened Kimpton Seafire Resort. The district winner of the recent Gimistory Fish Fry competition receives their own booth at the festival, allowing them to showcasing their talent. From gourmet masterpieces to urban street-food, vegan delights to exquisite cocktails, Taste of Cayman offers something for everyone’s taste.
“It’s incredible to see how the event has grown from humble roots into the event it is today,” says Tiffany Dixon-Ebanks, executive director of CITA. “As we grow, we continue to reflect the diversity of Cayman’s culinary offerings, with new vendors coming on board year after year.”
“Each restaurant and bar brings with them their own stories, alongside the delicious and diverse food offerings they proudly serve. The festival is a true combination of the islands’ best cuisine.”
As in years prior, there will be live music on a grand scale to add to the atmosphere at the event. If you’ve been eating all day, you’re invited to either sit and just drink in the performances, or get up and dance some of the calories off.
Local band 7 Miles Long will open the night with a dynamic set of tunes, proving why they are a top choice for parties and corporate events.
Then the tribute acts will take to the big stage, including a David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga and Madonna tribute. Something for everyone! Get a good spot on the green so you don’t miss a moment.
When you visit the Taste of Cayman Festival, make sure to stop by the Flava magazine photo booth. Grab one of the many supplied props, strike a pose, and look for your image on the Facebook page. Those with the most “Likes” will win fabulous prizes! Maybe you’ll even get to meet the mascot from The Best Dressed Chicken. It’s clucking good fun.
Tickets can be bought at tasteofcayman.org or at Bon Vivant, Funky Tang’s, Tower Marketing and all Digicel stores. Tickets are $40 for adults ($50 at the gate) and $20 for children 5-13 years old, and include 10 food and drink tickets). Children under 5 years old are free. VIP tickets are $150 and include entry to the VIP Hospitality Lounge, 25 food and drink tickets, one experience voucher, welcome drinks and canapés, express entry and a private cash bar.