We all know that Trinidad & Tobago is a culinary powerhouse, fueled by a rich food culture, but there’s something special about seeing home through fresh eyes. So when the Tourism Development Co. (TDC) invited us to meet U.S. journalists here for a food-focused press trip organised by the Tourism Development Co. and the THA Division of Tourism we jumped at the opportunity.
Our first meet up with the journalists was at the Hyatt Trinidad over “Trini Barrels,” crafted with Angostura Single Barrel Rum, passion fruit and orange juice and a dash of Angostura Bitters. A delightfully local menu followed for dinner — Souse with Pommecythere Chutney; Coconut Curry Goat with Masala Mango; Pimento Marinated Snook with Cassava Oil Down & Spicy Tomato Choka; Rum-Infused Chocolate Pudding and Barbadine Ice Cream.
The next evening yielded a special Rum & Chocolate tasting at the venerable House of Angostura, a company replete with its own rich culinary history. Ooohs and ahhs floated ’round the room between sips of 1919 Rum and bites of rum-infused cutters and Cocobel Chocolate‘s bonbons. “Trinidad and Tobago has a culinary story that needs to be told,” said one journalist as she reflected on all the culinary sights and local dishes tasted in the last few days.
Angostura’s Global Ambassador Daniyel Jones added a little drama to the evening with his interactive cocktail demonstration, which was so compelling that we were encouraged to watch his presentation by a reporter who said, “you just have to see this and hear the story behind this cocktail.”
And, what a story it was. Explaining his role at Angostura, Daniyel passionately schooled us on the history of the rums and bitters in his cocktail concoctions. We were all impressed by his commitment to utilizing local ingredients and tools, including a hand-crafted cinnamon smoker (that he made!) to infuse the cocktail with cinnamon.
Wistful at the end, we didn’t want the foodie evening to end.
All this foodie love made us wonder how much does the average Trinbagonian know about local dishes and drinks. Sure most of us love doubles, roti and callaloo and Sunday lunch means dishes enjoyed since time and memorial, but what about the local ingredients like dasheen, coconut, cassava, and chocolate that make the cuisine so special?
What about our fantastic local food artisans like COCOBEL CHOCOLATE (bonbons, bark, 70% dark chocolate), DEL MANO (pestos and sausages), DOLCE VALLE (cheeses and yogurts), ZABOUCA BREADS or SOULAR (sun dried bananas and cacao nibs)?
These artisans are turning out food products far superior to the mass-produced or imported goodies we regularly buy in the supermarkets.
When’s the last time you reached for dasheen in the market or made a cup of tea from the Tobago Cocoa Estate’s balls? Or have you ever visited the House of Angostura or toured the Tobago Cocoa Estate?
These questions, the possible answers and frankly the growing international interest in Trinidad & Tobago’s cuisine and food scene have renewed our commitment to showcasing our local food artisans, chefs, mixologists and all the people and institutions that help bring local talent and foods to the forefront.
We can’t wait to show you more of what makes this country a true culinary powerhouse!
RELATED LINKS (articles from visiting journalists on this trip and TDC):
- Foodie Friday: Trinidad & Tobago’s Street Food 101, October 25, 2013 – Sherman’sTravel.com
- Meet the culinary stars of Trinidad and Tobago, and learn their food preparation secrets, October 28, 2013 – TheGrio.com
- Trinidad and Tobago: Plan a couple’s or girlfriends’ getaway, November 1, 2013 – TheGrio.com
- Trinidad & Tobago: The New Foodie Destination, November 16, 2013 – MyLAlifestyle.com
- International Journalists get a Taste of Trinidad and Tobago – Tourism Development Company Limited