Thursday, March 19, 2015

Festival Rum Bahamas 2015: The Food

Paul "Rhum Chef" Yellin
Festival Rum Bahamas offered a menu featuring local cuisine, served up fresh with compliments by a couple world renowned chefs. It is not easy (or accurate) to talk local or authentic Caribbean cooking without talking about Rum. Each country has their own variation on a theme and from Bahamas to Barbados, rum is part of the social fabric that sets the table. Try talking French cuisine without cheese or Indian without mentioning a spice. Seriously, it's just wrong and plus, the thought of no rum? Yeah, let's not go there... One thing is certain, those who breached the walls of Fort Charlotte were in for a king's feast with a view! Our last article, "All The Rum", showcased the liquid highlights in the Festival that is a celebration of Rum, Food and Culture. This article, the second of our three part series, sharpens the focus on Food. Separate them I try, but the lines of distinction often blur nicely, particularly after a few tasty rums, so I make no apologies for any 'off topic' photos along the way. Grab your glass, lick your lips and enjoy!

Paul Yellin, one of the chefs, is Bajan, trained and talented. If you were lucky enough to find a seat at the two rum & food seminars he gave at the Festival, everything else would have seemed like bonus. I have visited Paul several times now and each time we meet, I am more impressed; partly by his down-to-Earth nature, but mostly by how magical the hand-to-mouth experience is when the food is served shortly thereafter!

Paul prepared a rumtastic menu to enjoy. Oh, and his seminars were FREE...jus' sayin! Oh yeah!!

Take a peak at the selection of rums!

The Menu:



Good God Man! 

It seemed as though each plate that arrived changed flavor, texture and tone, all the while improving on the previous and slowly, but surely building towards...

3rd: HERB BAKED LIONFISH in a rich seafood Creole sauce paired with El DORADO 3yr RUM

wait for it.....



5th: CHOCOLATE RUM BALLS rolled in pralines paired with BLACKWELL RUM

6th: CHOCOLATE & BACON bites paired with OLD BRIGAND RUM
(sorry no photo: photographer was busy eating it! Tasty!!)

Thank you Paul Yellin for the exquisite pairing and hope to see you again next year!!

Ladies and gentlemen, this was but one of the rum and food pairing seminars to attend and I haven't even started on the food booths throughout the Fort! 

The bottles hanging in the trees created a wonderful ambiance surrounding the entrance to Alexandra's at the Fort. A loose collection of food booths featuring a variety of different delectable dishes, it was the beginning of the foodie trail. Fresh conch salads to grilled meat, this was the spot.


Just a few steps away, the folks from Gone Fish'n had grills on swole, Chicken, steak, pork and fish, all grilled up Bahamian style. Oh and did I mention all their house-made marinades. Boom!

Put it in my belly!!!

Care for a healthy serving of grilled salmon in a burger?

Oh, and an ice cold local craft beer didn't sound like a bad idea either. Pirate Republic is a new brewing company with a nice selection. I'm told by their CEO, Susan Larson, a few more styles are coming soon.

A few booths away, you could take your pick...

Whether you were interested in the savory or the sweet, Festival Rum Bahamas had you covered!

In the heat of the day, fresh pressed sugar cane juice or Guarapo is refreshing and delicious. Island Cane was crushing it up right. I didn't hesitate to mix it with a little rum!

Rum and desserts are notorious in these parts. However, when they are signed, Confectionately Yours, well...

You eat it happily!

Drunken Guava: Guava cupcake infused with dark rum and 
topped with guava rum buttercream frosting

Rum cupcakes are a perfect treat, but have you tried Rum Cakes from the Bahamas Rum Cake Factory?? Moist and full of love they stand out above the rest. More on this local shop coming soon...

Best enjoyed hot, sticky sweet...

Well, if one rum & food seminar wasn't enough awesome, there was another fabulous pairing offered, which one could simply sit in on. No registration, no lines, just grab a seat. I stress this, as these food & rum pairing seminars were free to anyone, included in your admission price. Seating was key, not surprisingly, for when Chef Geoffrey Blythe and Carlton Grooms (Director at Papa's Pilar, co-founder of International Rum Council), the authors of the game-changing "Rum & Contemporary Cuisine" took the stage atop Fort Charlotte, no seat was left unfilled. In fact, many simply stood to listen and look out for extras samples!

A perfect atmosphere for listening to a world-class chef and rum connoisseur/producer talk about what they love, whilst sipping rum and tasting their gourmet rum-focused cuisine. A light breeze caressed our backs under shade in 80 F degrees (27 C) heat.

The Rum Kitchen

1st: Agricole and shrimp chowder featuring Rhum J.M  
Grassy herbaceous flavors of the rhum along with the heat from the white rhum merge wonderfully with the creamy flavors and richness of the pancetta without overpowering the subtle flavors in each.
-Geoffrey Blythe

Yes Please!

In this brilliant four dish experience, the following pairings came next:

2nd: Roast Root Vegetable Salad paired with Bambarra Gold Rum

3rd: Five Spice Pork Belly paired with confit pineapple paired with AFROHEAD 7yr Rum

The sweet caramel notes of the AFROHEAD and youth of the rum combine well with the richness of the pork and spice notes of the sauce. The tropical flavors of the pineapple further bring out the depth of the rum.
-Geoffrey Blythe

4th: Rum Marshmallow S'mores paired with Plantation Trinidad & Tobago Original Dark Rum

One of the guests figured it out alright!!

Well done Geoffrey Blythe and Carlton Grooms!!

After the seminar, I tried to gather my thoughts and emotions about the food I enjoyed and the superb quality of this event as I looked out over the Fort's wall.

Beautiful Bahamas!

As the sun went down and night took over, the real party had just begun!

Stay tuned for the final article, Festival Rum Bahamas 2015: The Culture



  1. I really enjoyed NYC venues and you can definitely find me here for more events. I didn't eat anything when on my recent visit, but those around me had truffle fries, pizza, and wings all seemed to enjoy.

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  4. Ok I try again, this looks wonderful and Paul`s food looks amazing! I hope to try his food and drinks did I miss this post is beyond me...

  5. It is always good to have an idea about what you want to eat before you call and place the order. Chinese food menus typically divide menus by main ingredients in dish.

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