If the Jamaica Food & Drink Festival (JFDF) continues to raise the bar as it did with its 2017 event last week, it will certainly help to position Jamaica as a global gastronomy destination.
With seven world-class events highlighting 40+ chefs, foodies were spoiled for choice.
Naturally, the wine-focused event — Vintage — which was a delightfully delicious plated, seven-course wine dinner, prepared by international chefs Lij Heron and Cindy Hutson with superb desserts by Nadine Burie, was my preferred event.
Wines by Barton & Guestier
All wines for the 2017 Vintage event were from the Barton & Guestier (B&G) portfolio of Select Brands Limited. Founded in Bordeaux in 1725 by the Irishman Thomas Barton, Barton & Guestier is today the oldest wine merchant established in Bordeaux and offers wines from the main French wine-growing regions: Bordeaux, Loire, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Rhône Valley, Languedoc, Provence and Gascony. For this event the following wines were poured: B&G Pinot Noir, B&G Sauvignon Blanc, B&G Sparkling Blanc de Blanc, B&G Passport Provence Rosé, B&G Chardonnay, Thomas Barton St Emilion, Thomas Barton Sauternes and one of my favourite red wines, Chateau Magnol.
Two Pleasant Surprises
While all the pairings went very well, I took special notice of two. One surprise was how well the spicy Scotch Bonnet Roasted Lamb Loin paired with the 2012 Chateau Magnol Haut-Médoc, but the approach in the dish of just the perfect application of the heat and flavour of the ‘scotchie’, meant the soft tannins were not overpowered by the pepper at all.
My big surprise was how well the Poached Peppered Shrimp — Course #1 — paired with what I consider to be my (and that of many at my table) favourite JFDF drink this year — the B&G Sparkling Blanc de Blanc Cucumber Cocktail. This cocktail was a simple but wonderful creation with B&G Sparkling Blanc de Blanc and Hendrik Gin and bit of simple syrup. It was great by itself and even better with Chef Lij Heron’s Poached Peppered Shrimp. Gin is back, so some say, but that’s a topic for another column.