Explore ashore! There’s no better way to discover the flavors of the different Caribbean islands than to sample your way through one or more of the many Caribbean food festivals that take place annually. Here’s ten favorites to whet your appetite.


November 1st – 30th 2015:
BVI Food Fete, British Virgin Islands
There’s a whole lot of cooking going on this month. The Taste of Tortola happens November 7th, while the Taste of Virgin Gorda is November 21st. On November 14th, the Barefoot Gourmet Soiree features a line-up of local and international chefs for an evening of fine dining at multiple stations set up in the chic setting of Deadman’s Beach on Peter Island. Finally, the month ends with the Anegada Lobster Festival November 28th to 29th. bvifoodfete.com


December 11th – 15th 2015:
Spices of the Caribbean, St. Lucia
Learn about the world of spices in a hands-on way via cooking and other culinary events led by celebrity and staff chefs at the Jade Mountain Resort. Chef Allen Susser, a James Beard award-winning chef, leads a spice blending class and more. There’s also a jerk-making class, five-course spice dinner, spicy beach burger competition and tour of the property’s spice garden. www.jademountain.com


Taste of the Caymans

February 2016:
Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival, Grand Caymans
Over thirty restaurants host booths at Camana Bay, near Seven Mile Beach. Taste-tempting selections include a variety of food and beverages. Patrons vote for their favorites with wood tokens. Last year’s winners included slow roasted goat with local calabaza and long bean salad and warm doughnuts with local passion fruit curd by restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. Chef demonstrations, live music and cultural entertainment rounds out the delicious fun. www.tasteofcayman.org


Arrowroot Jollification, St. Martin. Photo courtesy of M. Maxwell, Saint-Martin Tourism Office

February 2016:
Arrowroot Jollification, St. Martin
Dig in! Hand-harvest arrowroot in the quaint village of Colombier, located a little over one-mile east of Marigot. Once done, watch the age-old process where this tropical root vegetable is processed into a white starchy flour that has a number of culinary uses. Taste finished products like arrowroot porridge and arrowroot cookies. There’s cultural music and entertainment throughout the weekend. ass.naturevalley colombier@orange.fr


St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, USVI

April 2016:
St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, St. Croix, USVI
Celebrity and Food Network chefs star in this week-long culinary extravaganza. Meet them and eat your way through events like a Pub Crawl of Christiansted, Food Fight on the beach, Vintner’s Dinners, Sunset BBQ, Just Deserts and a Kid’s Cooking Class. Taste of St. Croix is the highlight of the week, where over 50 local restaurants set up at Divi Carina Bay Resort and offer their best dishes. Sample everything for a set price of $95 pp. stxfoodandwine.com 


Grenada Chocolate Fest, Grenada

May 13th – 22nd 2016:
Grenada Chocolate Fest, Grenada
Chocoholics will be in heaven at this week-long festival at the True Blue Bay Resort that focuses on all things chocolate. Activities include visiting the Grenada Chocolate factory, meeting local cocoa farmers, learning to make chocolate and chocolate dishes and sampling chocolate treats on the beach. There’s chocolate arts, crafts, games and even spa treatments too. www.chocolate.truebluebay.com


Taste of Bonaire, Bonaire. Photo courtesy of Tourism Corporation Bonaire

June 2016:
Taste of Bonaire, Bonaire
Taste is a series of five or more events from May to August that gives a sampling of Bonaire’s culture from music, dance, and arts and crafts to food. The big food event happens in June at the Wilhelmina Park in downtown Kralenjijk. Sample local favorites such as sorghum pancakes, goat stew and spiced rice and beans from specially set up food stalls. Bonaire’s award-winning Culinary Team is on hand whipping up more upscale dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients. There’s live music too. www.tourismbonaire.com


July 2016:
Portland Jerk Festival, Jamaica
If it can be ‘jerked’ it is at this one-day festival that celebrates the island’s most famous cooking method. Jerk chicken, pork and lobster as well as vegetables like breadfruit and crusty breads are displayed by chefs on tent covered tables. Food is served as samples or sold as a meal. Live jazz and blues at night. www.facebook.com/originsofjerk


August 2016:
Breadfruit Festival, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Feast on this South Pacific native fruit imported centuries ago to feed slaves during the plantation days. Today, over 25 varieties grow on St. Vincent, where the national dish is roasted breadfruit and fried jack fish. The festival travels from community to community each weekend during the month. Dishes available include breadfruit cheese pie, pizza, lasagna, quiche, breadsticks, candy and even drinks. Restaurants and resorts frequently feature a breadfruit dish on the menu in August. www.discoversvg.com


Fete des Cuisinieres, Guadeloupe

August 2016:
Fete des Cuisinieres, Guadeloupe
Women rule at this near century-old food festival. The cooks, dressed in traditional Creole costumes with distinctive headdresses, sing and dance down the streets of Pointe-a-Pitre with baskets of homemade foods in hand that are ultimately blessed in the local cathedral. Afterwards, the public can buy tickets and sample the buffet of traditional French and Creole-style dishes. www.guadeloupe-islands.com


Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian. 

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.