So this year was my first year attending "A Taste of St. Croix" (simply known as, "the Taste") as a local food advocate and blogger. And honestly, I had very little idea what to expect and do other than I knew that I wanted to attend the event with one goal in mind: Seek out and find the local food, and report on it.
It all goes down…April 18th, 2013 at the Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino from 6 to 9 p.m.
with Car Rentals, Sailing Trips, Tickets to Events Featuring Celebrity Chefs and More…
Hotels offer flavorful packages for the 2013 St. Croix Food & Wine Experience. Priced from $799 for three nights at the boutique Hotel Caravelle to $2990 for five nights at the luxurious Buccaneer Resort, packages offer an opportunity to explore the island, sample delicious food and wine and see celebrity and island chefs team together to raise funds for non-profit programs. St. Croix Food & Wine events occur April 14 – 20, 2013.
St. Croix Food & Wine Experience
Hotels on the sun-soaked island of St. Croix have announced fun-filled and flavorful packages for the 2013 St. Croix Food & Wine Experience. From three night packages to week-long stays, each vacation package offers a different experience during the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience. Hotel taxes and service charges are additional unless noted. Packages need to be booked with the hotel. Packages are as follows:
$2,990 Five nights, double occupancy
The Buccaneer Culinary Getaway is $2,990 includes five nights in oceanview accommodations, a five-day car rental, 2 tickets to A Taste of St. Croix, a culinary welcome turn-down amenity plus full American breakfast daily, welcome cocktail, live music entertainment nightly and much more. The Buccaneer offers two beaches, three restaurants, tennis, golf, a spa and 340-acres of oceanfront paradise. To book the Buccaneer Culinary Getaway Package call 800-255-388.
$799 Three nights, double occupancy
The waterfront Hotel Caravelle, located in the historic town of Christiansted, is offering a three-night package (April 17, 18, 19) based on double occupancy in a deluxe ocean-front room. The package is $799 and includes two tickets to A Taste of St Croix, breakfast daily and a relaxing sailing trip to Buck Island National Park. To book call Hotel Caravelle at 340-773-0687.
Divi Carina Bay Resort
$1344 Three nights, double occupancy
Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort offers the “Early Bird Taste” room package for this year’s 2013 St. Croix Food & Wine Experience. The deal features a discounted room rate from April 13 through the 20th, oceanfront accommodations, all meals and beverages plus a ticket to the Taste of St. Croix, the wildly popular sampling and sipping event, which will once again be held on the resort’s beachfront on Thursday evening, April 18th. The package is $224 per person per night, based on double occupancy, with a three-night stay required. The booking window for the “Early Bird Taste” package is now until January 31, 2013. Book by calling 877-773-9700 and use code TOSC2013.
Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa
$1280 Four nights, double occupancy
Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa, a beachfront resort with tennis, golf and more, offers a four-night stay in deluxe guest room accommodations for their St. Croix Food & Wine Package. The offer includes two tickets to ‘A Taste of St. Croix’ on Thursday, April 18, full breakfast daily for two, as well as a welcome drink and VIP Food & Beverage amenity. The package is $1280 for four nights, double occupancy, including taxes and service charges. To book the package, call Carambola at 888-503-8760 or 340-778-3800 or reservations (at) carambolabeach (dot) com.
Tamarind Reef Resort
$1190 Four nights, double occupancy
The beachfront Tamarind Reef Resort offers a four-night package for the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience that includes an ocean view room, two tickets to the Galleon Wine dinner on Wednesday, April 17 and two tickets to A Taste of St. Croix on Thursday, April 18. As an added bonus, guests who book the package receive two signature Tamarind Reef Resort t-shirts. On-site amenities include the Tamarind Spa with massage, skin and nail care; freshwater pool; tennis courts; beach with kayak and snorkel equipment, sailing charter boats to Buck Island, as well as the casual Deep End restaurant and the award-winning Galleon restaurant. To book the package, call Tamarind Reef Resort at 800-619-0014.
The schedule for the 2013 St. Croix Food & Wine Experience includes everything from wine dinners to cooking classes with celebrity chefs and talented island chefs. Celebrity chef guests include Josef DeSimone, Paula DaSilva, Todd Gray, Mike Lata and Simon Stojanovic. For a detailed list of events and to purchase tickets to additional events, visit http://www.stcroixfoodandwine.com or http://www.tasteofstcroix.com. Follow the fun and receive updates at facebook.com/STCROIXFoodandWineExperience / facebook.com/ATasteofStCroix and on Twitter @STXFoodandWine.
About the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience
The St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, named one of the Ten Best International Food and Wine Festivals by Forbes Travel, showcases the diverse cuisine and wine available on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. The multi-day event includes gourmet dinners, wine seminars, wine auctions, and the annual culinary competition, A Taste of St. Croix. The event benefits the St. Croix Foundation (http://www.stxfoundation.org), a non-profit community foundation that serves the entire US Virgin Islands in the areas of education, historic preservation, community and economic development. The event was started in 2001 by restaurant owners Katherine Pugliese of Eat@CaneBay, and Kelly Odom of Tutto Bene, and is recognized as the pre-eminent food and wine event in the Caribbean. For more information visit stcroixfoodandwine.com or tasteofstcroix.com.
Source: (PRWEB) December 18, 2012
BY JOHN BAUR — APRIL 20, 2012
The Taste of St. Croix is more than another food event, said Roger Dewey, president of the St. Croix Foundation and one of the sponsors of the event. And many of the attendees echoed that sentiment.
“Everything is so intense, so flavorful.”
The Forbes online travel site, Forbestravel.com, has named the 12-year-old Taste of St. Croix one of the 10 best food events in the world. The Taste of St. Croix has become the highlight of a week-long slate of food events sponsored by the St. Croix Foundation, raising funds to support both charitable work and to support such local food programs like the St. Croix Culinary Team and the food education program at the Career Training and Education Center at the St. Croix Educational Complex.
Dewey said the influence of the festival has spread beyond a single day at the eastside Divi resort. It’s now the third biggest event on the island’s calendar, trailing only the two traditional big events, the Crucian Christmas Festival and the Ag Fair, he said, adding that merchants have told him the sale of women’s shoes and fashions spike in the weeks leading up to the event, as more and more women want to dress up and make it a special night out.
About 1,800 tickets were sold at $95 apiece, and if the crowd seemed slightly down this year, as several regular attendees commented, given the state of the local economy and the price of the ticket it was still a strong showing.
A panel of judges including celebrity chefs from around the U.S. and the Caribbean judged the offering of 54 restaurants, caterers, taverns, school food programs and other purveyors of comestibles. Each entrant brought plates of their specialty to be photographed and placed before the judges.
With looks of intense concentration the judges studied, then tasted, each of the dishes in their area of specialty and rated them.
At one point judge Merlin Verier, executive chef at Chicago’s Grahamwich and a culinary consultant in the city, looked up and told another judge that the biscuit he was eating was “the best I’ve ever had.” Word of that comment brought smiles to the crew from the Blue Water Terrace, which had served them up.
One winner was a new eatery on the Christiansted boardwalk, John Eddie’s Lowlife Bar and Refuge. Jesse Card created an award-winning beverage he calls the Bonfire Old Fashioned. His secret ingredient is smoke.
He mixed Cruzan Rum with mango and pineapple juice, and then blew smoke into the concoction, which lent a noticeable bite to the drink.
The winners of the event were:
Appetizers: First place, The Galleon; second, Pirate’s Tavern; third, Beachside Cafe.
Entrees: First, The Galleon; second, Tavern 1844; third, Carambola Golf Club.
Soup/Stew: First place, Palms at Pelican Cove; second (tie) Reminisce Restaurant and H2) Hibiscus Resort; third, Schooner Bay Marketplace.
Dessert: First place, Pirate’s Tavern; second, St. Croix Central High School Culinary Arts Class; third, Starfish Patisserie.
Local fare: First place, Ridge to Reef Farm; second, Savant, third, Tutto Bene.
Vegetarian: St. Croix Central High School Cooking Class; second, Rowdy Joe’s Northside Eatery; third, St. Croix Central High School Culinary Arts Class.
Beverage: First place, John Eddie’s Lowlife Bar and Refuge; second, Country Snack Stand; third place, VLP Enterprises.
Best Presentation: Tutto Bene; runner-up, Schooner Bay Marketplace Catering.
People’s Choice: Rum Runners and Carambola Golf Club.
BY FIONA STOKES (DAILY NEWS STAFF)
Published: April 20, 2012
ST. CROIX – In an atmosphere of excitement, the smell of varying dishes fused together to create a culinary carnival across the beachfront as the sounds of laughter, calypso music and sizzling dishes blended in the night at the 12th annual Taste of St. Croix.
The Taste of St. Croix started 12 years ago as a small celebration of local restaurants and food. Organized by Katherine Pugliese and Kelly Odum, the event has grown into a week-long gala and fundraiser.
More than 60 restaurants and caterers lined up along the length of Divi Carina Bay Resort, wrapping around the pool and deck and tempting the attendees with their delicious cuisine. An anxious crowd awaited the 6 p.m. start, when chefs began to share sample portions of tasty dishes that ran the gamut in every possible way.
Some of the night’s favorites were okra papaya risotto with a piña colada salsa and lemon grass dressing; seafood and pumpkin chowder; coconut and curry ital; conch soup; pork wraps; grilled salmon; sushi; confetti rice; pork sliders; quesadillas; kallaloo; oxtail; fungi; and lionfish.
Kurt Blanche hesitantly bit into his fried lionfish, prepared by the Good to Chew students, but then he smiled and nodded in approval. “It actually tastes really good to be an ugly lionfish,” he said. It tasted like a nice meaty fish, he said.
For fans of sweets, offerings included raspberry mousse; passion fruit cheesecake; bread pudding; flan; chocolate cake; spice cake; rum cake; and cookies.
Tara Petersen said it was her first time at the Taste, and she was overwhelmed seeing the amount of food and the lovely presentations.
“I have never, ever been to anything like this before,” she said. “My mouth is very happy right now.”
The event is the centerpiece of the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience and is organized by the St. Croix Foundation. It has grown to be the biggest fundraiser for the organization and has continuously brought in millions of dollars for other non-profit organizations and projects.
Roger Dewey, executive director of the foundation, said he is pleased by how the event has grown during the years and how it has become regarded with high esteem. The event has been voted as one of the top 10 food and wine events in the world, and Dewey is very proud of that, he said.
The foundation was started in the wake of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and has taken on a number of community improvement projects, according to Dewey.
“If it was not for the work we do, many of the organizations we help would not be able to do the work that they do,” he said. “But if you did not do what you do to help us, we would not be able to help them.”
Pugliese said she was star-struck Thursday night by the talent of celebrity chefs who were visiting for the event. They all graciously agreed to be part of the event, and they all have been so impressed by the Crucian warm welcome that they vowed to spread the word about the island, she said.
Every year the event is dedicated to an individual who has made an impact on the industry, but this year, the organizers decided to dedicate the event to the entire St. Croix community because of their spirit of resilience and unity even in trying times, Pugliese said.
The V.I. Tourism Department is a sponsor of the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience and hosted 12 food and travel writers to experience and write about St. Croix, its culture and its people.
Celebrity chefs such as Gorvind Armstrong, Ana Sortun, Robert Trevino, Eric Greenspan and Evelyn Paul were among the VIP judges for the event and also participated in a week of dinners, food and wine pairings, competitions and crawls and event demonstrations with students.
Paul, who was born on St. Lucia and raised on St. Croix, said it was a joy for her to return for the Taste. As a personal chef for many celebrities, she has seen a lot and done a lot, but it was great for her to spend some time with the students in the culinary program at C-tech to see how much they have really grasped, she said.
“They were phenomenal. I was really impressed by how much they knew and how much they embraced the art,” said Paul, who will cook with the students today for the barbecue.
Sortun first came to St. Croix 15 years ago and said that much has changed, but she is glad to be back. The genuine hospitality and the beauty of the turquoise water and lush green hills keep her thinking that it is too good to be true, she said.
Although the Taste of St. Croix has passed for 2012, the culinary carnival continues with the Fork and Cork and Sunset BBQ today; Kids Cooking and Wine and the Warehouse on Saturday; and Cuisine on the Green wrapping up the week on Sunday.
The majority of the week’s proceeds go to the St. Croix Foundation and support Sunset Jazz, Christiansted Jump Ups, the V.I. Culinary Team, the Career and Technical School culinary program and culinary industry training and many of the community enhancement projects on St. Croix and throughout the territory.
For more information about the event or to get tickets for remaining events this week, call the foundation at 773-9898 or visit www.stcroixfoodandwine.com.
More than 60 local restaurants and caterers turned out with their culinary masterpieces Thursday night at the 12th Annual Taste of St. Croix.
Judges looked at presentation, creativity, taste, texture, composition and overall dish. By the end of the night, the celebrity chefs had determined winners in eight categories, with one restaurant winning the two most prominent prizes of Best Appetizer and Best Entree. Festival attendees also voted for the People’s Choice award, and for the first time, two winners tied for the coveted prize.
Best Appetizer – The Galleon
Best Entree – The Galleon
Best Soup/Stew – Palms at Pelican Cove
Best Dessert – Pirate’s Tavern
Best Local Fare – Ridge to Reef Farm
Best Vegetarian – Central High School
Best Beverage – John Eddie’s Lowlife Bar
Best Presentation – Tutto Bene
People’s Choice – Rum Runners; Carambola Golf Club.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.