Taste the Island Experience

Discover Caribbean rhythms, tantalizing aromas and smiling, multi-ethnic faces at Taste the Islands Experience.

Taste The Islands Experience

Downtown Fort Lauderdale became transformed into a tropical paradise for the Taste The Islands experience (TTIX) 2019—an exciting weekend of cultural indulgences. Island nations from across the Caribbean were represented through delicious food and drink, music, demos, presentations and more. And the event hand everything you need for a tastefully unforgettable gastronomic extravaganza.

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Taste the Islands Experience

Beauties clad in Carnival costumes (left) greeted guests for a curated culinary journey. In the flagship “Island Pavilion” area, guests also hopped from Jamaica to The Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands to Barbados sampling a variety of unique foods. These tasty bites come courtesy of the chefs and mixologists presented by visiting tourism boards. Guests could sample the jerk chicken, mango and avocado “Soushi” Rolls (above) by Chef Sheron Chin of Standing Ovation Events. Or they could also try “Scallopfongo” by Chef Danny Peñalo Dominguez of Yarumba restaurant.

Taste the Islands Experience
Lines kept moving throughout, with guests grabbing samples from U.S.V.I. Chef Ralph Motta, and Bahamian mixologist Marv “Mr Mix” Cunningham. PHOTO: ANNA KEITH
Taste the Islands Experience

But this culinary affair wasn’t just about the food. Guests also loved learning more about the rum-making process during the rum sommelier presentation. And of course, the signature Culinary Museum tugged at nostalgic heart strings. The Chef Talk (above) featuring multiple TV personalities and local top chefs also gave great insight into how the culinary arts promote Caribbean culture.

Taste the Islands Experience
The always engaging Chef Irie, host of “Taste the Islands” TV show, also provided an onstage cooking demonstration with reggae artist Julian Marley. The dishes incorporated the singer’s new JuJu Royal line of CBD products. The segment, featuring CBD-infused snapper, was a hilarious extension of the popular show and introduced guests to another side of Julian Marley. Attendees also lined up to purchase his CBD products (including jerk flavored olive oil!).

Tasty Bites

Super-stylish mixologist Philip “Casanova” Antoine from Barbados also shared his unique flavor for a second year. He thrilled the audience with dance moves and tasty cocktails.

Taste the Islands Experience

Taste the Islands Experience: Where Culinary Arts Meet Culture
“Taste the Islands” co-host Chef Thia also did her cooking demo with the aid of the night’s featured musical performer J Perry. PHOTO: XAVIER RUSSELL

Taste the Islands Experience: Where Culinary Arts Meet Culture

In Restaurant Row, which featured nine of South Florida’s best Caribbean eateries, there were several standouts. Reed’s Catering, who appeared for their second year, offered a fresh conch salad that had guests enthralled by the zen-like preparation process and delighted by the results.

Taste the Islands Experience: Where Culinary Arts Meet Culture
PHOTO: Christina Esposito

In the complimentary glam and massage area, Jamaican-owned hair salon Natural Trendsetters had live mannequins showing off fabulous island looks (above), while Bahamian Rory Lee touched up makeup for the ladies throughout the warm day.


Taste the Islands Experience: Where Culinary Arts Meet Culture
Garçon Couture also showcased handsome tailored looks for men, with Haitian flair. PHOTO: ERIC GREAVES

The weather was absolutely perfect for The Taste the Islands Experience’s first-ever Brunch on the Sunny Side. Jamaican ackee and saltfish, Barbadian macaroni pie, Cuban ropa vieja and more were the tastes of the morning, alongside specialty mimosas.

A riverboat cruise concluded the weekend, as guests enjoyed the sway of the water, while admiring the architecture of homes in our own tropical paradise of Fort Lauderdale. The weekend celebration was made possible by partners like the Community Foundation of Broward, the Gre ter Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Yellow Cab of Broward County—who are all phenomenal supporters of cultural arts!

Taste the Islands Experience: Where Culinary Arts Meet Culture
Miami designer Tanya Marie also showcased a beautiful “Goddesses at Publix” collection that perfectly married the free-flowing vibe of South Florida with the elegance of high-fashion for which she is famous. PHOTO: RJ DEED


More on Caribbean Food Festivals:

Taste the Islands Experience: Where Culinary Arts Meet Culture Taste the Islands Experience: Where Culinary Arts Meet Culture Taste the Islands Experience: Where Culinary Arts Meet Culture


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