10.25.2010

Tobago Blue Food Festival 2010

To a little village in the rural north of the island of Tobago they came in their thousands.
Journeying across land and sea they arrived at a now well established Festival built around one thing: a root vegetable which turns blue when cooked. Welcome to the Tobago Blue Food Festival 2010.

Stage Banner at the Festival
This was more than an opportunity to sample traditional recipes perfected, for me it was a long overdue visit to the sister isle of Tobago and drink in the splendor of a quintessential Caribbean paradise accessible by a twenty minute flight from the more industrialized Trinidad. Why did I not come to the Festival before? Why was this my first trip to Tobago for the year? The questions now irrelevant, replaced by awe, fulfillment and wonder with a pinch of shame - the shame of being so clueless for so long. 

Blue-ish Dasheen (Taro Root)
for which the Festival is named
If you are adventurous in your culinary exploits, this Event guarantees the exotic will be on the menu and it will be well prepared.

Offering from one Competitor
Varying Dasheen Punches
including Spinach/Bok-choi (Green)
Cassava, Dasheen, Dumplings & Stewed Fish w/Ochra
The Festival in it's eleventh year, held in the village of Bloody Bay (between Parlatuvier and L'Anse Fourmi in Tobago) is a showcase and an inter-village competition of food and drink prepared from the Dasheen (Taro Root). The competition is fierce and the stakes high - village pride!

Sweets and Desserts made with Dasheen
Against a Backdrop of Lush Green - Tents
and Early-bird Patrons
All that can be made from the Dasheen was made from Dasheen; alcoholic drinks, punches, fudges, cakes and pizza to name a few. In it's pure state, boiled and sliced it was served as a starch (a heavy one) in meals with meat or seafood of choice and the choices were stunning.

Curry/Stewed Iguana
Cassava, Green Bananas, Dasheen & Plantains
Presented to the judges and on sale to patrons was curried or stewed Iguana, Crab, Fish, Turtle, Agouti (of the rodent family), Manicou (Opossum) and Tattoo (Armadillo) with Ground Provisions, Dasheen or Corn Meal Dumplings and boiled Plantains.

Delicious Curried Crab
Stick to your Ribs Dumplings
The more than four thousand attendees of the event danced to live entertainment from artists like Black Stalin and Swappy, they drank from the bar and booths and munched on bush meat, seafood and traditional sweets and desserts.

Turtle Cooked in Coconut Milk
Sweet Dasheen Delights
October 17 was a Sunday of exceptional flavor and experiences with a measure of unexpected beauty. Beauty in the lush greenery surrounding the Festival Grounds, beauty in the perfect simplicity of village food and beauty in the welcoming people of Bloody Bay and surrounding villages. I will forever be changed and forever a true Blue Food fan.

Spectacular Food in a Breath-taking Location 

3 comments:

James Ng Saye said...

The festival definitely seemed well organized. The food looked tasty. Why wasn't I there again? The truth is i didn't know about the Blue FooD festivities but I wouldn't mind check in it out next year......

~Melissa said...

James,
You make an excellent point; not many Trinbagonians know much about the Festival. From what I have heard, the word is spreading, but it is my experience that it is not widely publicized. This is not a polished event but with sponsors like BMobile and a little blog that could (bellyinhand) I hope more of us will attend next year and enjoy some really great traditional food in a fantastic rural setting.

caribbeanvegan said...

Ok I am going to have a take a few hours to get through this blog but I love Dasheen and first read about this festival in the Caribbean Airlines Mag last xmas and now to have real photos from it and see the creative things with dasheen it is great
I was ref by Chennette