Sample Caribbean Cuisine, Win Prizes at ‘Taste of the Islands’ Festival, June 29 at Hyatt Regency, Miami

Experience Caribbean cuisine and culture at the Taste of the Islands festival, presented by Ask Me, Inc., taking place Saturday, June 29 from 6 – 9 pm at the Hyatt Regency, Miami. Gather information about your favorite Caribbean destinations, sample gourmet appetizers, desserts and signature cocktails, and listen to authentic Caribbean music. Participants at the festival have the opportunity to win prizes including a three-night all-inclusive stay at the Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa in St. Lucia.

Presented by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Taste of the Islands is part of the Taste of the Caribbean competition between chefs and bartenders from the region with teams from Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Taste of the Islands highlights the street foods that are common throughout the region. Each competing team is given a “protein mystery basket” with a large selection of ingredients in a common pantry. From these ingredients the teams create two savory dishes, one dessert item and one rum-based cocktail. The event is scored by the judges and counts for 20 percent of the team score in determining the medals for the “Caribbean Team of the Year” recognition.

During Taste of the Islands, consumers can vote in the “People’s Choice” awards to select their favorite culinary creations from participating teams. Consumers who vote in the “People’s Choice” awards will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win a three-night all-inclusive stay at the Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa in St. Lucia, provided by Ask Me, Inc. as well as a double magnum of Henkell Dry, courtesy of Henkell & Co.

In addition to the 10 competing teams, tourist boards from Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be exhibiting in the pavilion with vacation information about their respective countries. Event-goers will be treated to authentic Caribbean music that will be played throughout the festival. Rums of Puerto Rico will have a sampling bar for event-goers to try the different brands that comprise the Rums of Puerto Rico. Award-winning, nationally recognized Chef Allen Susser, who is also the author of The Great Mango Book, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.

Additional hotel stays will be given away throughout the night courtesy of Media Blast.

Tickets for Taste of the Islands are US$30 per person and can be purchased via www.chtatasteofthecaribbean.com, email events@caribbeanhotelandtourism.com or call (305) 443-3040 ext. 110.

You can also participate in a series of seminars on June 29, 2 – 6 pm to hone your at-home culinary skills including:

Mango Session:Presented from 2 – 3 pm by Chef Susser who will provide insight on cooking with mango, one of the Caribbean’s top fruits, which he has used in developing a tropical cuisine that led to the created of new world cuisine more than 30 years ago.

Preparing Classical Cocktails At Home – A “Hands-On” Seminar: During this seminar, participants will learn the use of professional bartender tools and how to prepare the most famous classical cocktails from Mojitos and Brazilian Caipirinhas, to the Cosmopolitan and the WW I Sidecar. Presented by Trinidadian cocktail master and 2005 Caribbean Bartender of the Year, Raakesh Madoo, this seminar will be a “hands-on” so registrants should come ready to shake, stir and strain their own cocktail creations. The session is scheduled 3:15 – 4:15 pm on June 29.

Rums of Puerto Rico Seminar: During this seminar participants will become true rum connoisseurs as they learn about the different types of rum that comprise the Rums of Puerto Rico brand. Representatives from the Rums of Puerto Rico will provide an insider look into rum’s history, rum making process, varieties of rum including light, dark, flavored and gold, and cocktails that are made with rum. The session will be held from 4:30 – 5:30 pm on June 29.

Other programs include the Junior Chef of the Year (from 8 am – 12 pm), Pastry Chef of the Year (8 am – 12 pm), Bartender of the Year – Rum (10:30 am – 1 pm) and the Ice Carving competitions (4:30 – 5:30 pm) on June 29.

Tickets for Saturday’s combined morning and daytime program, including the seminars, are US$35 per person. Purchase tickets for all of Saturday’s events, including Taste of the Islands, for $65 per person.

Follow Facebook.com/CHTATasteoftheCaribbean and Twitter.com/CHTATasteCarib.

For more information, visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com. Follow CHTA on Facebook Facebook.com/CaribbeanHotelandTourismAssociation and Twitter Twitter.com/CHTAFeeds.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

http://www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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