Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Jamaican BBQ

National BBQ Week

National BBQ week kicked off today and just over a week ago I enjoyed one of the most idyllic BBQ's on holiday in beautful Montego Bay. Most people can appreciate the joy of fine dining but sometimes the simpler things in life make for the best memories, and in this case it was certainly true.

A few days into my fortnight holiday with my parents and two brothers at the glorious Iberostar Rose Hall Beach , the 5 of us were already fully enjoying the fantastic food on offer at the four various restaurants. Breakfast, lunch and dinner filled us with what seemed like endless options of deicious food, some recognisable and some very much Jamaican and alien dishes to us - we really did feel spoilt for choice.

When the 'Jerk BBQ' was announced we were a little excited to see how Jamaican's enjoyed their al fresco dining compared to our typically Brit burgers and bangers fare.

We were invited to start the meal at 1230, but this was being cooked early on from around 11 on the gorgeous hotel beach, with a band of steel drums and singer setting the party tone up nicely. We listened to an array of Bob Marley classics, the smell of jerk filled the air and we tapped our feet and licked our lips expectantly.

The atmosphere on the beach was just fantastic, aside from the food and the music, everyone present was on their holidays, the sun was shining and the beach couldn't have been a more inviting setting for lunch. Whilst in the restaurants everyone stayed within their couple, family or group, here everyone was happy to sit together mixing with various strangers and just genuinely enjoying each others company.

We were promised "jerk everything" and the chefs really didn't disappoint. I chose some jerk pork, jerk chicken and jerk grouper, over which I spooned the accompanying, sticky jerk sauce which really intensified the heat and the flavours allowing the scotch bonnets to make their presence known. All was absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious.

I also had some curried goat with the obligatory rice and peas, a little salad and some coco bread, which was a new experience. I was delighted to find this Jamaican curry had a depth of flavour and a good fire to it, but the coconut cream based sauce really balanced this out to make for a very tasty curry. The meat was cooked well, was tender, flavourful and fell apart in your mouth - superb.

The rice and peas was nice and had an almost nutty taste to it, however it was very different to how I've experienced it in the UK in that it was of a much drier consistency, was great to try the authentic dish though.

Of course the salad was perfect to cool down the mouth and cleanse the palate a little with all that spice and the deliciously sweet, almost cake-like coco bread went down a treat too.
The meal was washed down with pink lemonade, rum punch and an ice cold Red Stripe beer. There was tons of other food to choose from including various salads, potatoes, coleslaws, plantain, vegetables and patties, but I wanted to save a little room as I'd already eyed the colourful and tempting array of cakes and pastries.

I went for a small orange cake and a pink and white concoction, The first was one of the lightest little orange flavoured sponges I've ever had the pleasure of trying with a segment ofjuicy orange on top - heaven. The final treat was a traditional coconut ice, tasty, very, very sweet and in all the perfect ending to a perfect meal.

Happy BBQ season people - may you all be adventurous in what you BBQ.

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