|All photos from the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience|
|Volunteers helping in the kitchen at Pearl B.|
This is a week long event that consists of famous chefs from all over the US, and some international ones too, who give of their time to bring scrumptious food, wine, and fun to St Croix. There are private dinners at villas here on St. Croix, “food fights” where celebrity chefs “fight” local chefs for bragging rights, wine dinners and tasting, BBQs, cooking classes for kids, etc. I would hazard a guess to say that this event is the BEST food and wine event in the Caribbean for both it’s variety of offerings as well as the caliber of chefs that come to cook for us Crucians and visitors. The biggest event for this week is the Taste of St. Croix, which is held at Divi Carina Bay Resort. The tickets for this particular event sell out within about 4 hours. We went to this last year and it was great. Everyone dresses up, dances, and eats scrumptious food from our local restaurants. The bragging rights for winning this event are tremendous. We thought about going to this again this year, but decided that with everything that we had been doing last week it would be just too much. I was sad L
|Acting as sous chef with Ana Sortun|
This year however, I volunteered to help with the Kids Cooking Classes and the Wine in the Warehouse event. I had never even attended the Kids Cooking Classes event – possibly because last year we were so busy that one more thing was just too much. This year, I was asked to help out and I did so gladly. My background is in event management and I have been wanting to get back into events on a part time basis so this was fun to do. My part was small, but totally fulfilling. I gather my volunteers and on the day of, provided support to the chefs.
Let me tell you, the classes were AWESOME! The chefs were so friendly, and it was so much fun to do. Of course, one of my volunteers was A, and she LOVED it. She loved meeting the chefs, helping to prep the food, set the tables, “work” in the kitchen and then play with her food. She is so excited about everything that they did, that last night she made the special iced tea that Ana Sortun from Oleana made with the kids during the class for her babysitter! She also got to know Evelyn Paul, another great chef that actually grew up here. By the end of the afternoon Chef Paul had become Auntie Evelyn! A is so enthusiastic about the whole day that she wants to help next year and do more – like maybe the shopping for the chefs or having them stay at our place so she can be at their beck and call! She is so cute I could just eat her up J
|enjoying her Moroccan sandwich!|
The attendees all had a great time fixing food with the chefs. There was laughter, smiles, and best off all full tummies by the time the classes were over. Everyone that I spoke to had such a great time, and some kids got to try new types of food. Ana Sortun made Moroccan sandwiches which consisted of mashed potatoes with cheese, spices, hard boiled egg, scallions, and salt. It was very tasty if I do say so myself. Evelyn Paul made Southwestern Chicken wraps and short cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Who wouldn’t like a wrap and cupcakes?! The filling for the wrap was so yummy I could have eaten it for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner and still wanted more. It had black beans in it. Really, almost anything with black beans in it will make my heart beat faster and make my stomach happy.
After cleaning up from the Kids Cooking Class, I dropped volunteers at their houses, grabbed the babysitter, and got home with enough time to change and walk out the door to go help serve wine at the Wine in the Warehouse. This event is a wine tasting where people come from all over to taste some fantastic top wines and eat great food. This is our 4th year helping out at this event and it is always fun. We talked to people from St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, Chicago, etc…. I was serving wines from the Hoffman wineries and each bottle had such a great story that it made serving and “educating” tasters a blast. S was helping to hand out water, and empty spit buckets. I am pretty sure I had the better job J There were tons of people at this second to last event, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.
If next year you have a few hours to spare, and you have children I would highly recommend attending the Cooking Classes. They are fun, support a great organization, and you get to meet some wonderful chefs that otherwise you wouldn’t see unless you were watching TV or at their restaurants. The classes are on time (a rarity here), and just plain FUN! Plus, you don’t have to clean up after your child plays with their food – we do it!
See what I mean? St. Croix is just plain hopping these days and so super busy! If you think our island paradise is sleepy – you would be right. Not, however because there is nothing to do here. But because there is so much to do that we can’t get enough sleep!
|Isn't she just adorable?|
Photo from Evelyn Paul