As palm trees sway around you amid the warm sea air, a jazz reggae legend is playing in the background and you’re noshing on a delightful bite of conch ceviche. You’ve started chatting with a chef you follow on social media and now you’ve got a highly credible recommendation on a great spot for local lobster. As dream meals go, this is pretty near perfect.
This is a typical scene at the annual BVI Food Fête—a month-long celebration spotlighting award-winning chefs from across the U.S. and the Caribbean—which returns for the sixth time this year. Kicking off on November 7, the events pair islands with local flavors for the ultimate combination of food, sun, and sea. The hotly anticipated lineup for 2019 includes chefs Adrianne Calvo from Miami; John Mooney from D.C.; and Kerry Heffernan of NYC. You can also taste the creations of local stars like Ariq Flax-Clarke, Brentfield Lettsome, and Digby Stridiron from St Croix.
It’s a fitting festival for the British Virgin Islands. Two years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the BVI are back to doing what they do best—enjoying the good life. In this geographically blessed archipelago of 60 islands and cays dotting the Caribbean Sea, the main islands—Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with a handful of super-exclusive private islands—are known for serving up gorgeous beaches, smooth sailing, and luxury hotels. It’s also where serious food lovers go for authentic Caribbean flavors, top-notch restaurants, and perfectly mixed cocktails.
Here’s how to do Food Fête right.
The Food Fête Events To Book Now No matter how you arrive at Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina—via ferry, private boat, or helicopter—you’ll find that the BVI Gourmet Soiree is one of the highest profile culinary events in the Caribbean. Toasting the resort’s grand reopening and the Tourism Board’s 50th anniversary, the evening is a chance to mingle with some of the hottest names in the global food scene and sample creative dishes and signature cocktails with a Caribbean spin. There’s live entertainment, and the evening caps off with a sweet dessert reception on the beach.
When: Thursday, November 7
The largest of the British Virgin Islands and its capital, Tortola serves up a mix of beach culture, fascinating history, and outdoor adventure. Enjoy the street-festival vibe of Taste of Tortola, with chef-prepared bites and a casual, upbeat, family-friendly atmosphere. Held at Queen Elizabeth II Park, the lively evening features food trucks, vendors, and local restaurants. Nosh on island favorites like crispy saltfish fritters—fried on the spot—and fish with “fungi,” a polenta-like side.
When: Saturday, November 9
For a taste of private-island cool—with legit coffee and cocktails—Cooper Island Beach Club is one of the BVI’s most stylish and eco-friendly escapes. Along with an extremely fashionable clothing boutique, an on-site brewery, and impeccably designed rooms, the resort’s well-respected Rum Bar always has more than 280 rums available, including house infusions, rare aged rums, and bottles from all over the world. At the Cooper Island Rum Festival, sip dark rums neat or enjoy tropical cocktails over ice.
When: Saturday, November 16
Raise a classic Painkiller to all the delightful iterations of pork—grilled, pulled, fried—at the Jost Pork and More on Jost Van Dyke. The island specialty takes center stage at this festive, culinary happening across the island, when local restaurants and bars turn up the heat with a bit of unofficial, friendly competition. You’ll also find ample vegetarian and alternate meat options new this season. Restaurant- and barhop at establishments from White Bay to Great Harbor and decide the delicious winner for yourself. When: Sunday, November 17
Enjoy a treat for all your senses at the Taste of Virgin Gorda. Take in front-row views of the iconic Baths—the island’s often-photographed giant boulder formations on the beach—and savor an upscale music experience headlined by jazz reggae legend Arturo Tappin. On the grounds of the Toad Hall estate, try culinary musings from German Villatoro, former executive sous chef of Rosewood Little Dix Bay; Maria Mercedes Grubb from Puerto Rico, and Karina Rivera from Miami, among others.
When: Saturday, November 23
On Anegada, a sleepy coral island with maze-like reefs and quiet beaches, you’ll find some of the Caribbean’s tastiest spiny lobster. Known for being slightly sweeter and more delicate than their large-claw cousins, they’re served grilled, curried, or even in BLT sandwich form. During the two-day Anegada Lobster Festival, eat your fill of the yummiest of all seafood at this BVI Food Fête event.
When: Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1
When planning your Food Fête experience, take advantage of special deals, such as the BVI Food Fête package at Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina, featuring a 20 percent discount on stays from November 5 to 12, as well as event tickets and complimentary ferry service to the Taste of Tortola when booked by October 4.
The BVI Food Fete, from November 7–December 1, is a month-long celebration of culinary creativity on the white-sand shores of the British Virgin Islands. Whether you’re tasting tantalizing creations at this one-of-a-kind food festivals or sipping Caribbean cocktails by a beach bonfire, there’s no end to the vibrant culture and scenic beauty of this event. For more information on the islands visit BVI Tourism.