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Mrs Rowley hails Spices Curry Festival

SARIKA BHAGERATTY Sunday, August 13 2017

Dignitaries were amongst the crowd of curry fanatics who came out in their numbers yesterday to celebrate the first ever Spices Curry Festival on the Chaguaramas Boardwalk.

The festival was a literal feeding ground for curry cookers and connoisseurs alike. An initiative by the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA), it showcased curry manifested in its many forms from curry duck to coconut-curry ice cream, as well as produce from local farmers and live entertainment.

Blending into the band of patrons was Sharon Rowley, wife of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (who is in Barbados), joined by daughters Sonel and Tonya, who visited each booth sampling most of what was offered such as pholourie and coconut- curry ice cream.

“This is an excellent initiative and perhaps there will be more like it in the future,” Rowley said.

“From the turn out it looks like it will be a success.” Also relishing in the festivities was Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat and CDA chairman Narine “Gupte” Lutchmedial.

While perusing the authentic Indian cuisine offered by Rasam’s Multi-Cultural Restaurant, Rambharat mirrored Rowley’s sentiments.

“[The festival] is very nice and anything that includes food, fruits, and local goods, I’m happy to support it,” Rambharat said. “I would like to see what is going to come.” Accompanying Rambharat, Lutchmedial expressed his pleasure with the use of the boardwalk for the family-friendly event.

“I’m happy that they’re using the boardwalk during the time for holiday because it’s made for recreation,” Lutchmedial said. “It’s a great initiative.” According to CDA acting general manager Deowattee Dilraj-Batoosingh, the festival was created with the hopes of encouraging citizens to enjoy the boardwalk and its facilities in a safe and secure environment while helping small business owners.

“We are trying to support local entrepreneurship and provide an avenue for people in these hard economic times to showcase their food,” Dilraj-Batoosingh said.

The festival comprised three villages– Trinbago, Asian, and Creative– each of which used curry in their own way.

The Trinbago Village housed 103.1FM Curry Duck champions, Muddaduckers, who drew a huge crowd with their famous curry duck and pepper roti. Rasam’s Multi-Cultural Restaurant at the Asian Village prepared curry in an authentic Indian, Thai, Hakka, and continental, offering patrons a global experience, while the Creative Village housed chefs who experimented with curry in non-conventional ways. It is in this village that citizens ventured to Sundaes and Things, the home of the famous coconut-curry ice cream.

“The idea for the curry ice cream came out of the Divali Nagar last year,” manager of Sundaes and Things, Otis Diaz, said. “People are so curious about the ice cream and many are amazed by the curry and how new flavours can bring delight.” Curry lovers were not disappointed as many favourites such as curry goat, kerala fish curry, and doubles were available. Bringing the flavour of the sister isle to the festival was De Jeuner’s which offered authentic Tobagonian cuisine such as traditional curry crab and dumplings, conchs, and callaloo.

With the constant flow of patrons, it was evident that the festival was a hit.

“Because of how things have been in the country, it’s nice for people to come out and [the festival] promotes family togetherness,” said patron, Margurete Alexander.

“I hope this festival continues because it adds some life to the area and gives people pride for their country.”

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