What began as a modest plan to help promote their humble island
the slow season, now promises to be an annual event that people from all
over the country will look forward to each year. Last weekend, the Caye
Caulker Village Council Marketing Committee held the first annual Caye
Caulker Cool Art & Tastefest. The weekend event was kicked-off on Friday
evening with a wine tasting and artist reception, which was hosted by
Seaside Cabañas. In a lovely poolside setting, a variety of Chilean wines
were served for sample, along with a delicious spread of appetizers that
were carefully prepared to complement each wine by Habaneros Restaurant. The
finishing touch was a mouth watering mocha-cappuccino cheesecake, prepared
by Tim Stapleton, of EAT Dessert. While the crowd mingled participating
artists displayed their work, and many enjoyed the opportunity to meet the
people behind the art. Oil paintings, photographs and pencil drawings were
some of the pieces displayed.
The Art and Tastefest was held on Saturday, with the
place at the seaside basketball pavilion, underneath a grand tent. With 22
contestants showcasing their favorite recipes and competing for title and
prizes, participants had the tough task of tasting, and judging all that was
offered. For $5 a category or $20 for all, over 200 "Tastefest judges"
sampled foods from four different categories: entrée, salad, drink and
dessert. Some judges found it so tough to pick a favorite that they were
forced to return to the table for second servings. One little boy from Caye
Caulker had to "judge" the deserts three times before deciding on a winner!
All the food was delicious and it made judging a real challenge. After
tummies and taste buds were satiated, the judges cast their votes for their
favorite foods. In some categories the competition was very close, with some
winning by just a single vote!
In the entrée category the first place award went to
the Victoria House
from San Pedro. This nationally recognized resort has an award winning
restaurant, and the Victoria House culinary staff did not disappoint. The
judges agreed that their Cumin rubbed pork tenderloin on sweet corn repas
with lime mojo and smoky plantain cream was the best of the best.
Heather Martin from Tsunami Adventures in Caye Caulker
won first place
in the salad category. Heather was encouraged by friends to enter her
signature salad in the competition, and with good reason, her Tropical Salad
was enthusiastically received by the judges! The fresh salad consisted of
Romaine lettuce tossed with local cashews, pineapple, Caye Caulker coconut,
and pineapple vinaigrette dressing.
The drink category consisted of four alcoholic drinks
non-alcoholic tea. The names for these concoctions were as colorful as they
looked. Judges had the tough duty of sampling the likes of Seaside Sunrise,
Epileptic Squid, Pink Pussy, Passionate Iguana and Mint Hibiscus Tea Cooler.
After close scrutiny the judges picked the Seaside Sunrise from Seaside
Cabañas as their number one choice. This fruity, melon flavored libation was
cool and colorful, making a perfect Caribbean cocktail.
Much to the crowds delight, there were several
desserts entries to
sample. Needless to say this category was VERY popular. The winning ballot
went to Tim Stapleton of the newly formed business, EAT Dessert. Tim's Coco
plum cheesecake was a delicious treat, and he plans to expand his business
commercially. A "cheesecake" connoisseur, some of Tim's other specialties
include Peanut butter Cup Cheesecake and a "Blue Hole" Coconut Cheesecake.
During the day artisans were on-hand, exhibiting their
unique artwork. A variety of mediums were represented, from oil paintings,
pencil and ink drawings, wood carvings, hand crafted jewelry and
Henri Dunster, who lives in Belmopan, has been drawing
Mayan ruins for
the last 30 years. Some of his intricate, detailed drawings are the only
reproductions of certain ruins and steles in Belize that have now
deteriorated beyond repair. Mr. Dunster told The San Pedro Sun that some of
his drawings have been added to historical archives to help preserve records
of these ancient structures. Mr. Dunsten was proudly exhibiting many of his
detailed pencil drawings. San Pedro's own "Island Dog", Michael Gvara, was
also there displaying his whimsical cartoon art as well as his more serious
tropical drawings. Other artists at the festival included Dorothy
Vernon-Medina, Edwin Piva, Image Factory, Manolo Daza, Michael Waight,
Nadine Pedoe, Nelson Young Jr., Nigel Swift and Pamela Braun. The art
exhibit continued through Sunday, and was well attended by people from San
Pedro and Belize City. Many of the artists noticed good sales on Sunday
Caye Caulker Village Council Chairman, Alberto
Villanueva, told The San
Pedro Sun that he was very happy with the turn out for the event. He
credited the success to the many volunteers and committee members who were
instrumental in making the weekend happen. He mentioned that Lee
Vanderwalker and Irene Miller were key players in organizing the event. Ms.
Vanderwalker said that although the project was a lot of work, the volunteer
help was tremendous and everybody did their job. The end result was very
rewarding and the Caye Caulker Marketing Committee looks forward to hosting
the event again next May.
The San Pedro Sun would like to thank the people of
Caye Caulker for
inviting us to this wonderful weekend event and for their warm and generous
hospitality. It was an honor to be your guests and we applaud the
effort to market and promote their lovely "Isla Carinosa".