Love curry chicken? Curry goat? Head to the Westmoreland Curry Festival this weekend!
The Westmoreland Curry Festival 2013 is the premier annual curry food show in the Caribbean and this will be Westmoreland's 13th annual event. It's a major fundraiser for the Manning's School and other worthy charities in Westmoreland Parish. Over 10,000 local and international visitors patronize the festival every year.
The festival is a family fun-fest with face painting, a children's play area, and craft and vendor booths. It appeals to adults as well with enjoyable evening music entertainment by popular local reggae and gospel artistes. And, of course, curry, curry and MORE curry!
Chefs from across the island showcase their signature curry dishes. They range from traditional dishes such as curried goat, chicken, shrimp etc. to the more adventurous, such as curry octopus curry conch in sorrel, and even curry grater cake. Curry goat (my all-time favorite!) is KING, of course, but there are always plenty of other foods to choose from. Seafood dishes are popular as well, so be sure to try some curried crab, curried octopus, curried conch and curried fish.
Where and when?
The Westmoreland Curry Festival will take place on Sunday, April 28, 2013 at the Manning's School (celebrating 275 years since its founding in 1738) on Beckford Street in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland (a pleasant 30 minute drive from Negril). There is adequate paid parking. The gates open at 11:00am and continues until the party ends! Keep up to date with the festival and the scheduled performers on Facebook.
At the gate, tickets are J$1,000 (about US$10) for adults and J$300 (about US$3.00) for children. Advance tickets are available for J$700 at:
- Royale Pharmacy, Rose Street, Sav-La-Mar
- Fontana Pharmacy in Sav-La-Mar, Kingston, Montego Bay & Mandeville
- National Travel Service in Sav-La-Mar, Negril & Lucea
- Manning's School at the Westmoreland Curry Festival Office
Entertainers scheduled to appear include Beenie Man, Tifa, Spice, Baby Tash, Ken Boothe, Ernie Smith, Lovindeer and others.
Curry in Jamaica??
So how did Jamaicans come to love so much curry anyway? When Spain lost Jamaica to the British in 1655, the British transformed much of the island into sugar plantations. About a century later the slave trade diminished and many laborers came to the island from places like China and East India. Apparently the parish of Westmoreland had a particularly high concentration of Indian immigrants - and with them came their cuisine! Jamaica is well-known today for its spicy food, and Indian spices (such as curry) compliment the distinct flavors of Jamaica's own wonderful spices. Today, of course, the festival features the curried culinary influences from the Amerindians, West Africans, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, English, and Lebanese as well. As the Jamaican motto says - "Out of many, one people"!