Long known for its azure waters and white sand beaches, the Turks & Caicos Islands is now luring travelers from around the globe for its cultural and diverse culinary experiences, top chefs, and food festivals. From street food to fine dining, the destination offers visitors a chance to savor the island this fall with a tasty selection of culinary adventures.
The Caribbean Food & Wine Festival (November 1 – 4, 2018) is the pride and joy of the Turks and Caicos Islands culinary community. Hosted by Grace Bay Resorts, The Wine Cellar and the Turks & Caicos Tourist Board, the four-day affair pairs internationally renowned chefs and winemakers with the destination’s local talent for an authentic and avant-garde celebration of Caribbean cuisine. In its eighth year, the exclusive event features an array of dining experiences across Providenciales with Guest Chefs Andrew Pern, who is known for creating England’s first “gastropub” at The Star Inn at Harmone, and Shaun O’Neale, Season 7 Champion of MasterChef
The Turks & Caicos Conch Festival (November 24) celebrates one of the islands’ national symbols and main export, the conch. The festival, which began in 2004 as a way to bring visitors to the Blue Hills area, one of three original settlements on Providenciales, is now a yearly tradition. The family-friendly gathering features conch recipe competitions, games and raffles.
Foodies can explore a wide array of conch dishes from salads to stews all prepared by local chefs. The festival is free to attend, but guests may purchase a tasting pass to sample all conch dishes on display at the event. The weekend starts early in the Turks and Caicos at the weekly Thursday Night Fish Fry. Held at Bight Park (near Grace Bay Beach) from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the fish fry is the best way for visitors to experience the culture and flavors of the islands with sounds of ripsaw, local crafts, and delicious food and drinks. Island specialties such as grilled lobster, conch fritters, and freshly caught fish are cooked on the spot. Be sure to stay for the Junkanoo parade for a complete cultural celebration.
Visitors looking to create their own authentic Caribbean cuisine experience can create an itinerary that takes them from farm-to-table with a selection of unique chef-driven kitchens. In the heart of Grace Bay, Crackpot Kitchen by Chef Nikita O’Neil Skippings, who is the culinary ambassador for Turks & Caicos Islands, pays homage to the destination’s heritage with a menu that features curry goat, Guinness stew oxtails, and fish and waffles. For a one-of-a-kind private dining experience, enjoy an evening with Chef Lorraine on the Frenzdeck where she opens her home for an eight-course “ItalFusion Cuisine” dining experience using fresh vegetables and
herbs grown in her own organic garden that will woo anyone’s palette. And to satisfy your conch craving, head over to famous beachfront restaurant Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl located on the south side of Providenciales, to find a tasty selection of seafood, including plenty variations of conch dishes such as conch fritters, cracked conch, conch salads, scorched conch, and local favorites like the mouthwatering green-pepper-studded mac and cheese.
Turks & Caicos Islands, www.turksandcaicostourism.com