Wed | Jan 20, 2021

An Epicurean Journey With Joy

Published:Thursday | November 21, 2019 | 12:00 AMJessica Harrison/Gleaner Writer

Glass doors opened to a beautiful spread of appetisers on the lush back lawn of the compelling Appleton Estate Rum Experience in St Elizabeth. Rum connoisseurs and foodies alike joined Appleton’s master blender Joy Spence as she treated a select few to an extaordinary vegan dinner and rum pairing experience. Among the attendees were major contributors to St Elizabeth’s tourism industry.

Spiced pumpkin chips, breadfruit chips, chimichurri, guacamole, sweetened yam balls and vegan crab cakes were just a few of the options provided by local fine-dining vegan restaurant, Stush in the Bush. The food was lovely. Hesitant to choose but willing to play with the various flavours and textures available, verbal expressions of delight could be heard.

No one dish overpowered the other, regardless of what you chose to pair. The vegan crab cakes obviously won the hearts of those who dared to indulge as they were the first to go. Moist and bursting with flavour, seafood lovers and those of sorts were riding the waves of scrumptious gratification for what seemed like a gladdened eternity. Virgin passion fruit juice was served as a refresher for the sunny outdoorsy experience.

This was only the beginning as Joy Spence and the Appleton Estate Rum Experience team carefully planned this exquisite Sunday afternoon. Walking down the path of betwiching orchids that were obviously unhurried when being tended to, excitement brewed in the stomach of everyone as the fetching rustic seating area could easily be spotted and my, oh my, it was arresting. With shades of browns, soft pinks and a touch of purple, the long dining table was adorned with fresh orchids and unpainted hand-cut tree barks as place mats. The chairs had gold trains on the back and each person’s name was carved out on a wooden key ring to guide them to their seating. As each dish made its way to the table, Lisa Binns, co-owner of Stush in the Bush, explained what it was made with and where each major ingredient came from. She also made sure to give the carnivorous comparison so everyone was on the same page.

Meal courses and Pairing

The amuse bouche was a watermelon tartare with grilled lime, avocado, soubise and other herbs and spices. This was paired with Appleton rare blend mix by the name ‘old fashioned’.

Soup Course: ‘A tale of two Gazpachos’. Avocado cucumber mint and avocado lemon basil. Though not paired with a rum, it was quite delightful.

Main Course: Creamy herbed potato gratin topped with deep fried oyster mushrooms and crispy kale. This was paired with an Appleton Reserve brown sugar daiquiri.

Dessert: Decadent chocolate coconut mousse with coconut whipped cream, Appleton soaked raisin beignets with a passion fruit curd, a communal passion fruit creme brulee and this was paired with Appleton 21-year-old rum.

It was a day to remember as those who were not accustomed to rich vegan food that was both appealing to the eyes and the taste buds. Feast your eyes on these pictures to experience this decadent journey.