International Food , Wine & Music Festival : Jamaica Epicurean Escape 2014

Indulge in a weekend of delicious food and fine wine topped off with a night of great music.

The Global Escape as the name suggests will feature international dishes from around the world paired with international wines, beers and spirits.  We will integrate the international cultures that have come together in Jamaica from which our motto, “Out of Many One People” originated.  These will include Spain, Italy, Greece, China, Japan, India, Germany and others. Jamaican cuisine will anchor the foodie experience. Patrons will sample food from over 32 food stations and enjoy a variety of cooking styles and tastes with a healthy mix of music, cooking demonstrations, seminars and competitions.  The day will end with a concert featuring international artists and popular Jamaican performers.

Venue: Grizzly’s Plantation Cove

Gates Open: 12 noon

Food Stations close: 6:00 pm

Concert: 6:00 pm to 10 Pm


Similar to the Global Escape, its Caribbean counterpart will feature cuisines from our Caribbean neighbors.  Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, Cuba, Santo Domingo, Panama and others are some of the countries in the Caribbean that we plan to invite. Of course a selection of Caribbean rum, beers and other beverages produced in the Caribbean will also be featured. Jamaican food will again anchor the foodie experience.

Once again the day will end with a concert which will feature a top Caribbean performer along with top class Jamaican performers.

Venue: Grizzly’s Plantation Cove

Gates Open: 12 noon

Food Stations close: 6:00 pm

Epic Rhythms Concert: 6:00 pm to 11 pm

Get your tickets for our food , wine and music festival at our ticket outlets : Courts Jamaica - Liguanea , Bogue , Ocho Rios and Mandeville. Xtras - Upper Manor Park , Mall Plaza . Shell Gas Stations in Ocho Rios and Mandeville and Ribbiz at the Barbican (Acropolis ) OR visit  and get your tickets online from the comfort of your home/work!

Jamaica Epicurean Escape is on Board for Labour Day Weekend

The 2014 staging of the Gleaner-sponsored Jamaica Epicurean Escape (JEE) will take place between Thursday 22 May and Sunday 25 May at the Grizzly’s Plantation Cove (GPC), formerly Richmond Estate, in Priory St Ann. Marcia McDonnough, festival manager disclosed this information at the launch which took place at Countryside Club on Courtney Walsh Drive on Wednesday night to a wide cross-section of guests including representatives of corporate Jamaica, the media and the culinary sector.

As it did at the inaugural event in 2012, the JEE will showcase a number of premier local and international chefs as well as several chefs in training. The festival will feature restaurants, caterers, specialty shopping, fine wines, beers, great entertainment plus the opportunity to participate in interesting seminars, cooking demonstrations and competitions. The event’s patron profile includes foodies, young professionals, music and art lovers, tourists on the island, visitors to the island who love food/wine and the Jamaican diaspora. As a family event bringing children is not only welcome but encouraged.

Marcia McDonnough, festival manager, noted that “the last event attracted some 3,000 patrons of which 10 per cent were visitors to Jamaica and another 10 per cent the clients of sponsors who used the event as a customer appreciation platform. With an intensified marketing and public relations campaign, we anticipate an increase in numbers”.
Ms. McDonnough added that the event has “been fortunate to secure repeat sponsorship from some of our previous partners including Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, The Jewel Resorts, Courts, GCG Events, The Gleaner,  GasPro, and RIU Hotels. The Jamaica Tourist Board has also joined our team of sponsors for 2014. Several additional companies have expressed an interest in coming on board and we will announce these as soon as arrangements have been finalized”.

And, the plans for 2014? In line with our ultimate vision for the festival which involves a rounded and interesting line up of activities and seamless execution”, says event communications manager Maxine McDonnough. “we will ensure that the details of our seminars, chef demonstrations and entertainment programmes are promoted early enough to allow patrons to properly schedule their attendance in keeping with their particular interests. Our advertising will also speak in more specific terms to the offerings and be very targeted in advising the public of each of our events and programmes for 2014.

We also hope to introduce one or two new elements into the festival. Our premier hotel partner the Jewel Resort and Spa will host a formal five-course dinner, dubbed Silks and Tails on Thursday 22 May. Ten top chefs will create different elements of the gourmet meal to be offered and only 80 individuals will be able to purchase these tickets.  International recording artist, the award winning Ms. Melba Moore will perform at this event.

On Friday 23 May, we present an afternoon into night food-inclusive party on the cove which will feature everything jerked, grilled, braised and barbecued.  Chefs specializing in these methods of cooking will be invited to show off their skills and popular DJs, will set the stage for non-stop dancing.

On Saturday 24 May and Sunday 25 May the Festival will bring together a cadre of chefs and caterers to offer a variety of specially created menus that will showcase a mixture of Jamaican, International and Caribbean cuisines. Patrons will be able to sample from over 32 food stations as well as several hotel gourmet booths.  “ The tagline for the JEE is Escape, Discover and Indulge and this is what we encourage our patrons to do…escape for the weekend, discover new tastes and styles of cooking, and indulge  in gourmet delights that we will have to offer” remarked Ms McDonnough. This year in addition to Jamaican chefs the JEE will feature chefs and food from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Toronto, the USA, Panama with more to be announced.

The JEE team, which includes Marcia McDonnough, Maxine McDonnough, Mike Creary, Robert Bryan, Nicole Brown and Kamau Janai, is moving into high gear as they pull the threads together into the vibrant tapestry that is JEE.

Be sure to save the dates 22-25 May to enjoy one of the island’s premier family events. For more information visit www.jamaicaepicureanescape. Twitter @jaepicurean, #escapediscoverindulge, Facebook and Instagram @jaepicurean,
 Contact:          Maxine McDonnough; E-mail:; Tel: 833-6447
                        Kamau Janai; Email:; Tel: 857-0903; 702-3877

2014 Press Launch at the CountrySide Club

The Jamaica Epicurean Escape launched its 2014 festival on April 30th at the Countryside Club in Kingston.  Hundreds came out to learn more about this spectacular event which takes place at Grizzly's Plantation Cove, St Ann, May 22 - 25.

Guests were given various details relating to the festival and were treated to musical entertainment by Bryan Art and Reajhaune Baptist, art display by Sharon Fox-Mould and of course culinary delights from five of the chefs who will be featured at the Festival (Chef Daniel Schwietzer - GCG Events, Chef Theo Smith - Great House Caterers, Chef Shea Stewart - Elite, Jacqui Tyson - From Thought to Finish and Cafe Africa).

8 Vegetarian Dishes, Meat Lovers will Love


Hosting a dinner party or any shindig for that matter can be quite the ordeal. It can be very challenging catering to the selective tastes of several guests. There’s the kosher friend, the friend who loves a great big steak and of course the vegetarian. That’s why we’ve found some vegetarian dishes that make meat lovers think twice. Whether you’re a vegetarian, flexitarian or diehard meat lover, these 8 dishes will surely satisfy your tastes. 


Vegetarian Lasagna

A popular and superb dish, vegetarian lasagnas are often, dare I say…a preferred variation to this traditionally meaty dish.  The beauty of the veggie lasagna is that it can be prepared in multiple ways, thus catering to the selective taste buds of many.  Whether it’s broccoli and three-cheese, spinach and mushroom or even pumpkin with ricotta, vegetarian lasagnas are a hearty substitute that everyone will enjoy.  


Grilled Portobello, Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwich

The intermingling of flavours from this sandwich’s ingredients is what makes it so exquisite.  The Portobello’s zesty flavour combined with the freshness of the bell peppers make it ideal for a light and easy lunchtime meal. The goat cheese adds a savoury, creamy texture to the sandwich, which all comes together on a toasted or grilled Kaiser roll. 


Kidney Bean Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Oranges

While this recipe may take a little more time to prepare, it’s well worth the effort. The secret to its savoury taste is the multitude of spices used to spruce up the pot. Cumin, masala, oregano, rosemary, turmeric among a few others are all used to give the stew it’s distinct, robust flavour. The kidney beans are prepared in a pressure cooker, before being added to the tamarind pulp and sweet potato stew base.


Brown Rice Greek Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

Greek Salads are always a great starter option, but the addition of chickpeas and brown rice makes this recipe a balanced, filling and healthy one. Tomatoes are drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with a little salt and pepper, then roasted in an oven, which gives the dish a bit of a smoky taste. 



Falafel Kebab

This Middle Eastern “fast food” meal is unlike the barbecued meat on a stick that many envision it to be, but rather a toasted pita wrap filled with Falafel (tasty, fried chickpea patties or balls), lettuce, tomato and onions. Cheese, tahini or tzatziki can also be added for an even more savoury, mouthwatering experience. 

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Eggplant Parmesan

We couldn’t compose a list of this nature without sneaking this lovable recipe in. Eggplant slices are lightly seasoned with salt, coated with egg and breadcrumbs then pre-heated in an oven. Parmesan, mozzarella and marinara are layered on top, giving the dish its rich texture. 

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Sesame Tofu

Tofu, a staple for many vegetarians acquires a nutty flavour from the sesame seeds in this dish. After the tofu is pan-fried to a brown crisp, a soy sauce based mixture is poured on top. The recipe also goes well with a tamarind chutney sauce.


Coconut Curry Lentil Stew

The mixture of flavours from the coconut and curry make this filling dish a great option for vegetarians and meat lovers alike. The combination of the protein filled lentils, the rich coconut and curry sauce blend well together.   


10 Must Try Cocktails

Whether your preference is sweet and tangy or stiff and bold. Our must-try list has a cocktail for everyone.


French 75.


This refreshing cocktail acquired its name from its alleged inventor, who described the drink’s intensity as similar to effect of a French 75mm field gun. The drink has since become a tasty classic that combines the fun flavour of champagne with the edginess of gin to create a well-balanced cocktail. Most commonly enjoyed as a celebratory drink, the French 75 is perfect for birthdays, New Years and any other special occasion.

Here’s how you make one:

§  1 oz Gin or cognac

§  3 oz Brut Champagne

§  .5 oz Fresh lemon juice

§  .5 oz Simple syrup


Combine the Gin or Cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker with crushed ice. Strain the mixture into a champagne flute then add the champagne. Garnish with a lemon/ lime wedge and cherry.


New York Sour

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Before settling into its New York Sour title, this Whisky based cocktail was referred to as both the Continental and Southern Whisky Sour. Even though its name would suggest otherwise, the drink was actually created by a Chicago bartender who liked to give his sours a bit of a spruce with claret. The drink eventually popularized in New York where the name stuck.

Here’s how you make one:

§  2 oz Rye Whisky or Bourbon

§  1 oz Fresh lemon juice

§  .75 oz Simple syrup

§  .5 oz Red wine


Combine all the ingredients with the exception of the red wine in a shaker and shake well. Strain the blend into a short tumbler glass containing ice. Slowly pour the wine onto the back of a spoon so that it floats to the top of the drink. Garnish with a lemon and serve.


Long Island Iced Tea


No must-try cocktail list would be complete without this bad boy of mixed drinks. While the mastermind behind the cocktail is often disputed, the drink, as its name suggest was founded in the city of Long Island. The Long Island Iced Tea captures the essence of each spirit for a tasty creeper, so do enjoy responsibly.  


Here’s how you make one:


  • 1 oz Vodka

  • 1 oz White rum

  • 1 oz Silver Tequila

  • 1 oz Gin

  • 1 oz Triple sec

  • 1 oz Simple syrup 

  • 1 oz Lemon juice

  • A splash of cola


Combine all the ingredients without the cola in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour the mixture into a hurricane or high ball glass, then add ice. Pour a minimal amount of cola on top then slightly stir. Garnish with a lemon square and enjoy. 



Though not as popular as some of the other selections on our list, the McGlashan combines Irish Whiskey (preferably single malt) with sherry, orange marmalade and a smooth ginger syrup for a daring cocktail mix.

Here’s how you make one courtesy of

·         1.5 oz Single Malt Irish Whiskey

·         .75 oz  Sherry

·         .75 oz Fresh lemon juice

·         .75 oz Ginger Syrup

·         1 tsp Orange-ginger marmalade

·         3 to 4 dashes The Dead Rabbit Orinoco Bitters

Fill a shaker with ice and then add all the ingredients. Shake vigorously then strain into a rock glass. Garnish by adding freshly grated nutmeg.



This oldie but goodie, is great for experimental drinkers. The classic was created in Manhattan for a formal banquet where it instantly became a hit. Traditionally made with rye whiskey, the Manhattan also contains sweet vermouth and is frequently served on the rocks in a low ball glass.   

Here’s how you make one:

·         2 oz Rye Whiskey

·         1 oz Sweet vermouth

·         5 drops of Bitters

Add the whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and then garnish with a cherry.

Mai Tai

Similar to some of the other cocktails on our list, the Mai Tai’s creator is still up for debate. However, one of the most supported theories suggest that the drink was invented in Oakland, California in the 1940’s. The brightly coloured cocktail is reminiscent of a tropical sunset and is great for those who prefer their drinks a little more on the sweet side.

Here’s how you make one:

§  .75 oz Fresh lime juice

§  .25 oz Rock candy syrup

§  .25 oz Almond syrup

§  .5 oz Orange Curaçao

§  .6oz Premium aged dark rum

§  1oz White rum

Pour all the above ingredients into a shaker filled with crushed ice. Shake the contents until well chilled. Pour the mixture into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with lime, mint and a flower if desired.

Old Etonian

We selected this gem of a drink for its versatile flavour. The taste of gin mixed with French Lillet make an exquisite match. The mixed drink also takes its name from the alumni of the prestigious Eton College in England.

§  1.5 oz Gin

§  1.5 oz Kina Lillet or Cocchino Americano 

§  2 dashes of Orange bitters

§  2 dashes of Crème de Noyaux or Amaretto

Combine ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.


Mulled Wine

Primarily sipped during the wintertime, this zesty spiced wine is great for large group settings. Although the name and choice of spirit may vary depending on your geographic location, the cocktail typically consists of red wine, citrus and spices such as cinnamon.

Here’s how you make it:

  • One 750ML bottle of Red Wine – (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Port or Claret)

  • 1 orange peeled.

  • 1 orange zest

  • 1/4 cup of brandy

  • 8-10 cloves

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 3 cinnamon sticks

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

 Serves 4-6

 Combine all ingredients into a large saucepan and allow to simmer on a medium flame. Stir occasionally to ensure that the sugar completely dissolves. Once the wine is steaming it is ready to be served. Ladle the wine into a heatproof glass and serve at once.


Chimayó Cocktail

Tequila lovers will delight in this refreshing combination of sweet and tart. The Chimayó hails from the American State of New Mexico where the owner of the Rancho de Chimayó, Arturo Jaramillo invented the drink in the 1960’s. The mixed drink quickly became a favourite amongst Jaramillo’s customers and remains the ranch’s signature cocktail today.  

Here’s how you make it:


  • 1 1/2 ounces Cuervo Gold or other premium gold tequila

  • 1 ounce apple cider

  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice

  • 1/4 ounce creme de cassis

  • 1 slice unpeeled apple


Halfway fill an 8 ounce glass with ice cubes. Pour all of the ingredients over the ice and stir to blend. Garnish the rim with the apple slice and serve.


Pink Musketeer

Not just easy on the eyes, the Pink Musketeer is a fun fusion of strawberry and lychee with the subtle taste of vodka. The cocktail has just the right amount of fruit and the addition of lemonade helps give the mixture the right balance of sweet and tangy. The Pink Musketeer is another goodie for grand celebrations.

Here’s how you make it:

  • 12 oz Vodka
  •  12 oz Lemonade
  •  8 oz Lychees
  •   1 cup Strawberries

Combine lychees, strawberries and vodka into a blender. Blend well. Pour halfway into a glass with ice, and add the lemonade. Garnish with a sprig of coriander or mint.

Holiday Desserts From Around The World

Holiday Desserts From Around The World

The Christmas season is fast approaching, which for many means amazing food, an abundance of family time and booze. In the spirit of the holidays, our team at the Jamaica Epicurean Escape has surfed the globe in search of some of the season’s most tantalizing treats, since, let’s face it, no big feast is complete without dessert.