Gari's Pork Belly Rum Pairing

Appleton Tasting Tour & Luncheon — A Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Event

Thursday, April 05, 2018

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Sunday, March 18, has gone down in our food annals as one of Thursday Food 's most memorable Chaîne des Rôtisseurs experiences. Indeed, as we look back to two decades of applauding and elevating the culinary landscape we can certainly conclude that there have been mind-boggling experiences. This one, however, the pairing of rum, though thankfully, not a first in Jamaica, is certainly not de rigueur for members of the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, Jamaique and opened the eyes of many to the possibilities.

First things first, the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience is world-class and could pass muster in any metropolis. Hopefully, there's a coffee one on the drawing board somewhere. But we digress!

Smack in the middle of rum country with lush sugar cane fields as far as the eye can see and bordered by the Cockpit Country hills is Nassau Valley in Siloah, St Elizabeth, the breadbasket of Jamaica, a veritable oasis in the middle of 'nowhere'.

The tour, a must after a welcome cocktail or three of the Stormy Valley and a nourishing small plate from Appleton Estate Chef de Cuisine Gariel Ferguson in the cool, well-appointed reception area, is an interactive history lesson that starts with a slick film presentation, followed by a 17th-century sugar demonstration, a history station, sugar cane field station, human cane crush, the distillery, ageing room and — the highlight, for many, that Sunday afternoon — a private, sensory experience with the global rum industry's first female Master Blender Joy Spence.

Appetites now open for lunch, Chaîne members and their guests readied for the six-course luncheon experience paired with Appleton rum.

The pairings, like the rum, tantalised the palate pushing the taste buds definitively, from the smoked ackee with roasted tomatoes and crispy dumpling pearls with the Appleton Estate X-Ale to the Peach Estate with the free-range chicken smoked over 50-year-old rum-infused oak staves with spiced pumpkin purée and a charred scallion compote to the wet sugar-glazed pork belly with cane vinegar pickled seasonal vegetables and bacon-Scotch bonnet marmalade complemented with Appleton Estate Jamaican Honey-Soother.

Dessert — crispy warm bread pudding with white rum ice ice cream and burnt salted caramel with the Appleton Estate Reserve Blend 12-y-o, served neat brought lunch to a satisfying climax.

Our hope is for many more haute dining experiences at this location with décor that complements the Nassau Valley.

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