the taste of st. croix

So, as I mentioned before, the whole reason I went to St. Croix in the first place was to attend the 11th annual Taste of St. Croix Food & Wine Festival.

Over 1,400 people showed up at the Divi Carina Bay Resort (the all inclusive resort has hosted the event every year!) last Thursday evening to taste yummy creations from the Island’s best restaurants and drink delicious wine from all over the world. Now, I’ve been to a few food and wine festivals in my day, but this was one of the very best. Picture white tents set up all over the sand with a live band and dancing under the stars.

Celebrity chefs from some of the country’s best restaurants were also in attendance such as Top Chef’s Anita Lo, Iron Chef Robert Trevino, Iron Chef Kevin Rathbun and Top Chef Tiffany Derry to name a few. I also hung out with Chef Michael Ferraro and made it my personal mission in life to visit his gourmet macaroni and cheese restaurant in New York City. Chef Ferraro made the most delicious mac & cheese with duck last weekend and I simply can’t get it out of my mind…

As for the tastes themselves, I had a hard time picking a favorite because everything was just so good! Here are some of my more memorable bites of the evening.

delicious lobster ravioli in a tomato bisque:

an absolutely amazing fish taco with spicy slaw on top:

paella! Served in the largest paella pan I’ve ever seen!

and we definitely can’t forget about dessert….I especially loved these mini cakes (mini cakes mean you can eat at least four).

I’ll admit, I didn’t really delve into the wine and cocktail aspect of the event. I was way too excited about the food! I’d rather eat an extra dessert than have a drink any day, you feel me?

Chocolate > booze.

Well, sometimes.

Other times you just need a drink.

All proceeds of the event went to sponsor the St. Croix Foundation, a foundation dedicated to fostering the economic and social development of the island of St. Croix with an emphasis on educational resources. I really loved to see such a strong community (and talented chefs!) come together for such a great cause. You can really tell that everyone looks forward to the event all year and the Divi Carina Bay did a wonderful job hosting it.

After tasting everything in sight, I waddled back to my room and had macaroni and cheese filled dreams. When I return, I’ll give you a little glimpse of what I did during my trip besides eat.

Stay tuned!

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  • Gillian Young
    April 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing- love paella made in giant pans like that- reminds me of the markets in the South of France!

  • Vanessa
    April 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Oh my goodness! I am SO jealous of this event that you got to take part of. It’s such a dream of mine to be a part of something like this and meet so many amazing and talented chefs! I want all of that paella. Amazing ! Looks like a great trip! I’m going to live vicariously through you from now on. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kelli H
    April 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Looks like an amazing trip!

  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    April 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Wow, I am jealous. That food looks incredible.

  • Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie)
    April 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Wow those pictures are amazing! I love the canoe pic ๐Ÿ˜€ That bay resort looks gorgeous and that really is the biggest Paella pan ever!

  • Katryn@rampantcuisine
    April 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I agree! I never understand people who just want to “drink their dessert.” ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Daisy
    April 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    for me, drinks > chocolate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • christina
    April 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    this looks like so much fun! love your dress and bikini!

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic
    April 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I love mini desserts for the same reason ๐Ÿ˜‰ Pics are fantastic, I want to go to St. Croix too!!

  • Katrina
    April 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Awesome! Looks like you’re having such a great time! I’m so jealous.

  • Brittney
    April 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Wow, coolest trip ever!! I need a vacation!!

  • Kiran @
    April 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    So much fun people, place, foods and activities. Cant wait to read more of your adventures. That paella looks delish!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    April 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Oh Jenna, what an amazing event and thanks for posting about it all! You deserved this trip and how wonderful that you were able to attend! I would love to go to something like this (who wouldnt!)

    I agree that chocolate trumps booze..haha! Paella, lobster ravioli, fish taco with spicy slaw on top, oh it all looks wonderful. And that last shot of you in the kayak…the water, so perfect!

    I am headed to the Caribbean in 3 weeks…can’t wait after seeing your post ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg
    April 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I just watched an episode of Jamie Oliver’s new show on Cooking Channel and he made paella in a gigantic pan too! It was hilarious.

    Looks like a lovely time — the water/sky looks amazing and so does the food!

  • Sarah
    April 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I can’t wait to read about it! This seems like it would be SO MUCH FUN…right up your alley!

  • Maria
    April 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    This looks wonderful! All the seafood looks amazing.

  • Alexia (Dimple Snatcher)
    April 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Jenna, by “Celebrity chefs from some of the countryโ€™s best restaurants,” did you mean to say from all over the world’s best restaurtants?

    Thanks for sharing! Looks like you had the best time!

    • jenna
      April 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      I meant the United States (since the virgin islands is a US territory). Sorry! I should have been more specific.

  • Chad
    April 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    What a very colorful day! I’m all about some fish taco, now.

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing
    April 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    So jealous of your seakayaking!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL
    April 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    What an experience! Kayaking in St. Croix has to be a peak life experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mary
    April 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    These are so fun to read! This is really random, but my friend Frank is in the paella pic! He’s the semi-chubby guy with no face. I only recognized him because he works at that restaurant (Salud) & I saw another variation of that pic on facebook. I can’t wait to see what else you did!

  • Ruth
    April 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    That top picture of the shrimp is killing me. They look awesome!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    April 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Wow, that paella pan is huge!!! I love paella. Definitely one of my fave foods.

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas
    April 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Ooooh hey desserts! All of it looks delicious.. but I would be lined up for those desserts in a jiffy!

  • Danielle
    April 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Cute dress!! I love the color!!

  • Brenna [fabuleuxdestin]
    April 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Looks like so much fun!!! You look too cute! Give me those prawns !

  • Libbie
    April 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve actually stayed at that resort before during a work trip! Small world

  • Kath
    April 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Great recap!!

  • betty@runbetty
    April 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Holy moly! You weren’t kidding – that paella pan is ENORMOUS!

  • jenn
    April 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    And let us know where you got your bathingsuit(s)! Lol

    • jenna
      April 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      lol! The top is a friend hand-me-down and the bottom is from Target ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Serena
    April 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Wow, can’t get over that paella pan… good lord!

    Jenna, where did you get the dress you’re wearing? It’s such a cute color and looks very comfortable!

    • jenna
      April 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      Target! But I got it a year ago so I doubt they still that exact one. I love Merdona dresses!

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope
    April 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    SUCH an amazing experience of a lifetime. You had me at the shrimp. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And those desserts look incredible too! You are absolutely glowing – love it!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
    April 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    WOW! What an incredible blog perk! That’s awesome!

    I’m glad to see you got to experience more than just the festival. What an amazing place to get to visit! Looking forward to the rest of the recap!

  • Liz
    April 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I am dying to know how you eat so many desserts and still look so thin in a bikini!

    • Sarah
      April 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      I was thinking the same thing!
      I know you have talked about portion control before but you look so incredible. Hard to believe you eat the yummy creations featured on this blog.

      • jenna
        April 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

        I definitely try every single thing I show on the blog. I don’t sit around and eat an entire batch of cookies or an entire cake, but I try and enjoy everything…I promise you that!

        • Sarah
          April 18, 2011 at 6:40 pm

          Oh I believe you! I did not mean that I doubted that you try everything that is on the blog. You are very lucky!

      • Baking 'n' Books
        April 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm

        I think that Jenna likes the process of baking and experimenting rather than just to do it to eat it….

        I wish I were one of those people. Sigh. ๐Ÿ™

        • M
          April 19, 2011 at 9:20 am

          Jenna,I know there is so much more to you than just your looks,
          but had it say WOWSA! You look amaaaaaazing in that bikini.
          If I looked like that I would wear a bikini too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Lisa
    April 18, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    How wonderful! And that paella……drooooooool ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • French Heart
    April 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Looks delicious, gorgeous and fun. I love smaller portions…always appreciate that so much. Altho small wine portions could cause to bite the hands that pours ’em. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Molly
    April 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I am in shock of all the chefs that were there! I think the lobtser on the left that Anito Lo is holding on to is trying to wave at the camera.

  • Kristi
    April 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    The food looks amazing. I’m so jealous!

  • Ida
    April 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Anita Lo is amazing! I would love to see her in action. Looks like an amazing weekend.

  • Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out
    April 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    That looks like *so* much fun!!! Yes, please to Paella!

  • Baking 'n' Books
    April 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Holy Tanned and Toned!!

    Mini-cupcakes must be eaten by the dozen. It’s mandatory.

  • staceyhealthylife
    April 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Wow that pan is huge. You look so fit and healthy. You look amazing. You should share with us what you’ve been doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jenna
      April 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

      I’ve just been doing yoga 4x a week! Thank you though!

  • Shari @ Chicago Cuisine Critique
    April 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Looks like a great time! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Slone
    April 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Jenna, Did you pay for this trip/hotel/food? I thought you were no longer taking free things for the blog?

    • jenna
      April 18, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      I was sent there for media coverage at the expense of the hotel. I never accept money to say nice things and always disclose whether I personally pay or not (all my giveaways are now paid for out of my own pocket). That all being said, I said that the hotel did pay for me to go, as I was considered part of the press to write about the festival. I wasn’t reviewing the hotel or any one product—I was simply sent to write a story about my own experience at the food festival.

      • M
        April 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

        Really interesting to hear more about blogger’s work and perks!
        May I ask does one also get paid a salary/appearance fee for these type of things,
        or is the “pay” usually the travel, free food,accomod,activities etc?

        Love hearing about the inside scoop ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Allison
    April 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Looks beautiful!
    Jenna-I love these last 2 posts! I miss the blogs about your life–I love the glimpse into your world. I really miss this.

    • M
      April 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

      I know -the posts about her life etc are the ones I enjoy most too,
      but I then again I don’t have interest in baking really….
      But I do keep checking back on this lovely blog, because I am a
      fan of Jenna’s original style blog and smile when I get a post
      about her life,yoga,feelings,bites! Something about Jenna’s writing just draws me in (in a good way!!)

  • salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle)
    April 18, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    looks amazing!!!! Glad you had a wonderful time!!!

  • Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily
    April 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I would have to agree with you. I definitely would have saved my stomach space for the food rather than the drinks.

  • Sharon
    April 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    This trip looks amazing…I am so in need of a vacation…and preferably a tropical beach resort vacation at that! It’s been depressingly cold and misty (almost rainy? not quite foggy?) again back in Santa Rosa…I’m dying for a bit of sunshine and warmth. I bet you were too!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    April 18, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Dessert always takes president over a drink for me. Way better use of the extra calories ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Leah
    April 19, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I agree with Allison, I loved this ‘life’ post. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing what recipes you post, but seeing a glimpse into your world is fun too!

  • Anne
    April 19, 2011 at 1:50 am

    This looks like you had such an amazing time and it is great to see a glimpse of you outside of the kitchen and still surrounded by food. You are one happy lucky lady!

  • katie
    April 19, 2011 at 3:52 am

    booze+ dessert = WINNING!!!!!!!

    Love it! Looks like you had some amazing eats there!

  • Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down)
    April 19, 2011 at 3:57 am

    So fun!! I would have been all over those cute little mini desserts. Adorable. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Can’t wait to see what you did outside of meals and food and such. Everything looks fantastic! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Meghan @ StruggleMuffins
    April 19, 2011 at 4:15 am

    What a cool event! The mini cakes look dangerous – there’s something about ‘mini’ that makes you feel its ok to eat mass quantities!

  • Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner
    April 19, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Everything looks beautiful…….
    What a cool opportunity!!!

  • Lucy @ The Sweet Touch
    April 19, 2011 at 5:58 am

    It’s a toss up between the fish tacos and lobster rav, and wine, and mini desserts – ok, it all looks great!

    Was the actual food portion just one night or did it cover the whole weekend? Looks like a blast!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    April 19, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Mmm I want a TASTE ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love your outfit! So pretty.

  • Lauren@LittleYellowKitchen
    April 19, 2011 at 10:19 am

    It looks like your having such a good time! How amazing that you have this opportunity! About that paella pan…I just saw an episode of Jamie Oliver in Andalucia, Spain and he legitimately fed an entire village with paella made in one HUGE pan. I found a pic on google images. Look up “jamie oliver in andalucia paella” to see the biggest pan you’ve ever seen…ever!

  • Katie
    April 20, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I would have loved to meet the Top Chefs! I am obsessed with that show.

    Gorgeous scenery! I have never been kayaking, looks amazing.

  • jennifer (Savor)
    April 22, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Tot. jealous but glad you had an amazing time!!

  • Lauren
    April 22, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Amazing pictures! You’ve now convinced me to go to St. Croix stat.

  • Jessica
    April 29, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Jenna – if you think that paella pan is big, you’ve got to make it out to DC and check out Jaleo’s giant paella pan (! Looks like an amazing trip!

  • The Taste of St. Croix – «
    June 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm

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