You can take a trip to the Caribbean without even leaving South Florida.

That’s what the Taste the Islands Experience is offering with its culinary event this weekend in Fort Lauderdale featuring Haiti’s J. Perry, Julian Marley and an all-inclusive day of Caribbean cocktails and food.

But this isn’t just any food festival, David Muir of Island Syndicate said. It’s an event where the food (and the chefs) are the stars of the show.

The $95 all-inclusive Taste the Islands Experience is outdoors, taking place from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday in the History Fort Lauderdale complex around New River Inn, 219 SW Second Ave. There is an island-theme mimosa brunch, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the same location. Cost of the brunch is $65 or $90 for the brunch plus a river cruise afterward. Brunch sales end on Thursday.

The event will feature Caribbean chefs such as Hugh “Chef Irie” Sinclair and Cynthia “Chef Thia” Verna, and mixologist Philip “Casonova” Antoine or Barbados, Taste the Islands will also feature Restaurant Row. About 10 local caterers and restaurants including Bamboo Shack will be showing off signature dishes.

“People have never experienced this type of food festival,” said Muir, one of the organizers. “What makes ours so much different is that we have such a rich culture surrounding the food, that the food is the star of the weekend. But it’s also about Caribbean culture, which is so rich and so diverse. We’ve really made this not just about the actual food you eat but the culture around it.”

With the tourists boards of the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and the U.S. Virgin Islands all sponsoring, their specialties will also be on display for tasting. There’s guava duff from the Bahamas and Jamaican escovitch fish. Also available will be callaloo soup and fish cakes, plus Haitian coffee and Valmas cremas (think Haitian eggnog).

Another addition this year is singer Julian Marley. The son of Reggae icon Bob Marley, Julian will be introducing his Juju Royal CBD-infused olive oil and joining chefs in a cooking demo of his new product.

Meanwhile, partygoers can enjoy the sounds of Haitian singer J. Perry while sipping on their favorite Caribbean cocktail.



When: April 27-28

Where: History Fort Lauderdale complex, 219 SW Second Ave.

Tickets: $95 for Saturday’s main event; $65 for the Sunday Brunch or $90 with the river cruise; or call 417-812-5663.