Creative dishes highlight Linstead Ackee Festival
Ackee punch, ackee salad and ackee pizza were among the eye-catching culinary creations on display at yesterday's Linstead Ackee Festival which returned after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 16th staging of the event, which was held at the Dinthill Technical High School grounds in St Catherine, was hosted by the Linstead Development Area Committee.
The Ewarton Community Development Committee clearly epitomised the true meaning of the festival by showcasing several products made from ackee. President of the committee, Sashoy Thomas, said the focus of the group was centred on promoting ackee and the different cuisines that can be derived from it. She highlighted the ackee pizza, made from regular pizza dough, with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, garnished with boiled ackee and regular seasonings as a crowd favourite. In addition to that, there was also ackee wrap, ackee casserole and the ackee festival.
"The ackee punch was the only beverage that was on display and judging from the reaction of the patrons, it was the hit of the festival," Thomas said. Sharlene Reid, who tasted the beverage for the first time, was more than impressed.
"I enjoyed the ackee punch. It's an acquired taste but once you taste it, it is something that you want to try again. It was a new experience for me drinking that punch and I will definitely try it again," she said. Reid said she also enjoyed the wrap and pizza.
Not to be undone was the St Catherine Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) team with their main display being the ackee salad. La-Toya Green Williams, senior social services and home economics supervisor at the St Catherine RADA office, said the focus of the agency was to reacquaint the public on how to use the ackee in local dishes.
"The ackee salad is utilised in a way that we hardly thought of before. We only think of it as something that we cook up, but it can be had as a cold salad," she shared.
The festival event seeks to promote the culinary and economic benefits of ackee, Jamaica's national fruit, and one of Linstead's main agricultural products. The Heroes' Day staging of the event saw several vendors, small companies and community groups cashing in on the opportunity to display various culinary delights made from ackee, a fruit that is also associated with Linstead Market in Jamaican folklore.
Second vice-president of the organising body, Devon Smith, said he was excited about the prospects of the festival returning.
"This year is a trial-and-error run after two years of hiatus because of COVID. It is a joyful feeling seeing the patrons coming out once again to enjoy the festival," he said.