local event: Slow Food Day

Switching back to Cayman topics for a quick second: We've been to some really terrific local events recently, and I'm trying to get some photos on the blog so you can appreciate a bit of the local culture.

For example, we finally made it out to Taste of Cayman. Why it took us three years to go, I'll never know.  I took all the photos on my iPod Touch, which at the moment is having a heated debate with my laptop (probably because it's not a Mac), and so I haven't transferred them over. Here's a preview, a la Instagram:

I also popped over to the Art@Governor's event a couple weekends ago, which is a terrific, family-friendly annual gathering right on the governor's front lawn.

But prior to that, for the very first time, I visited the Farmer's Market at the Grounds in Lower Valley, where several local restaurants were hosting a Slow Foods day with free tastings. This event piqued my interested for three reasons:

1) I enjoy the chance to get out of the Seven Mile Beach strip for a mini "road trip" (okay, so it's like 20 minutes away, but still).
2) Farmer's markets are generally awesome (fresh local produce is at least as good if not better for you than store-bought organic).
3) Free food. No explanation required.

Although NS was in the office that Saturday morning [yes, this busy season has been seven days/week for him, and my lack of blogging evidences the free time I'm (not) experiencing], I wasn't road tripping alone. SM and her two visiting parents were up bright and early to check out the local wares.

My favorite source of fresh produce (East End Garden & Gifts) was one of the first stands I visited, offering plenty of rainbow-colored fruits and veggies.

Those very carrots made their way into our Super Bowl party.

Other growers were on hand with all manner of Caribbean produce. I decided to buy a few local sweet potatoes and later found out that--like most American food--Cayman sweet potatoes aren't nearly as sweet as the ones we get in the U.S.  At least now I know.

It's a shame that nearly everything has to be imported to Cayman, because I seriously struggle to find something as simple as a bright, red, perfectly-ripe tomato in the stores. Not here! Lots of pretty colors to cook with when shopping local.

Anyway, on to the free food.

In the photo above, the coconut in the foreground and the bowl in the background contained Cayman Coconut and Lime Ceviche, made by Chef Keith Griffin, using Farmer Joel Walton's coconuts and Farmer Raymond Wittaker's Cayman limes.

On this island, there is no such thing as too much seafood. I can't say no.

Since the event took place over the breakfast hour, Ortanique served up Stuffed Breakfast "Patacon".

This imaginative and tasty dish involved plantain bread, egg torta, rosemary roasted sweet peppers, and crispy bacon. Chef Sara Mair used Farmer Donna Connoly's eggs and Farmer Errol Watler's peppers in the colorful arrangement.

What was in that green drizzle garnish I may never know. I believe "delicious" was one of the main ingredients.

The food item that probably took first place in many of our minds, however, was the cupcake platter prepared by The Brasserie. The crowd was so thick around the table that the following photo was the best I could manage, but let me tell you that I don't know a soul that was able to stop with just one of those butter cream-topped delicacies.

The icing was either guava or apricot based, on top of either chocolate or vanilla cake.

Ugh. Pictures like this put me into a junk food mood. Not good.

But speaking of moods, I was pretty pleased to start off my Saturday feeding off this one's positive energy:

Enjoying a little guava+bubbly beverage sample from Grand Old House.

I loved the Slow Food event - all the restaurants did a terrific job showcasing their specialties while incorporating ingredients from local growers. I went home not only with a full stomach, but a bag full of produce for more yummy meals. I'll definitely be attending the next slow food event, and in the meantime, I'll seek out the fresh produce that makes cooking at home such a delight. Be sure to check out the Farmers Market at the Grounds, as well as the Farmers Market at Camana Bay on Wednesdays. Eat local!