Saint Martin is an island in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, divided into two parts: the French side of Saint Martin and the Dutch side of Saint Maarten. One of the most popular areas on the French side is the capital city, Marigot where visitors can explore the quaint streets and colorful buildings of the city’s historic district, which is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and markets and to Saint Martin Gastronomy Festival. This beautiful and tranquil destination, with a distinct European flair is known for its stunning beaches, picturesque landscapes and exceptional cuisine.
Saint Martin Gastronomy Festival, is an annual event that takes place in November. A celebration of the island’s rich culinary heritage that showcases skills of local and international chefs and food producers, features a variety of events, including cooking demonstrations, tastings, and workshops, as well as a culinary competition. It brings forward island’s French-inspired cuisine that features fresh seafood, local produce, and a variety of spices and flavors. You can choose to explore “Gastronomy Village” built during festival with restaurants presenting their best recipes, there is even a BBQ competition. We also highly recommend that you indulge in traditional Caribbean dishes at the island’s many local restaurants called lolos. The story behind “lolos” goes back to the 17th century and the days of colonization where warehouses were set up in the middle of plantations which turned into small villages with food outlets.
Divided into 4 categories, gourmet, city, beach and authentic, the participating restaurateurs add special “discovery menu” based on the main ingredient of the festival, plantain banana, with the objective of being elected Best Table of Saint Martin 2022/2023. The festival also features a variety of tastings, where visitors can sample a variety of local delicacies, including fresh seafood, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and artisanal cheeses. What you have to try is all the versions of Johnny cakes! It is fluffy fried dough and a must have for any meal or with any meal.
The tastings are a great opportunity to try new flavors and learn about the island’s culinary traditions. Of course there is a dessert section competition and as for champagne lovers, do not fear, there is plenty everywhere and only the best. Culinary competition brings together chefs from all over the island to compete for the title of Saint Martin’s best chef. The competition features a variety of categories, including best appetizer, best main course, and best dessert. The winners of each category are then judged for the overall title of best chef. Last year cocktail competition was included as well and it turned out to be very popular among attendees.
POP Style TV had a pleasure of directly participating and voting by visiting Nice SxM restaurant with chefs Rafael Pires and Ilham Gourmandises at Grand Case and at a local lolo Chez Maria in Marigot. What made it special is that we were in a company of Chef Renee Blackman, as a fellow judge, whom you may have watched recently in a Netflix competition series called Pressure Cooker. It was truly special sharing a delicious meal with someone so passionate about cooking. Advantage of dining in Marigot is you can climb up to Fort Louis for a gorgeous view!
In addition to the tastings and culinary competition, the festival also offers a variety of workshops and cooking demonstrations for a hands-on learning experience. Visitors can learn how to prepare traditional Caribbean dishes, as well as French classics like bouillabaisse and coq au vin. We did try out some exceptional participating restaurants worth visiting we would like to put on your radar. L’Atelier, a meat restaurant, where we have to mention their very unique plantain dessert they made especially for the festival, La Villa Restaurant , fine French cuisine where Tuna Tataki with herbs and lemon was simply divine and Ocean 82 overlooking, you guessed it, the ocean where you must try Caribbean Fish Pot with sea scallops, mussels, mahimahi and lobster in a seafood sauce with cream.
The Saint Martin Gastronomy Festival is not just about food. It’s also a celebration of the island’s culture and traditions. The festival features live music, dancing, and other cultural events that showcase the island’s vibrant heritage. Closing evening was organized in a beautiful mansion where all the winners were announced and all new and old friends gathered to celebrate.
In conclusion, the Saint Martin Gastronomy Festival is a must-visit event for foodies and travelers alike. There is something for everyone at this annual celebration of food and culture. We recommend staying in Grand Case Beach Club. Location is perfect, rooms are spacious and clean, beach is perfect and there is a beautiful Sunset Cafe great for all your meals and some beautiful sunsets.
There are great activities all around the island and we visited Loterie Farm, nature reserve and sanctuary where you can spend the day in nature by the pool, bar or zip lining. Cherry on top was spending the day on a Pyratz Gourmet catamaran sailing around the island. We swam, had delicious cocktails on board and freshly grilled lobster.
Visiting friendly island of Saint Martin is a must and at the time of the festival even a more special occasion!
Please check out 2022 winners:
*Best Table of Saint-Martin 2022/2023 I Beach Stars category winner
*Authentic Stars category winner 2022/2023
Good Food and Mojitos
Danitza DORMOY – MATTHEW
*City Stars category winner 2023/2023
Aux Mets Tissés
*Gourmet Stars category winner 2022/2023
La Villa Hibiscus
*Best BBQ of Saint-Martin 2022/2023
*Best Mixologist of Saint-Martin 2022/2023
Maison MèreAurélie MARIE
*Best Dessert of Saint-Martin 2022/2023
*Public’s Choice 2022/2023