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The Real Girlfriends of The Barbados Food, Wine & Rum Festival

If you view the world the through lens of reality television, six smart, fly, opinionated women taking a trip to a tropical destination surrounded by some of the best wine and spirits in the world should be a recipe for disaster. However, when the six women are Parlouristas … it’s stress free good times all around. So when Hillary and I made plans to attend the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival earlier this summer for the second year in a row, we recruited our girls (and Parlour contributors) Arlene, J’Alla, Nakia and Keandra. Four days later we were all toasty brown and had managed to: a) make the cover of a local newspaper, The Nation b) achieve a casual acquaintance relationship with Tom Colicchio and c) win a premium bottle of one of the world’s top rums, Mount Gay — yup, Barbados was awesome.

The key to the festival’s success, especially when travelling with a group is the Food, Wine and Rum Festival’s hearty list of daily events. You can spend the day learning global cooking techniques from top chefs like Marcus Samuelsson or tasting champagnes (and learning how not to kill your dinner guests while opening the bottle) with Anthony Giglio, or if you prefer, just beaching it at any of the island’s top resorts where you can take your pick because all of the beaches in Barbados are public. During the evening, you can party at any of the Festival’s sponsored events or go to a local hangout like Oistins. With all of the activities, there’s little chance that your trip will be ruined by “group think,” ie. the attitude that everyone has to do everything together. One of the best parts of each day was returning to our house and swapping stories of what we did — here are some of our top moments:

Our dinner @ The Fish Fry, before they hit the grill

Friday Night: A True “Lime” at Oistin’s Fish Fry

The Festival has a sponsored event that evening, but we decided to keep it local and head down to the Fish Fry at Oistins and hangout. Basically, imagine the “let out” of any club, add about 50 or so fish, food and rum punch vendors, a few hundred locals, two DJ’s and you have the Fish Fry … iterations can be found on most Caribbean isles. Highlights: Meeting new local homies for next time that save you from crazies (hey Andre & Duane!), eating grilled lobster the size of your thigh, rum punch that made one of us break out into the “robot” and all of the holla-backs we traded with the local guys (hey boo!). If you want to get to know locals, eat, flirt, laugh and even engage in a game of dominoes (if you dare—Bajans are good and West Indian dominoes are different than those played in California), Oistins is definitely the place to be on Fridays.

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington