Last week marked a celebration of the local Dominican flavors at The Barceló Bávaro Beach Adults Only hotel in Punta Cana. The six-day event — Culinary Week 2014 — brought together the top chefs in the Dominican Republic.
The agenda included culinary activities, breakfasts, brunches, cocktail parties, cooking demos and rum and beer tastings. It was the first time the resort has participated, according to Ilanny Jimenez, group sales manager, and its guests can enjoy some of the event’s dining options without any additional cost. “We hope next year to attract some group business for this event.”
Dominican food is influenced by Spanish cuisine (the country was once a colony of Spain), mingled with African and Taino influences. Seafood and meats are popular, along with vegetables such as beans, yuca and plantain. The spices of choice are typically mild, such as cilantro, oregano, onion, garlic and cubanelle pepper.
Food was on everyone’s mind during our recent visit to Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort. One evening’s menu highlighting the local specialties had a distinctively seasonal feel, with Sanocho Dominicano (a stew of 7 meats); Dominican roast pork with mofongo (mashed plantain with garlic), the popular holiday meal; and, for dessert, a crystal sherry glass of sweet beans, a surprisingly tasty liquid made from pureed red beans. Many Dominican specialties are fried and bite-sized, exquisite puffs of fried cheese or bacalao, salted codfish.
The 1,991-room complex is made up of two all-inclusive resorts—Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe and Barceló Bávaro Adults Only. It sits on a private 1.25-mile-long stretch of beach in the heart of Punta Cana.