Spice Island Cultural Festival brings flavours of Grenada to Montreal

“It's bringing a little of our island to Montreal,” says Gemma Raeburn-Baynes, vice-president of the Spice Island Cultural Festival, showcasing Grenadian food, drinks, art, and music at Montreal's Vinet park. Pamela Pagano reports.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Spice Island Cultural Festival returned to Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighbourhood for its fifth edition.

The festival filled Vinet Park with food, desserts, and performances on Saturday for this year’s theme: “Grenada – A Culinary Delight!”

“It’s like being in Grenada, which is in the Caribbean, where I was born. So it’s bringing a little of our island to Montreal,” said Gemma Raeburn-Baynes, the vice-president of the Spice Island Cultural Festival.

The festival celebrated the culture of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique – with Grenada’s cuisine as the festival’s focus.

The Spice Island Cultural Day Association of Quebec brought together some talented chefs for the special celebration.

“I make it with love and I make it all from my heart,” said one of the chefs. “And then my son, he’s always done the same in doing whatever I’m doing. He always wants to assist me, you know? So, I could tell when he grows up, he’s going to be a great chef.”

“I feel wonderful and I feel blessed to be a part of it, their fifth edition,” said Boom J from restaurant Boom J’s Cuisine. “So it’s my first time here and I’m going to soak it up and I’m going to enjoy it.”

“One third of the world’s spices – the nutmeg, the cinnamon, the bay leaf, the clove – everything that you use in your day-to-day cooking might be coming from Grenada,” added Raeburn-Baynes.

Also on site Saturday were vendors and live performances by artists from Grenada and Montreal.

“You smell the food, cooking, the music is going. It’s a really, really, really, really amazing festival and I’m just so happy to be here,” said one of the vendors.

“Not only we have the food, but we got wonderful desserts and juices and drinks from the Caribbean, mango and sorrel and ginger beer and everything you can think of,” added Raeburn-Baynes. “You have it here today.”

The Little Burgundy event runs from July 8-10. Sunday’s closing ceremony is at Greenz Restaurant in Lachine.

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